Friday, September 24, 2010
The Attack of the Pruning Shears
Well, I can say this: God is persistent. He does not like to be ignored. He will hammer in His point until I get it. Which is good because I can be a bit daft at times.
On Monday, I learn at Bible study that just because something is "good," it is not necessarily part of God's plan for my life. Priscilla Shirer, in her Bible study, Can We Talk?, discussed how a farmer trying to grow the prize tomato will prune away perfectly good fruit in order to allow all the nutrients to flow to the ONE tomato that he desires to cultivate to the best it can possibly be.
Translation: I do a lot of good things, but they are not necessarily good for my life. What?!?
On Tuesday, I'm out in my garden where I attempted to actually grow tomatoes this spring. I notice how the plants are so top-heavy that not even the wire stabilizers can fight against their weight. I also notice there are lots of flowers but hardly any fruit. They look like such full, healthy plants, and yet...they are not fulfilling their purpose.
Translation: I look good on the outside, but my whole being is threatening to topple over with all the activities, stress, and commitments. I simply cannot hold myself upright any longer. What do you mean I can't hold it all together?!?
On Wednesday, I read Amy Sullivan's blog. She asks this question:
What do people see when they look at you? How do you want to be perceived? Are you working to become something different?
I type my response in the comment section. What I realize at this moment is that people see me as put-together, loyal, "she can do anything" type of girl. While this is nice and all, it means I get asked to do a lot and then feel so guilty if I say no. What I want to say is that I am broken -- that the reason I do all of these things, a lot of the time, is because for some reason, I still feel like I must prove myself. I must be the best. I must never give up.
What I want to be is discerning with my time. I want to give, just to give, with no other hidden agenda. I want to be immune to praise and criticism -- to not live or die by the words that come out of someone's mouth. I want to live as Jesus did and be satisfied with what God puts on my plate instead of heaping spoonfuls on there myself.
Monday and Tuesday must have gotten to me.
Right now, my life consists of running from one thing to the next. My heart yearns for my Father, and yet, I do not make it into His arms often enough. I begin my quiet time and the phone rings. I start to sketch and my child needs something. I think, After this project, things will be easier but the reality is that I am saying YES to something new before I literally have time to take a deep breath, much less a nap. I desire to serve. I desire for others to be filled. I don't want this to be neglected. I don't want to turn away that person. I want to be all things to all people because...
There is a large part of me that takes on all of these things because I want to truly do God's work. I want to enrich people's lives and help things run smoothly. And yet, if I am truly honest with myself, there is an element of pride at work here.
I am worthy if I am busy.
I am worthy if I am indispensible.
I am worthy if I am put together.
I am worthy if I know what is going on.
I am worthy if I can fix the problem.
I am worthy if I can plan ahead.
I am worthy if I can anticipate your need.
I am worthy if...
I am worthy if...
I am worthy if...
I am so in middle of this pruning, editing-my-life process that I have absolutely no tidy endings with which to leave you. I am struggling to give up things that I have been involved in for years. I am struggling to find my worth in my Savior and Him alone. I am struggling to figure out which things He wants me to do and prune off the perfectly good fruit that just doesn't quite make it into His plan. I am a vine-ridden mess, desperately needing pruning, desperately needing a Savior, desperately needing peace.
My art reflects this heart-wrenching process. But even through the disorganization and all the roles that I take on right now, there are simple truths which God keeps pouring into my heart. They are the thirst-quenching words that keep me in His presence, that drown me in grace, and produce blooms.
You make all things new. (2 Corinthians 4: 16)
I am Yours, you are Mine. (Song of Solomon 2: 16)
You will be my strength. (Exodus 15:2)
I am precious in Your sight. (Isaiah 43: 4)
I am linking up with Michelle at Lost in the Prairies, Jennifer at Studio JRU, and Rachel Anne at Home Sanctuary. Check out these fabulously wonderful ladies!