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There are two trees in my backyard that needed a lot of work, so a couple of days ago I decided to prune them. This type of tree is very green and lively on the outside, where the sun hits, but on the inside, those branches were dead and dry. Not to mention that I’m a very tall man, and I would constantly hit my head on these low hanging branches. Instead of wearing my bike helmet around these trees, I decided enough was enough, it’s time to prune these branches.

As I began to cut off the dead limbs, ensuring that future growth would happen, I began to think of life. God speaks to me in the simplest ways, I’m glad I was wise enough to be listening this time. I think there are several things in life that can call for our attention. Family, friends, church, volunteer activities, sports, music; these are just a few things that can take our time. Keep in mind that these are good things, they are not necessarily bad. I couldn’t help but think that — just as this tree — there are some things that we need to let go of. Even though jobs, activities, or volunteer opportunities are not bad or evil, they are not necessarily good for our growth; for our spiritual, emotional, or physical development.

I’m guilty of attempting to juggle too many things, and — at the end of the day — I am mediocre at a lot of things. As much as it pains me, I need to say ‘no’ to something that I might enjoy in order for me to focus on another area that I really want to excel in, or that I really want to learn.

For example, years ago I used to love playing on the worship team at my church. Even though singing and playing with a band brought me a lot of joy, it began to be very tiring. Years went on and I began to speak at youth group. There are only so many hours in the day and I had to choose: do I want to focus on my teaching abilities at youth group or do I want to spend time playing with the worship team? Both were good things, but I decided that it was time for me to hone my teaching abilities rather than to play with the band.

I believe God has a plan and tasks for us to do. He has crafted us to be able to do such works, giving us the skills and abilities that we need.

So, I ask you, is there anything that you need to stop doing? Is there an area that you feel you need to let go, in order to grow somewhere else?

Just like those trees in my backyard, they are now able to grow better and healthier. If we do the same, I believe pruning some activities in our lives will only be better for us as individuals, be better for our families, and be better for our spiritual walk with Christ.

Mauricio Paredes is Youth Pastor at Koinonia Church. He can be reached at manny@kchanford.com or 559-582-1528.

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