I struggle with that surefire faith that stops doubt in its tracks. My first response is to turn to myself for the answers. What follows is never very pretty because weakness and brokenness are not a good combination for finding the truth.

I’m blessed to live in community with people who can spot a lie a mile away. They hear it in my voice and see it in how I respond to a challenging situation. These people don’t waste anytime naming the lie and replacing it with God’s truth. It all sounds easy, but the reality is that for any of us to grow our faith, we must be willing to surrender and dig deeper. God is willing to do the pruning if we let go of the lies of doubt, unbelief, mistrust and whatever else keeps us deeply rooted.

I hold onto those deep roots because in my own way I believe it keeps me grounded. I feel a sense of comfort with the familiar and same old same old. Beneath it all, though, there is still a desire to fight the work of surrender and digging deeper. But God…

Gently pries my fingers away from all I know and replaces it with all He has to give.

Loves me right where I am and rejoices when I take baby steps toward surrendering to Him.

Remains in me even when I forget that it is only with Him I can do all things.

Prunes back the unnecessary branches of my life so I can produce the fruit of God’s glory.

God teaches us His truth in the parable of the vine and branches. “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. -John 15:1-4, NLT

The community that surrounds me and holds me accountable works from a place of grace and truth. Naming a lie is not the same as calling me out for doing the wrong thing. Creating a space to learn truth looks safe and welcoming as well as challenging. But, I still decide whether or not to surrender and do the hard work of digging deeper. The choice is still mine.

What choice will you make when faced with the hard decisions of life? Will you reach for the pruning shears or gently sift a few granules of dirt through your fingers?

Surrendering and digging deeper produces many tears, creates a space for vulnerability, and reflects the truth of who God says I am. There is nothing easy about the pruning God desires to do in us. As I say “yes” to the hard work and the debris begins to scatter, I am beginning to see the first signs of fruit. It is better than I imagined and creates a desire for more of the same.

When we choose to do the hard work, God will lead the way ever closer to Him. We might not get it right the first time or second or third, but God promises that He will always remain by our sides. Choosing to allow community to speak truth and grace into my life continues to bear fruit. I am now facing challenges through the lens of God’s truth and not my own understanding.

This is making all the difference. Are you blessed to have a community who speaks words that build you up and points you to God’s truth? If so, will you share what this looks like in the comments? If not, what would it look like for you to have this community?

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for being a Father who desires to see us grow in relationships, your truth, and love. Your willingness to walk with us even when we get it wrong teaches us selflessness and tenderness. As you begin to prune our hearts, show us how to surrender and allow deep digging to produce beautiful fruit. May we turn our focus back to you each time we falter and rest in the promise that you will always remain in us as we remain in you.

We love you and praise you! Amen.

Blessings on your week!

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