Oct. 12, 2013
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
Yesterday, I spent some time pruning shrubs and cleaning out the flowerbeds for winter. I wasn’t ready to remove everything. We’re still waiting for a killing frost and some fall plants continue to bloom. I wanted to keep some greenery.
Nonetheless, the flowerbeds were overgrown. It has been a bit harder to keep up with them, when we are home a couple days a week. So, I cut the floppy iris, the brown day lilies, and the dried-up ferns. The Queen Ann’s Lace got a significant haircut. The hostas that still look good were saved. Those whose leaves were yellow and patchy meet the trimming sheers.
Our emotional lives are often like a flower bed. Sometimes our emotions are just sprouting and coming to life. Other times, they are starved for attention and need a bit of water. Bugs can eat away at our emotions, just like the plants around my patio. With the right amount of warmth (sun) and nourishment (water) they can look absolutely stunning. I have some sweet potato vines that are tremendous. They are in pots and partially under the gazebo’s canopy. This allows them to enjoy sun and shade. With plenty of rain recently, the bright green vines have grown around the gazebo poles. The vines are creeping around the patio table and chairs. As leaves have fallen into the potato vines, they have become a mixture of reds and yellows. It’s a beautiful sight.
Our emotions can also be beautiful. But sometimes, hurtful words are directed our way. Sharp words penetrate some people more quickly than others. We may feel pruned.
Every person has a different personality. God had the great wisdom to not create people alike. Because I do not fully understand or appreciate someone else’s personality, I can trample their emotions unintentionally or intentionally. Sometimes we feel the trampled on person. When this happens, it is best to direct our feelings directly to the person.
Many years ago, one of my dear friends disappointed me. I felt let down at a time when I really needed her friendship. It bothered me. One day, I stopped at her house. I told her that we were going to talk about this one time and never discuss it again. She was not aware how my feelings had been hurt. She apologized and wished she had handled the situation differently. After our true confession time and lots of “I’m sorry,” we left it behind. This is how we should be able to speak with Christian friends. Call upon them when we need emotional support and carefully share when we have felt let down. This is how the same mistake does not get repeated. My friend and I were able to prune our relationship, clear away the ugly debris and move on, anticipating new sprouts to grow in our emotional support of each other. That is exactly what happened.
Lord God: some of us have sensitive emotions that are easy bruised. Some of us need more empathy and compassion. All of us have felt our emotional lives pruned at times. May we see the pruning as an opportunity for our emotional lives to be more fruitful. Amen.
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