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When To Trim The Unnecessary

So, I have had this particular goal for pretty much all of my 30’s. I truly just want my mother to walk in my home, gasp with delight and say, “Oh my, Jackie, your plants look so healthy, ALIVE, and well taken care of!!”

I know, I know. I reach for the stars with my aspirations! Lol. But (like many of you) the reality is that I’m already successfully keeping four little, wonderfully, crazy humans alive AND thriving (that should be enough)…and as much as I’d love to have time for my greenery to flourish, as well, I simply don’t.

And yet, it still matters to me. How many of you know that in His kind and gracious ways, God often uses the things (silly or not) that we value to remind us of His truths?

Psalm 23:6 says “Your beauty and love CHASE after me every day of my life.”

The other day I found myself in our guest room, and I came across a plant that I dearly love (really just because it’s cute). I love it so much that I intentionally placed it in front of a beautiful window to enjoy the sunshine. So smart.

Actually, that would have been wonderful planning if this was a room I frequent, but it’s simply not. I was reminded of that important fact when I discovered my heartbroken plant with soil as dry as the desert, and a handful of brown, crunchy leaves dangling sadly from its weakened stalk.

Ugh, my heart sank. I knew what had to be done. My knowledge of plants reminded me that I needed to pull those dead leaves off, so they didn’t continue to suck life from the main stem.

But I REALLY didn’t want to. Removing them was like admitting defeat. I just wanted them to live! Surely I could just leave them there, right? Things could still turn around!

Plus, if I were to remove ALL of those leaves, this plant that was once beautiful and green would definitely look like a pitiful, little struggle. Like a flashing neon sign, it would advertise to everyone entering my home that I just don’t have EVERYthing together.

In this moment, I was reminded that there are some things in our lives we simply NEED to remove, so they don’t suck the life, power, and purpose from us. The thirteenth chapter of Matthew teaches us about how a farmer dropped some seeds in the weeds and thorn bushes, and the thorns grew up and choked the seeds out.

Sometimes we wait to act, in hopes that things will just “turn around.” Other times, we worry about what people will think, or what they might say. Sometimes, we simply don’t want to fail.

I want to encourage you today if that’s you.

If you desire to accomplish what you’re called to – succeed at your purpose, walk in power,wisdom, and authority – then you have to have the courage to remove from your life what does NOT bear fruit.

Matthew 7:19 says “Every tree that does not bear GOOD fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Maybe that’s a relationship. Maybe it’s a responsibility or a role. Maybe it’s a mindset or perspective. Maybe you picked up something (or someone) along your journey that God never assigned to you.

My challenge for you today is to take an inventory of the “fruit” your life produces, and ask the Lord to reveal anything attached to you that might have been YOUR plan and not His. Then, watch Him breathe NEW life into the things in your hands that He HAS graced you to carry.

Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for GOOD and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jackie Groves is a gifted communicator, counselor, preacher, and author. She was born and raised in Southern Illinois, but has since traveled the world with her husband – preaching, teaching, and leading others into the life-giving presence of Jesus. Jackie not only has a heart for the lost, but also a passion to help deliver healing, hope, and redemption. With a Masters Degree in Counseling, she has been honored to walk that journey of freedom with many individuals and couples. Jackie’s admitted favorite roles, though, are those of wife to Daniel, and mother to their four children – Breckin, Phinley, Daphne, and Foster. She and her husband base their lives and ministry out of Houston, TX, where they work and serve at Hope City Church.

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