As I have been preparing for our upcoming LEAD Women event on January 22nd, I have been reflecting a lot on the idea of pruning and how we’re often stuck in life because we are not comfortable with endings or don’t know how to end things. Henry Cloud, in his book Necessary Endings: The Employee, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up, suggests that many don’t have a healthy worldview about the healthiness and need for endings. And because none of us like painful experiences, we often avoid confronting the things within ourselves that are keeping us stuck. And just this week I heard an interesting statistic, here it is:
CHARLES DUHIGG: Well, habits are a big deal not only in our lives, because about 40% to 45% of what we do every day sort of feels like a decision, but it’s actually habit.
45% of the time operating in habit mode! But…but…but what if those habits are actually habits that are destructive and unhealthy for us? What if they’re keeping us stuck? Now I don’t know about you, but I’m suspecting that we are alike in that we don’t like painful experiences; and yet, isn’t is true that some of our deepest growth comes through the painful, messy stuff?
I don’t particularly like painful experiences. In fact, to be very honest, I’m still processing through a season that was particularly hard for me. But although hard, I can honestly say there has been an increase in fruit in my life. And because God worked so deeply in my life, I find myself, in a way, getting to know the new me. She’s different. She’s leading herself better. She’s gracious to herself. She’s eager to learn. She’s leaning into the painful and looking for the new fruit, the better fruit.
Now having said the above, I know that I have blind spots. I know the pruning is not over, but that’s okay.
This was part of my devotional reading today:
It helps me to think about painful rejections, moments of loneliness, feelings of inner darkness and despair, and lack of support and human affection as God’s pruning. I am aware that I might have settled too soon for the few fruits that I can recognize in my life. I might say, “Well, I am doing some good here and there, and I should be grateful for and conent with the little good I do.” But that might be a false modesty and even a form of spiritual laziness. God calls me to more. God wants to prune me. A pruned vince does not look beautiful, but during harvest time it produces much fruit. – Henry Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak
I would suggest you go back and read the above again very, very slowly. Did you catch the “settled too soon” piece and the “God calls me to more” statement? We often settle too soon. It’s easy to get comfortable. Hard is looking in the mirror and asking the questions: Holy Spirit, what needs to change? What pruning might you want to do in my life? What new habits need to be formed in me? What needs to end?
And then praying: Please give me the grace and the space I need to be messy. Help me not to settle too soon.
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He 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.” (John 15:1–2, NLT)
God calls us forward. He’s after more. Now I don’t know what that looks like in your life, but I’m confident there is more. Transformation is a lifelong long journey. Praise the Lord that he’s not finished with us yet!
Praying that your heart is encouraged today. If the road is painful, I pray for peace, grace, and wisdom to navigate. If it’s harvest time, I rejoice with you in that season too.
Let’s lean into the more of God and not settle too soon.
The Reverend Carmen Kampman is a woman on the road of leadership. Ordained with the PAOC, she is a steward of God’s call to women in ministry. She is on staff at Horizon College & Seminary and a graduate student in the Masters of Leadership program at Briercrest Seminary.