Cutting Out What Cuts Us Off | UMC YoungPeople
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August 2018

Cutting Out What Cuts Us Off

By Olivia Richardson

Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.

Mark 4:18-19 (NIV)

There is a tightness inside of me. I have let in a snake that wraps its coils around the hope in my heart, a thorn that cuts me off from the life-giving light; a cloud with humidity that smothers my flames and makes it hard to breathe.

My struggles were too big to give up. I was worried that He wouldn’t be able to handle them; that I am too small for Him to take time with. So, I tried to handle them myself. But that’s when the little garden snake turned into a python. A python that longs to crush any glimpse of hope I have that a good God could love me completely.

The flashing coins and the feel of a handful of cash fluttering between my fingers, held so much promise. I thought that if I could get just a little more it would be enough. A bigger house, a more expensive closet, a fancier car, higher end vacations . . . but the more I gained the more I lost as I realized that the promised joy of possessions is ALWAYS just out of reach. My things grew into thorns that reached around me and over me and loomed like death, so I couldn’t see the sun. I believed that I could never be happy.

I thought I could have both; Jesus and family/love/sex/hobbies/popularity/success are not incompatible, right? Jesus could have me on Sunday mornings, 10% of my paycheck, and 2 minutes of my time for that verse of the day text--but the rest of the time was mine to spend or waste. Instead of letting Jesus become a part of me I bring to all my moments, I gave Him just a part of me & that part became smaller and smaller as all of the other things I wanted took more and more time. And when the glory of Jesus didn’t outshine the rest because I had locked it out, afraid of letting it overwhelm me and making me change, I was smothered by a cloud of empty longing, having rejected a ride on wings like eagles.


Worries, lies, & selfishness all start so small. It is easy to dismiss the power they can have over us. We let them fester and grow instead of pruning them back so that God’s word in our hearts can be life-giving and sustaining. Pruning lets His hope, and love, and grace grow deep roots and bear fruit in us.

God wants to help us prune our lives so that we can thrive by being who He created us to be.

  • Do you have any worries that you are letting consume you?

  • Do you have any lies that you are believing over the sweet truth of Jesus’ love?

  • Do you have any selfish desires that you need to address in order to give God all of your heart and walk into his good plans for you?

  • What do you need to cut out that is cutting you off from Jesus?

Olivia Richardson is from Jamestown New York, but is currently a senior at Houghton College where she is a double major in Inclusive Adolescents Education and English with a minor in Bible. She hopes to become a teacher who is a caring servant, helps her students pursue wonder, and shows them the love of Jesus. Olivia grew up with her whole family being active in her home church, Bemus Point United Methodist Church, where her passion for Jesus and grew as she was encouraged and challenged to love God and love all of God’s people. Olivia enjoys reading, writing, playing music and leading worship, and staying active. Olivia also loves her family and friends, her fiancé , lakes, avocados, and all four seasons (even the western NY snow). You can follow her blog at