7.06.2010

Pruning

"...My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." 
John 15:1-2

In my limited understand of this thing we call a walk of faith I am pretty sure of one thing. We'll never be finished with the pruning process until we're in our glorified bodies in heaven. Pruning is an ongoing necessity to remain in the work of God. Why do I believe this? Because we can't continue to serve God throughout our lives without growing. Our walk of faith isn't a one time deal where you say a prayer and then continue on with life as it was. No, faith requires daily growth. Living a life in service to God requires our effort... I love the way Francis Chan describes it in his book Crazy Love... he writes that the Christian life (the narrow way) is a lot like swimming up stream in a river... if you stop swimming you will float backwards... there is no stand still! You cannot stay in the same place - you're either growing or you're sliding back into your old habits... 

Today I want to be totally honest with you. I haven't been swimming. I've been feeling the current of the river pulling me back because somewhere along the way I stopped swimming. Somehow God got knocked off the throne in my life. I wish I could travel back in my mind to pinpoint exactly when that happened... it sure would make it easier to fix things. All I know is that I realized I have been neglecting the love of my life... Jesus. 

We all know what happens - life. It gets busy and we get distracted. But I've been asking myself how that makes it okay or somehow more acceptable or understandable. It doesn't! If I truly believe the truths of the Bible then nothing at all should stand between me and my Savior! There should be no greater joy than to spend time with Him! I should wake up every morning just itching to be with God and then let HIM direct the rest of my day. 

But something has been getting between us lately .. the internet. Would it shock you if I told you I pour my coffee in the morning and sit down to check facebook? I know, it probably doesn't. That's the world we live in, but I don't want to anymore. 

For our first 3 years of marriage we didn't have a computer. Then in our 4th year we had John's work laptop at home... and sometimes we had internet. We've only had our own computer and internet service for a little less than a year. Want to know how I spent my mornings before we had this marvelous technology?

...reading my Bible. Yes, I would sit down with my mug of coffee and the Bible and read for a long time. If I was doing a Bible Study I would work on that. Then, I would get to the housework and anything else I had going on. I need that back. 

The problem is that I know myself. I am weak and selfish. I have very little willpower and I'm not great at moderation. Things tend to be pretty black and white for me. I know that's not always great, but that's the way I see the world (usually.) 

So it's time for pruning. Pruning doesn't sound like a very pleasant experience in the "during" part of things... but the end result is well worth it. I know - I've been through some pruning before. I hope I go through it until the day I die... it means I'm growing more like Him. 

I strongly feel God has asked me to cut some things out of my life and the first being facebook. (I told you pruning hurt!) I spent the last week having an argument with myself. It won't be as easy to keep in touch with old friends... I won't get to see all the pictures... worse, people won't get to see all the fun pictures of me (sin is ugly isn't it? There you have it... brutal honesty.) But at the end of all my arguments the still small voice just asked me the same question, "Is that worth more than me?" 

It reminds me of the famous love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13 ... basically Paul is saying if I've got all of this, but don't have Love... I've got nothing...

God is Love. If I have over 500 facebook friends, a blog fan page, easier communication, fun pictures, a portal to see into everyone elses life... but I don't have HIM... I've got nothing.
 ©2009 Living By Faith

25 comments:

Michelle (michabella) said...

I love this Lauren. I needed this reminder. Life gets in the way so much...Satan keeps our minds busy on other things. Praying for you <333

Christy said...

Lauren, I started reading this, then had to sit up straight and reread it again because, I'm telling you, I could have wrote this word for word! I'm being convicted of this same thing right now. Mine big distraction isn't Facebook, but blogging! I go straight to it every morning when I wake up. My quiet time with God gets put on the back burner :( It makes me sick even typing it. In fact, if you visit my blog, look on the right sidebar in the must reads section and find the link for "where do you find your peace and quiet" I bet you could relate to that post I did a few days ago. I will pray for us both in this situation!

Lara said...

Very insightful, dearie. I've felt at times that blogging and facebook were distractions. One thing that helps a lot is my pastor has a blog of people reading through the bible together in one year. It's http://srcclimbingcompanions.blogspot.com/

Every morning as my coffee brews, I read my One Year Bible for the day and have some quiet time. Then I get on with checking e-mails and facebook. I always do this before my kids wake up so that it isn't a distraction when they're awake. I also find that at the end of the day when everyone is asleep is one of my favorite times with God.

I admire your wisdom to put things on the backburner when you see them becoming distracting.

Hugs to you!

Andrea said...

Oh, do I ever hear you on that one. I think a lot of us are going through the same thing. I've been struggling with the very same things. Just this morning I was thinking about how much stuff I used to do before the internet became such a driving force in my life. Sigh. Not cool. Thanks for having the courage to be obedient, friend!

Missie said...

I know how you feel. I check my blog, all the blogs i read, mess around with my blog and then all the sudden I am too tired to read my bible.
I started the 90 day bible reading challenge to get back into the habit!
Let's keep swimming together!

Alison said...

Great post! I am guilty of spending way too much time on the computer! In fact, that is the main reason I have never joined facebook! I know myself too well...I would become addicted, and it would be another distraction in my life that I don't need! Would love for you to come join me as one of the only people in America not on facebook! :)

Joyeful said...

Oh, this is right up my alley!! I just love how honest you are, sweet Lauren!! I hate that God has to compete with my computer. It just shouldn't happen that way, but it does sometimes and those are the times I feel God calling me back to Him! I don't facebook very much b/c I really don't have time to, but blogging is another thing entirely! : ) I'll pray for you in this if you will pray for me, too!!

much love!!

Heather said...

I know this will be hard! BUT I can totally understand where you are coming from...it is so easy to sit at the computer and scroll aimlessly through pages of "stuff" that you don't really even care about. I think I might take a cue from you and limit the time I spend online. It will definitely be hard, but it will allow more time for me to focus on the things I should be focusing on-not who posted new pictures and what so-and-so is eating. I love you and am glad we don't have to rely on FB to communicate:-)

Venessa said...

I love how you put this into words...it speaks to my heart. Thank you for the reminder!

Lois Lane II said...

Oh, Lauren. =) I feel your pain. We're teaching "Chase the Goose" in Sunday School right now, and this goes along with that so much. It's about being responsibly irresponsible (or the first week is, lol). Life gets in our way, and sometimes we just have to break free and do what God wants us to do and not the world. Be strong, friend. Facebook is so addictive, but you can beat it. ;)

Kristin said...

I have been feeling the same exact way too! I used to barely get on the computer, then I got my laptop and it made it way too easy to stay on here way too much. In a way, it helped my growth because I met so many Christian bloggers who encouraged me to take that next step and go back to church. But, FB is a whole other story. I find it to be a big gossip fest, really, but I'm totally addicted to it. I think I am addicted to the computer in general. I seriously got a panicky feeling the last time my internet went out!

MamaMimi said...

Oh Lauren - I love your honesty and your heart for God! Thank you for this reminder. I used to have a rule for myself that I would shut down all the computers at night so that when I woke up in the morning, I wasn't allowed to turn it on until I read my Bible, ate breakfast with my family, and did my morning chores. It was the best thing for me, but somehow I got sidetracked and I'm doing the same thing as you. Thank you for your brutally honest reminder ;) and I am going back to my old routine earlier too! Let's hold each other accountable!!!

Alicia said...

This is so true!! I know many of us can totally relate to this post, Lauren!

And yes, I agree..if we aren't moving forward, then we're backsliding. That's a scary place to be, especially when you don't even realize it.

HisFireFly said...

I hear you. As a self confessed internet addict I knew that I was off course taking my first cup of coffee to the keyboard.. yes, I was reading devitionals and studying the Word online...but finally in May the Lord spoke into my heart "Intimacy before internet"
and ever since I have started my day in the chair I reserve for meeting with Him, journal in hand, not writing much of my own, but listening and asking Him what He wants to share.

These times have been a tremendous blessing in my life, and I pray that He is blessed by my obedience.

Praaying for you to have the strength and courage to press in with such a bold step.

Amy said...

You are definitely not alone in this! I try to read my Bible & spend time with God first, but it doesn't always happen. I appreciate your honesty in this, and the honesty of so many other godly women who commented before me!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

A worthy consideration for all of us. I've been having a tough swim upstream... feeling pulled back more than advancing. Your perspective here is just what I needed to here tonight; makes me want to keep on keepin' on until I work through this current and see the results of a hard swim.

Blessings to you and John tonight. Prayers for Tucker as well.

peace~elaine

He & Me + 3 said...

Beautifully written Lauren. I think we have all been there and when the Lord tugs and prunes we need to be obedient and allow Him to do His will & work in our lives. It isn't always easy, but it is so worth it.

Tracy said...

Yes, my friend. This time off has been as sweet as honey. I don't know why the blessing of online ministry carries such a responsibility. It feels like a slip and slide. It gains momentum until you hit the wall at the end. In my time away, God has completely rewritten the purpose of blogging in my life. I pray that I just have the courage to carry it out. You are very wise to acknowledge it. Jesus is so patient, isn't He?

Blessings.

Shark Bait said...

Amateurs.

I check facebook before my coffee is ready.

:-(

Shark Bait said...

And on a more serious note; that image of needing to keep swimming, otherwise we wash backwards, is quite powerful.

It's one I have used often in Bible Studies, quoting the "Just keep swimming" song from Finding Nemo. (I quote the movie a lot, hence my name and mascot)

Sarah Ann said...

This is so true and so necessary. Isn't amazing that we could forget to read our Bibles with all of the things we need to pray for in our lives. I can tell a difference in myself when I am not truly seeking His face daily. I'm not content, I'm snappy, and my perspective is completely out of whack.
I love reading these when you write them... :) You're awesome!

Monika said...

Amazing post! I have FB account, but I don´t have time to watch it...so FB isn´t my big problem :-) But I need to set up my daily schedule, because I feel I don´t have much time with HIM and I´m missing it! Thank you for your sharing!

4 Blessings said...

Thank you for sharing your heart and for being obedient to change your ways for the better. I had been told a while back never to join Facebook because it leads to gossip and snooping...not to mention, I just don't need another 'thing'. I have really been cutting back on blogging trying to prepare for our trip and I know when we return there probably won't be time for much more than just posting pictures :) I am okay with that though.
Much love,
Amy

Mama D.'s Dozen said...

Great post! Thanks for the honesty.

My friends and Big Kids just don't understand why I won't do Facebook. I tell them that I know I would love it ... I would enjoy it ... it would be fun ... and it would take up way too much of my time.

For this season, my blog is my ministry ... my outlet ... my friendships. I cannot add FB ... or I know that I would lose a lot of things that God has for me on my priority list.

Pruning ... definitely been going through a time of pruning. So not fun. It hurts. But, oh so worth it in the end.

Be Blessed!

Laurel :)

BlessedMommyx3 said...

I think you were inside my head when writing this...and lots of others as well! Thanks for the motivation to get my priorties straight!! God deserves more of me than leftovers at the end of the day!