“When a Japanese gardener “prunes open,” Marsha explained, he or she cuts away not only dead branches and foliage, but also often a number of perfectly healthy branches that detract from the beauty inherent in the tree’s essential structure. Pruning open allows the visitor to see up, out, and beyond the trees to the sky, creating a sense of spaciousness and letting light into the garden. It also allows a tree to flourish by removing complicating elements, simplifying structure, and revealing its essence.”Michelle DeRusha, True You: Letting Go of Your False Self to Uncover the Person God Created, page 17
This idea of pruning open makes this book so captivating. Each chapter uses some portion of this pruning and regrowing process to highlight our own struggles with being ourself in whole and life-giving ways. Being more yourself doesn’t always mean more more more. It doesn’t always mean go and do. Sometimes it means slowing down, stopping, listening, and gently removing until we find the way God made us deep underneath what gets in the way of our growth.
“Above all, God wants to be in relationship with us. He isn’t nearly as concerned with what we do as he is with who we are, and especially who we are in him.”True You, page 194
I really loved the pruning open concept and it makes me think a little differently about the process of becoming. I want to be that sprawling, beautiful tree, with a lovely canopy shaped by a master gardener to let the light shine through. This book was helpful, thoughtful and a lovely invitation to be a bit more intentionally reflective and discerning while point us toward Christ. A lovely way to start the year.
A Few More Quotes:
- “As you let go of your false self, branch by branch, leaf by leaf, layer by layer – as you finally begin to relinquish, open up and allow God to prune you from the inside out – a you will grow in ways you never imagined : in you relationships with loved ones; in your heart, mind, and soul. and in intimacy with God himself.” p19
- “In quieting ourselves, we allow what lies beneath our everyday, ordinary thought processes to begin to rise to the surface. We begin to hear what’s been there all along.” p46
- “Your soul will reveal your broken places, the wounded parts of you that need healing and restoration, Your soul will tell you how your life is meant to be lived in God and with God Your soul will reveal your deepest longing. Your soul will speak. But first, you must be still enough to hear its quiet whisper.”p73
- “Naming our weaknesses, flaws, failures, and inabilities and calling out our idols ultimately creates space for us to move closer to Christ.”
- “The purpose of pruning open is ultimately not only about uncovering our true self, but also about coming recognize and understand our place in God’s kingdom on earth. When we know who we are, when we know we are loved unabashedly by God, no matter what, we can’t help but recognize that love in others, and we yearn to reflect God’s love back to them.” p214
See more details about this book here: True You by Michelle DeRusha.
(Review copy thanks to Baker Books. All opinions are my own. )