Today I pruned my fruit trees. While we were loading up all the branches into the truck, I looked at all the wood we cut. There was a lot. And I thought, those were good branches. They would have produced leaves and fruit. Yet I knew as a gardener that my trees do better as I prune them. More light is able to get to the remaining branches, and the tree spends its energy to produce better fruit. There can often be too much off a good thing.
As I was pondering pruning, I realized that there was a life lesson in all of this. Just like fruit trees, I often have to get rid of good things in my life to make room for things that are more important and critical.
There is also a good time to prune: when the trees are still dormant. And it takes time to learn how to prune, but basically you need to have a vision of what you want the tree to look like. You prune trees to an open center, central leader, etc. Every pruning cut is made back to a bud or branch angle. And its sometimes better to take off two or three big branches rather than pruning 20-30 little ones.
I think there’s good application. First, take time when things aren’t so hectic to analyze your life and see what needs pruning. It’s hard to get rid of things when you are in the thick of things, just like pruning is a lot harder in the summer. Taking quiet moments to analyze our lives is necessary.
Second, have a vision of what you want in life, and be willing to get rid of everything that doesn’t fit into that plan. Look for parts of your life that you want to grow and get stronger, and put energy into those things. Protect those very important branches by getting rid of things that shade them out.
Third, don’t be afraid to make really big changes. Trying to cut back in little ways isn’t as effective as sometimes taking big cuts that get rid of a lot of unnecessary thing altogether.