I’m joining with the online discussion group that Kate Motaung is hosting on her blog Heading Home, based on the book On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts, by Ann Krocker & Charity Singleton Craig. Today’s chapter is Notice.
Learning to notice my surroundings is one of my weakest writing skills, one I need to work hard to develop. So this morning, after reading Chapter 4, I purposely took a short walk outside and exercised this skill. I noticed something that I’ve failed to observe before.
First, let me explain. I live with chronic pain, and walking isn’t easy for me. Using a walker, being in ever-increasing pain when I’m walking or standing, these tend to distract me from concentrating on my surroundings. It requires extra effort, which I usually chose not to give. But this morning, I was determined to be observant.
The first thing that caught my eye as I walked down the ramp and into our yard was the vine growing on our fence. At first it looked like an eyesore, something that was dead and needed to be pulled down.
But then I looked closer. What at first glance appeared to be a dead vine had evidence of life. When I drew close, I noticed some healthy green leaves and pretty orange flowers. I saw that the vine wasn’t really dead afterall. It may need some pruning, but we don’t need to tear it down and throw it away.
As I looked at the healthy leaves and flowers, a spiritual application came to mind. How often do we look at our lives as sons and daughters of God, and wonder why we keep failing? Where is the spiritual fruit in our lives? Are we really Christians? Could it be that we just need pruning, so we can grow in our walk with the Lord? This reminds me of Jesus’ words in John 15:1-5.
”I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
(John 15:1-5 NASB)
The vine growing on our fence doesn’t look healthy, but with some careful pruning it has a future. Likewise, we may not be as spiritually healthy as we desire to be. But if the true vine, Jesus, lives in our hearts, we can be assured that He won’t give up on us and throw us away. As long as we abide in Jesus, trusting in Him to do the needed work within us and not thinking we can change ourselves, we can live in the assurance that He will complete the work He has begun in us (Philippians 1:5). The process will include some pruning, but we can trust that the Master Gardener will only cut away the things in our lives that are hindering us in our walk with Him.