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?

How Does Your Garden Grow? – Thinning
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4 thoughts on “How Does Your Garden Grow? – Thinning

  • April 28, 2010 at 7:29 am

    >Yesterday I read in the local paper they were seeking volunteers in a couple of areas that are passions of mine. Your words are timely. Lord, give me wisdom; I want your want Your best.
    Usually, thinning is like pruning: painful but necessary if we're to bear fruit.
    Thanks again, Don R

  • April 28, 2010 at 10:47 am


    This is a timely post because so many of us think we can't say No to Godly activities thinking we would offend God, however if we are failing in our priorities of taking care of ourselves and our families, we are truly failing God's greatest priority!

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  • April 28, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    >Hi Candee –

    A friend and I had a similar discussion this morning.

    When we take on too much, it breeds anger and resentment. I'd much rather do two things well than ten things mediocre.

    Susan 🙂

  • April 28, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    >Great post and so very true. There are many good things to be involved in, but not everything is beneficial to us or our family…at least not when we are stretched thin. Thanks for the reminder.

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