goodbye sucker.

We have a crabapple tree in front of our house. Previous owners didn’t take care of it. It was a thick matted mass of branches. After fourteen years, it looks better.

We started pruning the tree. We recognized that for an apple tree, not all growth is good growth. Not every branch is a necessary branch. Some shoots can suck the life out of the tree.

I could keep explaining apple trees. I won’t. You probably know all about pruning from some garden show or home show or sermon. And you can apply the metaphor from trees to life. You know that sometimes good things need to be cut out of your life so that you can focus on the best things.

The person who wrote the book of Hebrews wrote about running a race and says, “let us throw off everything that hinders.” The image is of getting rid of the things that weigh us down, that keep us from running well.

But do you do it? Do I?

The other day someone let me know that he was unsubscribing to It is good, he said, but he has to trim the emails he is dealing with.  I understand. I’ve done the same from time to time (not with my blog, of course, but with other blogs and magazine subscriptions and email lists).

This week I let a friend know that I couldn’t stay involved with an outstanding training program I had started. I couldn’t give it the time it deserved. Last month I told some other friends that I couldn’t join them in a great opportunity they invited me to join.  In both cases, I was honored but had to eliminate activities which, for me, would have drained me.

Is it easy? Not at all. Necessary? Absolutely.

My friend Chris talked about paring this weekend, asking “Are there things you could (should?) pare back?” It made me think. This week, I’ll be looking at some of the trimming that Jesus talks about.

See also “You’re not the boss of me

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5 thoughts on “goodbye sucker.

  1. Rich Dixon

    My sense is that Jesus walked right down the middle of the road. No wasted steps, no rabbit trails, no getting sidetracked. He never settled for okay, or good enough, or even really good. He always chose “best.”

    Me? Not so much.


  2. paulmerrill

    I said no to being part of my church’s mens’ group this fall. My plate was just getting too full.

    Our culture is very much against the idea of saying no. I appreciate your speaking out in that direction. It’s a move toward promoting good health – spiritual, mental & physical.


  3. Marti Smith

    I’ve noticed that one of the strategies we employ to make it hard for people who are trying to say no is to reschedule events so everybody can make it to everything. If this strategy works and people feel obligated to show up because they no longer have a direct conflict, we end up with margin-less lives. As well as less passion, peace, and energy. Fresh off a sabbatical, I’m inspired to do less in my next decade than I did in this one. At least, to try to do less! But it’s so hard to let go of the ambition to do “more”!


  4. Pingback: I did it. « 300 words a day

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