Things I Learned At Camp: Pruning Is Good

I lived in Texas for 3 months this summer while working at a camp. This is a blog series on things I learned while there.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m permanently under construction. Every time I think I’ve arrived, I see a sign that says, “Destination 200 miles ahead”. I think we can all relate to that. Like when we were in 6th grade, we thought we had the most swag of anyone on Planet Earth. But when we got to high school, we realized that we were horribly embarrassing. Then when we were high school seniors, we thought we had life figured out. Now realize that we have no idea how to adult. And the cycle goes on. But I think at times, we are granted the gift of seeing ourselves as we are in the moment. We realize the things that we’re doing wrong and we can change sooner rather than later. Recognizing your flaws is never super fun but it’s always good.

This summer, I learned how incredibly prideful I can be. Holy crap. You know how Jesus talks about the log in our own eye? I had a redwood cedar firmly implanted in my cornea. If someone or something didn’t match up to what I felt was right, I immediately wrote it off. I thought I was the bee’s knees. I thought I was all that and a bag of chips. I lived like I secretly thought the world revolved around me. And the thing was, I never even saw it as a problem. I was so prideful, my pride blinded me…from my pride.

Fortunately, the Lord does this really cool thing where he gives us a swift kick to the seat of the pants when we need it. It was about halfway through the summer. I’m dead asleep and all of a sudden, the Lord wakes me up in the middle of the night. And when I say the Lord woke me up, he freaking woke me up. I went from asleep to awake in about .23 seconds. Then the Lord spoke to me as clearly as if he’d been in the room with me. He convicted me of my attitude and I knew that I needed to pull a 180 with a quickness. It was one of the coolest yet scariest moments of my life. It was like when you were a kid and your parents caught you doing something wrong and you didn’t even know they knew about it. But times infinity.

The point of this story isn’t to say, “Look at me! I was a scrub but now I’m not. Look how spiritual I am!” The point I’m trying to make is that the Lord is constantly building us to be the people he created us to be. Sometimes, that involves pruning. Pruning is not fun. When you prune a tree, you literally kill part of it. If plants could talk, I’d imagine they would be vocal opponents of trimmers. But the thing is, when a gardener prunes a tree, sometimes the branch is easy to lop off and sometimes it takes a few hacks. But in the end, the tree is pruned. It’s the same in our lives. We can either fight what the Lord has for us or accept his molding of our hearts. When the Lord gave me that wake up call, I realized that I had been fighting him for a while. And in the end it hurt no one but myself.

Pruning can look like a lot of things. It can be stopping something. It can be starting something. It can be having a conversation. Being pruned looks a million different ways. It’s not always enjoyable in the moment. But in the end, the discomfort is infinitesimal compared to how much we benefit from it.

So we have a choice. We can fight the Lord when he wants to prune us. We can hold on to the things he wants to get rid of in our lives. Or we can be sensitive to his promptings and lean in to what it is he has for us. It’s not necessarily fun to accept the Lord’s discipline. It’s not always super easy. But we can either listen to the Lord or we can fight him kicking and screaming. Either way, he will mold us. The branch loses the fight with the trimmer every time.

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