Lipstick and Pruning

Lipstick and Pruning

I was leaving the house the other day to head to an appointment.  I went through my normal “get ready” routine; Coffee, hair, make-up, clothes, jewelry, more coffee.  Grabbed a quick breakfast, coffee and toast, and went back to the bathroom to brush my teeth on the way out the door.  Last step was my lipstick.  I reached forward to grab the tube and stopped.  Why was I putting on lipstick?  Much like you, my new favorite accessory is a face mask.  No one would see the lower half of my face so why wear lipstick.  It has been part of my routine for many years but now it seems unnecessary, silly even.  Who will see it so why wear it?

I reached for it out of habit, almost without thinking.  I have also made the mistake of wearing lipstick under my mask, and let's just say it doesn't work well.  Many times we do things out of habit, they are part of our routine.  That can be a good thing.  Washing the dishes right after dinner, making your bed as soon as you get up, or spending those first moments of the day with God.  They can get us in trouble too; grabbing a handful of candy every time we pass the candy dish or leaving your coffee mug in the bedroom each morning.  Little things that add up; a few extra pounds and no clean mugs the next morning.

There is no grand reason I put lipstick on every morning, I just do.  It is not a good or bad habit, it's pretty neutral but it has become unneeded.  So I wonder what else do I do that is unneeded, no longer necessary?  What routines have we laid aside because they just don’t fit in our new routine?  What is being removed or pruned.  Lipstick, small as it is, is a habit that has been pruned away, it was longer useful.  Pruning does not sound like fun, in fact it sounds painful, having something cut away, but maybe not. John 15: 1-2 tells us that “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.  He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.”  My lipstick wearing was no longer fruitful, so it has been cut away.

When the preschool closed in March, my early morning schedule was pruned away.  It was hard not seeing the sweet faces and hearing the laughter in the halls but that pruning allowed for growth.  I suddenly had my mornings free and found myself on my deck in the still quiet of the morning studying the Word and conversing with God in ways I would not have been able to if I had to be at work.  The pruning was hard but new growth occurred because of it.  That time with God has deepened my relationship and I am better for it.  I pray that I am bearing the fruit of God’s love in me, the fruit that was allowed to grow because of some pruning.  I didn’t want to be pruned but I see the growth that it fostered.

Have you had to do some pruning lately or do you see some in your future? It can be scary and painful but remember who does the pruning.  God will only remove what is no longer bearing fruit, God will only prune what needs to be cut away so we may grow.  We need not be afraid for we are in the hands of the master vine grower.

Gracious God, help us trust You to prune us as we need it. Thank You for Your patience as we resist the pruning.  Help us to grow and abide in Your love each day as You abide in us.  Amen.