So, there’s this awesome bible verse:
1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.
You can read it in a lot cliches:
It’s always darkest before the dawn.
When you’re flat on your back, there’s no where to go but UP.
Basically it means that life ebbs and flow. There are times of great abundance and growth, and then there are times when all of that is stripped away and you feel like you’re back at square one. (Which of course you’re not, because you’re starting over with all the knowledge and experiences you earned.) Everyone goes through it. No one grows great big, bushy green leaves forever.
But I heard this sermon the other day that added a level and it blew me out of the water. When he referred to John 15, he noted that we all love being the big, fat, bushy, green leaves. AND. We all have a choice of whether or not we are honest about the fact that we’re being pruned, that God’s working on us…that we are not, in fact, the image we project.
Because, let’s face it. Nobody wants to admit they’re a sad, bare little tree.
So we pick up the branches and we hold them up where God’s pruning. We smile big, we buy new cars with credit we don’t have, hell we even lie. We avoid God’s plans for us to lose the house by ignoring that mortgage payment we can’t make, to change majors by avoiding the teacher we know is failing us, to get counseling by pretending our partner’s laziness doesn’t bother us. We remain unconscious and we hide…behind all those fake leaves.
Why do we ALL do that?
Seeing as how EVERYONE does it, everyone knows everyone ELSE must have done it at least once. What makes it so difficult to be HONEST about the fact that we’re in the midst of a downslope, that God is re-working our lives, that something we THOUGHT would be a success just…isn’t. Is there a soul on the planet who hasn’t been there/done that?
Most of those people holding up the dead branches and leaves in an effort to hide the sad little mess underneath haven’t yet found a way to be honest without THEMSELVES. Let’s face it. Being honest with yourself is the damned hardest part. Other people realize you got fat before you acknowledge it. Other people notice your business is tanking before you admit it. Other people are aware your marriage is hanging on by a thread before you come to terms with it. And other people even try to TELL you!! But do you listen? Nope. Because it’s far easier to fool yourself into believing it’s just a few pounds, the business is fine, and your marriage will see it’s way back to happiness eventually.
I hate to say it, but Dr. Phil was kinda right on this one all along…
“You’re fat. Don’t sugarcoat it ‘cuz you’ll eat that, too.”
But seriously, folks, I don’t think the message here is that you should bare your all to the whole world when God prunes your branches. But getting real with yourself and the people who have earned the right to your honesty is a good place to start. Because once you put all those dead branches down and let God do his work, giving up CONTROL and the WISH that anything could be any different than what it is, you have an amazing opportunity to eventually be even MORE fruitful than you once were.
Also from Dr. Phil:
“You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.”
“I don’t care how flat you make a pancake, it’s got two sides.”
“Dogs can’t pee on a moving car.
None of these are really related to this particular blog, but still. Dr. Phil.