pruneSometimes we have to decide what to prune from our lives and what to keep. This last winter here in Virginia Beach it was colder than (fill in your own inappropriate “Colder than” joke here) and it was very hard on the vegetation. We have several oleander plants in our back yard, before this winter they were over 6 feet tall. Because of the excessive snow and brutally cold winter they looked awful and we truly believed that they had completely died. As painful as it was, when spring arrived my wife and I decided to prune the plants way back, as a result our oleander plants have completely recovered. They are considerably shorter than they were, averaging 4 to 5 feet tall but they are very healthy and growing rapidly.

Around the corner is a house with several oleander plants that were about the same height as ours last fall. When spring arrived they too were in dreadful shape. For whatever reason those plants were not pruned. Their plants are a bunch of dead sticks and ours  are beautiful and healthy. A couple days after I took these pictures I noticed the dead oleander plants in our neighbor’s yard had been cut all away to the ground. Pruning our plants at the right time allowed them to get the nutrients they needed to grow strong and healthy. Our neighbors still had to do the work but since they waited too long they didn’t get to enjoy the benefit of new growth.

What in your life do you need to prune back? Are there people in your life, that no matter how hard you try, they just suck the life out of you and prevent your growth? As painful as it is, it may be time cut off, or at least severely limit contact with some people. Another thing that you may need to prune from time to time are bad habits that you’ve developed. What habits do you have, that if you cut them back, would make room for new growth so that you too could completely recover when you go through a rough winter? What limiting beliefs do you need to remove to allow yourself to grow and blossom?

Our neighbors may have decided not to prune their plants hoping they would recover on their own or maybe they needed a several dozen marshmallow roasting sticks. I don’t know if their plants will ever recover, even if they do they will be starting all over next spring and will it lost a full year of growth. Change can be difficult and removing things from your life can be painful but often the damage caused by not making the change is far greater than the short-term pain of removing things detrimental to your growth.

What will you start pruning today so you can enjoy new growth tomorrow instead of next year?