A Season of Trimming
Left unattended, a vine will spend all it’s energy extending its branches. It will keep going until it literally has no energy left to produce leaves much less fruit. If you find a 20ft grape vine you’ll notice the first few feet may have fruit, then you’ll see leaves, and the end is all stick. A grapevine becomes a stick tree if it’s over extended. If you don’t prune the branch all the way back to it’s fruitfulness, then the vines capacity to produce fruit will be spent only to grow sticks.
If we overextend ourselves BEYOND our personal calling and don’t quit our activities that are fruitless, we are like the grapevine growing sticks.
We use the capacity we do have on things that don’t really matter. We undermine our divine responsibility and derail our destiny.
This paraphrased analogy from Kris Vallenton's new Poverty Riches & Wealth book hit home for us recently.
Stephen and I have been in a major season of pruning lately or ‘trimming’ as we like to call it. Some sticks are easy to prune, but others are difficult and painful.
Only a small number of people know this but for the last six years every Wednesday night we've been helping out at our church's youth group. In our college years, we worked at a summer camp together. It was there that we realized two things. One, we loved working together, whether that was ministry related or on a professional level. We quickly realized that we were a good team. Stephen's strengths complimented my strengths and together we could better serve people. The second thing we realized is we always wanted to be pouring into others. In addition to our amazing clients, youth group was the place that we built an amazing community within the leadership and were able to pour into a younger generation.
Wednesday night was a time we always looked forward to. We loved our students, we loved seeing their faith grow and we felt really strongly that we needed to be a part of this community for a season.
Over the last year, we've spent a lot of time praying about the different directions of our business and personal lives. We felt a lot of new doors open and that we were supposed to step into them with faith. As we've stepped into this new season, our dreams have gotten much bigger. During that same time we started thinking about our lives and evaluating what we were saying yes to. Last summer we felt like it might be the last year of youth group for us. Then again, at Christmas time we reevaluated if that was the right decision and we felt a lot of confirmation that this would indeed be our last year helping out at youth group.
We felt like we were being asked to prune areas of our lives and business so that we could step into greater things with the direction we're supposed to go.
So tonight, after six years of pouring into these amazing students here in Chico, it's time to step down from leadership. It's really bittersweet. We're sad to be leaving because we love these students so much but we can't shake how God was saying we need to trim in order to grow.
Trimming is sometimes painful and hard but the pruning needs to happen so we can produce fruit. The season helping out with youth group was amazing, and fruitful. It was perfect for where we were at the time. But as we're moving forward, while bittersweet, we're excited to see what's next and the fruit that will come from this decision.