the Brilliance of Broken Branches

sept-broken-2

Our hearts fell as we rolled up the drive after a week of fun, food and friends. We were feeling elated, but now deflated as we saw our beautiful peach tree hanging on the ground with several broken branches. This is the tree that I admire as I stand and wash the dishes each day, for the branches bow gracefully near the window, offering fruit within reach of an arm. Now it looked just sad and broken. This wasn’t anything new; it had happened before. The branches heavy with growing fruit, just can’t hold up to the task any longer.

Have you ever felt that way? Full of good things in life, but the weight of your tasks become too heavy as you pile on more and more, and soon cracks appear threatening an inevitable break?

I have experienced this – too often really. Life’s happenings begin to mount, one after another, till the days are too full to keep it all growing in the right direction. Like on my tree, the weight of even the good things can become too much, and eventually something has to give.

Matthew 11:29 says to ‘put My yoke upon your shoulders – it might seem heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves.’ {the voice}

The things that God has planned for you may seem heavy at first….hmmm. I’ve felt it, have you? But what if it just keeps getting heavier and heavier? This can happen when we take on more than our share, more than we were ever intended to bear. Like a branch from a peach tree with too many peaches growing – bigger and bigger, our tasks can grow to unbearable sizes, giving way to cracks or breaks that make us feel like failures. It can even make us question our calling.  I’ve certainly had my share of questions about whether I had really heard from God at all, or if it was just my own desires that drove me to the things I took on in life.

So how do we avoid overgrowth, swelling tasks and the inevitable broken branch? Knowing when to say no is certainly a biggie that I have yet to become proficient at. But how do you know if the no you want to say is maybe the yes God wants instead?

Here are 3 things to consider when reviewing the tasks that fill your schedule:

  1. Peace: If you are saying yes to yet another task, is there peace in your decision? Have you prayed/consulted with the Lord to determine if this is from Him? Often we will feel a tug on our heartstrings to become involved. But that can go in both directions. If you are hesitating to say yes – you probably shouldn’t say it. Or if your first thought is to say no but your heart says maybe, then take some extra time to think through it.  Sometimes we know right away when something is right for us, and other times, we simply need to pray, and then wait until God shows up.  He will definitely let you know if it is in within His will for your life.  Don’t’ ignore your gut feelings – that is often where God will speak. A feeling of dis-ease versus peace is often your answer.
  2. Ask questions and Wait: Don’t respond before you have had an opportunity to review all that is involved in the task. I often say yes to things that become more than I ever anticipated. Ask what is involved in the opportunity. Find out the length of time needed to fulfill the commitment. Then determine if you have what it takes to fulfill this obligation to its full extent. Often God will bring an opportunity that will stretch us beyond what we think we are capable of, but He will also equip us if it is from Him. So be careful saying “I can’t do this”. If it is God’s will, you can! – with His strength.
  3. Listen: Listening needs to take place throughout the entire process, before, during and after. The more we learn to listen for His voice, the more in tune to it we will be. Listening can also involve action as well as inaction. Obedience is the action we take to what He asks us to do, but it can also mean that we simply need to sit and wait to His right timing.

Remember that the Lord is always by your side, gently guiding you to the right things. We may not always make the right choices, but even the wrong ones, God uses to get us to where He wants us to be.  His purposes, while sometimes challenging, will always be a perfect fit, suitable to all of your curves – especially the ones that you may not be aware of yet.

Lord, I know that you are interested in our growth more than our comfort.  Give us peace in the right decisions so that we can fit your purposes perfectly to our unique curves. In your great name we humbly ask for your blessings.

-lisa

3 responses to “the Brilliance of Broken Branches

  1. I meant to add in that for peach trees to grow properly formed fruit, full and sweet, you have to pinch off blossoms early in the spring leaving room for proper development. I think this certainly applies to our lives in that if we pinch out things that are good but that are crowding the fruit, what is left can grow to its proper size…round and full of goodness!.

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  2. Lisa, Really enjoyed this post. I so appreciated your thoughts on waiting to commit, finding peace in the decision, and listening to God’s voice. I am glad you added the pruning aspect of life in your comment. A good snip, here or there, does wonders.

    Also worth noting…MOST pruning in nature should take place at the very end of winter, just before the growing season, following a period of rest and dormancy.

    As we walk through life, the pruning we do should not be reactionary, but thoughtful and intentional and done in God’s perfect time, so that the subsequent growth produces the fruits God intends. By following the lead of the Master Gardener, we will not broken with the effort of serving Him.

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  3. Excellent addition Glynda! You are right, pruning should always be done in God’s time and with His direction. The fruits of those labors can be so beautiful! Thank you for your insightful thoughts

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