Today’s “Pruning” post is from Justin Davis. Justin, his wife Trisha, and their three boys are such a blessing to me. They are a living testament to how God restores and redeems our brokenness. Through their ministry at Cross Point Bellevue and Refine Us, they teach others (like me) the power of authenticity, truth, and grace.
Find their blog here.
I’ve been a Christian long enough to know that you never arrive. I’ve also been a Christian long enough to know how easy it is to have a sense of arriving. There is a tendency in all of us to think that our relationship with God has arrived. It’s not that we think we are done growing, it is a sense that we don’t think we need to grow anymore.
This isn’t something we would articulate to anyone, it is this feeling we have inside as we go to church; compare ourselves to others; evaluate where we are now compared to where we were 3 years ago. It is easy to have a sense of “I’m good. I’ve arrived.”
I guess to some extent, that is the season I’ve been in. My marriage is better than it ever has been. My relationship with God has a nice rhythm. I’m being intentional about developing my relationship with my boys. I have good friends that I enjoy spending time with. God has blessed me richly to give me a second chance in ministry. I didn’t even realize how much I was struggling until about a month ago. Our family was on vacation in Florida, and Trisha and I just started to read together The Me I Want to Be, by John Ortberg. I had heard so many good things about it, that I was a little nervous that it wouldn’t live up to the hype for me. Be careful what you wish for.
After reading the first chapter, Trisha and I were sitting at the table talking and she said to me, “The first chapter is you, right now. You know that right?” Tears started streaming down my face. I knew that the life I was living wasn’t the life that God had in mind for me. I had a diminished sense of joy and peace in my life, and I didn’t know why. I said, “I’m not the me I want to be.”
We continued reading and at one point, I said, “I just feel like crying. I feel like mourning the life I pretended to have.” She said she wouldn’t think I was crazy if I just cried. So I did…for a while.
Through some very grace-filled, heart-felt conversations that week, I realized that I had not dealt fully with my parents divorce last year. I had not processed and mourned the news I was given last year that the man I thought was my dad, wasn’t and I was adopted. I wasn’t pursuing deep, meaningful friendships in a way that brought life to my heart.
God is not done with me. I have not arrived. I am in a season of pruning. I am in a season of refining. I am in a season of preparation. I’ve come to understand that God uses pruning and refining in our lives to prepare our hearts, our faith, our minds for a renewed call and responsibility. It is our choice to engage it or not.
In the past, I had been more than willing to embrace the expanded call and responsibility, without embracing the pruning and refining. What happened as a result was I had more responsibility than my character could withstand. I pretended for a while, but eventually imploded.
In this season, I am giving God full reign. Peel back every layer. Uncover every hurt. Walk me through every flaw. I surrender to the pruning. I want to become the me HE wants me to be. Not arriving has never felt so good.
Are you content in not arriving?