It was an item on my man’s never-small yard work list: trim bushes on fence line. The bushes were reaching into our fire pit, making it feel like the surrounding Adirondack chairs sat in a treehouse. It was time.
Selecting one branch at a time with his hand-held trimmers, an unexpected fanfare followed. Each trimmed branch pulled with it a piggy-backing cluster of green, stretching long into the woods behind. Vines had worked their way into these bushes, making the encroachment a doubly impressive burst of green. With each clip of his trimmers, first came the branch then the attached vine. Two trims, one cut.
I know about separating the wheat from the weeds, and how God sorts out the unwanted. (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43). But as my husband pulled branch after branch with their accompanying parade of vines, I saw how indistinguishable our overgrowth can be.
Sometimes, the impressive and lush weeds we’ve grown masquerade as a flourishing.
Sometimes, we become attached to things we didn’t intend to cultivate.
I’ve tasted that. With achievement came the unintentional tagalong weed of pride. With obedience came the weed of entitlement. Or as I grow, I might look the other way as ‘extra’ shoots blossom alongside. Perhaps investing in a relationship brings the weed of heart compromise, or success brings the weed of misaligned priorities.
Pruning isn’t about making room for the Adirondacks. Pruning is about discernment and discipline and decision.
It’s about cutting what bears fruit to bear more fruit (John 15:2), and it’s about pulling and piling high the unwanted. Stacking tall the overgrown. Ruthlessly eliminating the false flourish of the things that the enemy wants us to grow.
Now, our fence line looks inviting. The leaves that remain catch the sun, inviting new growth where it was simply too crowded before.
In the cutting, we make space to cultivate what is true and lovely.