I got my manuscript back from my editor yesterday! It’s this awful, wonderful mix of excitement and fear. Like anything you pour your heart and soul into, you long for a good response. It’s the people pleaser in all of us that cries out, “Please like me! Please like my work!” I do have quite a bit of work ahead of me, but I wanted to be accountable to all of you gracious readers and take the time to share a piece of my heart with you this week.
Just as I am “trimming” up my manuscript, God is continually working on “trimming” up other areas of my life.
I’ve mentioned before that I grew up as the daughter of a farmer. My family grows citrus in Florida. I have wonderful memories from those groves ranging from my first summer jobs herbiciding and sprouting to learning to drive my dad’s pick-up truck. It’s the source of my childhood home and my favorite smell in the world: orange blossoms. But like any farm, you can’t help but notice the machinery that is used for any number of tasks.
Like people, trees benefit from a good “hair cut.” While the extension reasoning is slightly different, the result is the same: it makes them healthier. You see, there have been multiple studies about the production from a tree in relation to it’s proximity to other trees, as well as it’s size. As the trees grew, their proximity to each other shrank and the trees began to produce fruit at the very tops of their branches. This fruit was obviously miserably difficult to reach, but the reality was that the trees were not producing as much fruit as they possibly could. By trimming both the sides (called hedging) and top (called topping <–original huh?), the citrus trees actually had a higher yield and were in fact, a healthier tree.
We aren’t so different from these citrus trees. The trees were growing and reaching high, producing fruit and showing growth. In their own right, these were very good things. But they weren’t producing as much fruit as they could.
I think that there are times that we fully believe that because we are growing and reaching as high as we can, we are healthy and doing all that God wants us to do. We say, “Here is the proof! I have produced fruit, so the Spirit must be blessing me!” I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just saying that sometimes God responds with, “Yes, that’s good, but I have something better…” and proceeds to “trim” us. We are hedged and topped and it feels like we’ve been demoted. But over time, as we continue to grow and learn, we see that we are producing more fruit than we ever imagined possible. We experience a true, healthy spiritual life.
I should warn you, hedging and topping citrus trees often resulted in quite a mess. Limbs flew everywhere; leaves scattered; sometimes fruit was lost. But look at the end result. When we experience a similar process from God, it may feel like everything is a mess and that those pieces that you worked so hard to grow are thrown aside. But trust me, the end result is healthy, and beautiful, and so much greater than anything you could have ever accomplished on your own.
- What areas of your life have experienced “trimming” from God?
- Have you seen the subsequent fruit that followed?
- How much healthier are you today because of it?
As always, I would love to hear your experiences! Please feel free to comment below or share this with someone you feel would benefit from it.