The hardest aspect of gardening for me is the thinning. Why should I pull up perfectly good carrot or cucumber plants? And why pinch blossoms off pumpkin and watermelon vines? It’s not like they’re weeds.
But, if I leave too many plants in a small area, none of them will grow to their full potential. They’ll compete for nutrients and space. And a single vine can’t put energy into a dozen melons. By thinning the rows and pinching blossoms, I allow my garden to maximize the resources for the greatest yield.
I face the same problem in my own life. While I can set up protective barriers and yank up the weeds, I have a difficult time saying “No” to good activities. There’s nothing wrong with singing in the choir, leading a Bible study, working a part-time job, writing a novel, driving my kids to various activities, scrapbooking, exercising, and doing yard work. Unless I’m stretched so thin that I have to shortchange one area to juggle the next. Or skip sleep, which is never a good idea.
It’s time to do a little thinning. Even the “good” must make way for the “best” in my life. So, I’m doing a lot of praying for wisdom and re-evaluating the seasons of my life. For example, choir and Bible study are about to take a break for the summer while the yardwork is picking up. So, maybe the summer would be a good time to catch up on my scrapbook. Or simply a time to relax with the kids by the swimming pool, spend time in the Word, and recharge my creative well.
(Update 2011: For more lessons about life from the garden, see Devotions from the Garden: Inspiration for Life.)
What about you? Do you have a hard time saying “No?” What needs to be thinned from your schedule?