In my last post, I wrote on how vulnerability, a healthy release of tears and honesty are all things that bring me life. Well, I guess I should have prefaced that with the fact that they don't necessarily feel life-giving as you're actually in the midst of them. I'm in the midst of them, and I won't waste my time lying to you; they don't feel good.
I'm actually reminded of a childhood routine I simply despised. I hated taking my vitamins. They were those colorful, iron-filled, Flintstones vitamins. I took them, alright--I took them and hid every single one of them under my pillow until my parents figured out my wily scheme and had a few words with me about it. In this sit-down, they tried their best to explain to a something little-year old that these were to make me stronger, healthier, and grow up to be a big girl. Despite my aversion to the vitamins, what my parents told me did have an impact on me. I started to take those suckers, not without plugging my nose and grimacing in the process, of course.
Though the list could be much more extensive, the three I've chosen: honesty, vulnerability and tears tend to be rooted in something far deeper. They are life-giving things because they are pruning mechanisms. To release honesty, there must be the cutting-off of dishonesty as well as the disposal of wanting the false sense of security in what's comfortable (I believe that is also true for the other two which follow); for there to be vulnerability, the cutting-off of guardedness and numbness; and for there to be tears, there must be the cutting-off of how others perceive you and the fear of appearing weak.
As Fall makes its presence known and reminds us that the seasons are changing as they often do, other transitions are also at hand. Seasons mark changes for many things apart from the weather and its respective holidays. Seasons mark changes in friendships, in aspirations, in growth, in healing, in grieving, etc...
It's in the midst of these transitions that we discover what things are life-giving. I firmly believe that many things that are life-giving can and will be perceived as strange or against-the-grain because they will, many times, reflect the heart of Jesus. And it couldn't be any more fitting: the Giver of Life as the giver of life-giving things :). They give us life because they are the things that are refining us to be more complete, whole, and loving people. And this will only happen in the hands of the Vinedresser.
Lord, take away the branches in our lives that don't bear fruit, and teach us to trust You as You prune us, that we would be still enough for You to do Your work of love in us. Give us eyes for eternity that we wouldn't define our circumstances and the ways we respond to them by any standards other than yours. Thank You for desiring Your Joy in us, Lord. Continue to make us full in You.