Yesterday I was pruning my peach trees. If you know anything about pruning fruit trees it is a pretty aggressive activity. Not for the faint of heart or super conservative types, you have to really lop of a lot of branches. Pruning is essential to getting a good harvest of fruit at the end of the season.
While I was out my neighbor passed by while walking his dog and voiced his concern that maybe I was taking too much off the trees. It really got me thinking. What If I pruned my trees in a way to make my neighbor more comfortable? What if everyone on my street thinks I am some tree trimming crazy woman and would all prefer if I trimmed my peach trees less? Of course, if I trimmed by peach trees how my neighbor wanted me to, I would probably not have very many peaches to share with him at the end of the season. After all the purpose of a peach tree it to make peaches, right?!
I sometimes do this with my life. I live my life according to how I think others expect me to live it, so they are more comfortable with me and my decisions. There is plenty of societal pressure to act or behave in certain ways. But is the purpose of my life to make others comfortable? If it is, in the long run, I would have a lot less to offer to others because I would be living far below my potential.
I see this in relationships too. I pretend to be someone I am not in order to appease someone else. Then I am surprised when I do not have emotional intimacy and connection. Or I think my marriage needs to look a certain way because someone told me that is what it means to have a good marriage.
I have to ask myself, what is the result I really want in life? After all I planted my peach trees to get peaches.
A faith transition or a mixed-faith marriage can present a unique opportunity to question how you deal with other people’s opinions and advice, including your own and your spouse’s.
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