Thinning plantsThe 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. With my daughter entering her last year of high school and the oldest boy just a year behind, I know I need to focus on those last memories from this stage as well as prepare for life after high school with the special needs one. How much writing can I realistically get done? Should I focus my energy on fiction or non-fiction or marketing for a season? And how do I keep the balance between the kids/housework and time in the Word or recharging my creative well?

(While this originally posted in 2010, you can find more Devotions from the Garden on the Books page.)

What about you? Do you have a hard time saying “No?” What needs to be thinned from your schedule?

Thinning For Maximum Growth
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