Well, it is that time of year again. Pruning the perennials before the snow flies. Not everyone enjoys this part of owning a yard, but they sure love the effects.
What are the effects? Proper use of the plants resources, meaning not trying to revive the dead branches, bearing less fruit, and remaining small in the process. Trimming the hedges means more and better growth. Letting them overgrow means dead branches, stunted growth, and eventually, death of the plant.
This summer was great for revealing some of the things we need to prune in our lives, as leaders, and as everyday people. I took part in 2 different conferences, each with a very different feel from years prior. Covid-19 has done that to a lot of things. Both were entirely via video and chat, both had to address the current climate of the church and communities, and both addressed similar undesirable offshoots of all that 2020 has represented. Political, environmental, health, social…everything seems to be fair game today.
Fear. Challenge to creativity. Polarization.
Fear can be said to cause many things. The unknown and shaking our foundations seem to be the root of fear. It chokes out health. It causes us to remain hidden and ‘safe’. But the safety is rarely safe, it is just biding for time. So it requires pruning for us to grow. How do you embrace fear and walk through it?
Creativity is often lost during trying times. You look at many great crises of the past, even your own personal story, and you find when people stop in their tracks due to the crisis, or on the other side of it, they seek sameness. And not just a little sameness, but sameness to the extent of demonizing difference. We stop trying new things because that is all fearful. But creativity is what gets us through situations that require new thinking. It often is the pruning process itself, learning what needs to go and what needs to grow. How do you restore and encourage creativity in the midst of tough situations?
Polarization has become big problem. But it is not a new problem. We have struggled with it since the Garden of Eden. Anywhere that one could be ostracized from the other in order to remain ‘right’ or unblemished by wrong thinking, we create polarization. Polarity of thought can be accommodated by understanding and level ground communication, but 2020 has brought us to a new level of anger. We can find a place where those we disagree with or do not like become enemies, or we can allow difference to trim off the dead branches in our life. How will you make space for difference in your life?
Change is inevitable in life. We choose how we will encounter changes and become better for it.
Let me know if you need help walking through change this Fall: