Recently I’ve backed off of my running habit for about 6 weeks as a result from my left hip shifting out of place. There was a part of me that wondered if I would ever run again. The pain was so intense that I wanted to just give up. I was also afraid that if I returned to the road that a re-injury would occur. So I choose to rest the habit for a while and return when I had given myself some time to heal.
During this time, I lost my drive to try. All I recall was how much running or even walking hurt. I wanted to protect myself from pain. Thankfully, over time, the drive returned and I overcame the fear, encouraged myself, embraced the process and tried again.
I talked myself into pushing through it. There were many days I only walked but felt like I could handle a little more pain. I had my hips adjusted and let my body heal more. Yesterday it happened that I broke through a threshold of pain to run free. I wasn’t calculating the pain, counting the cost nor considering the toll it would take upon me later. I just pressed through the ache to run.
It was marvelously liberating to bring change in my perspective. Often we look at changes as painful or from a place of fear when really it only takes a different run at the process.
This can go as deep as you want to take it, as far as success, failures, motivations, growth and destiny.
It’s the same with our spiritual walk with God. This is not a race but a journey where sometimes changes come slow and steady, sometimes it’s an immediate turnaround. Both perspectives matter, but the process is important. Some are heart painful, other changes only need a few small tweaks. The perspective of the process is termed by God as pruning in John 15.
When you think of pruning, you understand it’s needed to get rid of a bad habit or something that is non-producing. But who of you would would be first in line when a good thing needs to be cut? How about several great things? How can cutting several good producing branches be seen as a benefit? Some great questions that need a different perspective.
I have always thought of pruning in a negative sense as cutting out a dead place that needs to go or something that is painful. Think how hard it is to let go of a tree which is still producing fruit. How do you decide which branch to prune, for the benefit of the whole orchard? Intentional focus is an important part of producing, bearing fruit and must take on a strategy.
Pruning could be termed as training, practice, or correction of a habit. God is changing my perspective of cutting and training of habits. I am learning to bear more patience with change and transitions, and bear through the pains in the process. I still have a lot of grace to realize in this to help me find freedom in the pain.
As believers, we are changed little by little to reflect Jesus as we let go of those non-producing branches. But also in the process, there are some good branches that might be caught up in the cutting. It’s okay to let them go as well. Remember not every branch should be a fruit bearing branch, some are supportive for strength or a preparation to the fruit production.
It’s all about your perspective really. It’s painful to remove good parts of our lives for the good of the whole. We can’t see that something good causes damamge or pain until it’s removed. Often those branches need to go for the greater good, and it’s often to prevent a deeper pain or futrther damage in the future. God sees our harvest and knows how many bushels of fruit that He wants to bear in your life. He also sees the non-producing branches that need to be cut and those which are weighing us down, or will do so in the future. He sees our greatest good from His best perspective.
Consider the greater good of change, pruning and training. Even though sometimes painful, from God’s point of view it’s always for THE greater good considering THE bigger picture of perfection of our lives. Even if we can’t see it right now, you must keep training, practicing, or pressing through the aches and growing pains. Be teachable. There’s fruit to bear, and a potential harvest of goodness awaits on the other side of your growth.