Pruning Precedes Flourishing
I grew up in a home with silk plants.
There weren’t a lot of them, but there were enough…enough to cause me to never want any of my own. In my adult commitment to live greenery, I’ve realized maintaining these living things is a bit harder than I thought. Regardless, I couldn’t pass up a perfectly-priced ﬁddle leaf ﬁg tree I found at Costco last January.
I had the perfect spot to showcase my beautiful tree; the corner of my living room with ﬂoor-to-ceiling windows. She was happy and thriving, at least for a while; until the brown spots started to show up.
Oddly enough, the tree was growing and producing new leaves while brown spots began to overtake some of the older ones. I knew I should be concerned but was confused about what to do. So I wondered and I worried and I did nothing.
In August, a friend of mine came to town for a visit before the close of summer. She is the thoughtful and thorough type who shared my disdain for silk plants but didn’t share my uncertainty with how to treat Ms. Fiddle Leaf.
“I know how to deal with those,” she oﬀered, and proceeded to tell me that she has a “plant guy” who comes to make house calls to help instruct her on caring for tropical plants.
“Of course you have a plant guy,” I retorted.
Nonetheless, I gladly received the wisdom she gleaned from this plant expert and we spent the afternoon lopping oﬀ leaves and trimming back others, helping to reshape and strengthen my tree by eradicating the brown spots. Albeit a bit lopsided, my tree was looking more green than it had in months.
My life is a ﬁddle leaf ﬁg tree paradox.
Growth is occurring in one area of life, while unhealthy patterns exist elsewhere. New leaves and brown spots are growing simultaneously. They are both demanding resource, both consuming nutrients, but producing opposite results.
Why is it my once healthy leaves are having their life syphoned by something unhealthy that resides in me? I’m concerned. I’m confused. Where is my plant guy?
Change is necessary for growth to occur.
Part of creating a favorable environment for growth is a willingness to cut back what does not belong, or what hinders the possibility of new growth. Pruning precedes ﬂourishing.
Flourish: “To grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.”
There are some leaves that just fall oﬀ the tree when they are dead, but others may hang on. And their decay can begin to aﬀect the life of the plant. So it is with us. Some things easily fall away from our lives when their season is over, but others can literally drain us of life if we are not prudent to proactively remove them.
Where is there decay? God wants to reveal to us what needs to go; where we need to prune and cut back. When a season has run its course and change is on the horizon, we are faced with whether we will trust God with the sheers to trim us and shape us so that we grow in the direction He has designed for our lives.
Philippians 1:5 tells us that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. We can trust that God is about the business of making something beautiful out of our lives.
Our job is to trust Him with the process.
Where is the evidence of new life? Pay attention to the proof of new life, health and growth. That is an indicator of God at work. He is the source of life, and when we remain rooted in Him we ﬂourish.
Let’s be women who thrive until the end, which means we must embrace the pruning when it comes.
“…Planted in the house of the Lord, they will ﬂourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.” Psalm 92:13-14 (NIV)
Connie is our Joy of It Content Developer. She cares deeply about discipleship and feels called to raise up and equip leaders to step into the next place God is inviting them to serve. She shares candidly through speaking and writing of both the struggles and victories through her journey as friend, sister, leader, wife and mother. She loves the creative process and is currently furthering her education at Wheaton College to receive her MA in Leadership and Evangelism. Connie is married to the love of her life, Taylor, and they have four children. More of her work can be found at conniearmerding.com