Do you often feel like a magnet? You collect relationships, commitments, obligations, habits, thoughts, belongings, desires, dreams + other people’s opinions on your journey though life. What do you do with all of this + how do you manage to keep it all going? There are times when no amount of planning will enable you to do all that you feel you need to do. If you are feeling stagnate + overwhelmed, it might be time to for a good Spring clean and a look at pruning your life for growth.

I started early this year.

The final winter month was before us and spring was soon to be in the air. The windows had been closed long enough + I had a strong desire to get into a really big spring clean. I love a good clean out. And I’m guessing you already picked up that I’m not a winter girl. Although I do love to wear my jeans, ugg slippers + Mickey Mouse flannelette pjs.

Every year in the count down to spring along with a super clean out, we also prune our mulberry trees. We have one in the front yard + one out the back. Mulberry trees grow so quickly. Each year we cut off at least a meter + what feels like a tonne of other branches.

I found it was so much easier to prune the trees when the leaves were gone. It was easier to see what needed to go when the branches were not filled up with leaves. As beautiful + full as the leaves are, they simply clouded my view. I realised that life is like that too. It can be hard to see where you are headed when your schedule + mind are full. It is also a stressful way to live.

When you remove a few things out of your schedule + mind, you create some breathing space, or margin as I call it. You then have room for the unexpected. And it is a lot less stressful when they come. When you have margin, you have space to reflect on what is moving you forward and what is not.

A good place to start creating margin is saying goodbye to + pruning things where the life has gone. These are things that are dead + are in no way moving us forward. When there is no sign of growth our ability to see more clearly can improve dramatically. But it doesn’t mean that it makes it easier to get rid of that thing. Not all things that aren’t moving us forward are dead though.

Removing the dead is only one kind of pruning that Dr Henry Cloud talks about in his book “Necessary Endings”. There are two more types of pruning: the sick + diseased and the good.

I know, sick + diseased well that sounds easy enough, right. I mean, who wouldn’t want the dead + sick stuff out of their life. But really, the good too. My initial thoughts were, “Will there be anything left?” Instantly I remembered a past experience when my wonderful husband did some pruning. Good thing those trees were at rentals + not here at our own home.

3 Kinds of Pruning

The 3 kinds of pruning Dr Cloud talks about are:

1. Cutting back on good to make room for the best

We collect way more than we can maintain. This is the one I find the trickiest. It’s hard to say goodbye to good things. Especially when they are going well. But by pruning some of the good stuff you free up resources to help make the good that remains great.

There is a principle that Dr Cloud talked about in his book that has stuck with me. It’s what I now refer to as the 15% rule and I will talk about that shortly. It helps to make sense of why we need to get rid of some of the good in our life.

2. Cutting away the sick + diseased

This one can be tough. When things aren’t quiet dead and we have an emotional attachment it can be difficult to see these branches for what they are. Take a look at what is not changing despite your best efforts? A lot of your resources are needed to care for the sick + diseased. There maybe a point in which no amount of extra care from you is going to make it well.

There are times when I put something on the shelf. It could be winter and it appears like there is no life in it but I want to be sure. By putting it aside for a while I can move on with other things and later down the road I revisit consider my options.

3. Removing the dead

These things are simply taking up space + resources. They are not adding any value to your life. And as hard as it can be, it is time to say goodbye. Just like with the sick + diseased our emotional attachment can make this difficult to do.

When it comes to saying goodbye to treasured stuff, I take a picture. I still have the memory + reminder without needing to actually have the things. I did this with my sons’ memorabilia. Once he began Kindy and big school those boxes were piling up faster than I knew what to do with them. The strange thing was I realised that by boxing them away I wasn’t enjoying them, simply storing them. They weren’t adding to my life while packed away. Fortunately I found a solution and I have the best of both words. You can read more about my journey here.

The 15% Rule

Simply it is about removing 15% of what we do or have to make room for the new. Remember that feeling of being like a magnet, collecting so much in our lives as we travel along. We can’t keep it all + add the new. We have new dreams, desires, friendships, habits, thoughts + stuff that can’t grow until we make space.

We have a guideline that we try to follow in our home, when something comes in, something has to go. The upside of having a small home is that it helps keep the clutter at bay. Even with the best intentions though stuff breeds, it multiplies. Maybe it is my desire for minimalism that this particular principle stuck with me.

We are not meant to keep everything. But we are suppose to be fruitful. We each have a God given desire to achieve, create + connect. Eph 2:10. He did after all make us in His image. And to be fruitful means that there will be times of pruning. We need to prune the good to make way for the best. Remove the sick + diseased so that our resources are not taken up with nothing in return. And finally we need to cut away the dead that is simply taking up space.

When you prune your life it is easier to focus on the important. You can firm up your foundation for the fruit to come. You have breathing space. Your yields will increase. And you make way for new opportunities + connections.

There is a lot to gain from doing the work in pruning your life of the good, sick + diseased and dead. Imagine for a moment what it would be like to channel your resources from the sick + diseased and dead into having the best in your life. What would that look like for you?

It would feel like freedom + success. A life worth living out loud.

Be encouraged. When you start pruning things in your life, it will hurt. There will be some pain in getting rid of the good, the sick + the dead. After the work is done + you see new signs of growth in your life, you will be glad that you did the work in pruning your life for growth.

Success comes when you { Take Action }

When you are next making a list of all the todos or you are feeling overwhelmed. Take a moment to consider if all these things are necessary and contributing to the life you desire + the person you long to be. I love to make lists so my suggestion would be to make a list of things that you are feeling overwhelmed about. Schedule a time to come back and reflect on them a little later to carefully consider it they are things worth keeping or pruning.

I created a couple of pocket cards for my faith planner to remind me of the need to prune my life for growth + I would like to share them with you. Download the FREE pocket cards below.

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