Embrace the Cut

“Learn to embrace cutting.” Donald Miller once said. I was at a small bloggers breakfast in Nashville before the Storyline conference, and Miller, along with blogger Allison Vesterfelt and her husband, were discussing and answering questions about the craft of writing and blogging. Miller went on to explain his love of cutting.

“Your work cannot be precious to you. You have to look at everything objectively. Cutting isn’t taking away, it’s refining and revealing your best. The manuscript of ‘A Million Miles In A Thousand Years’ I turned into my publisher was over 100,00 words. The final printed edition? Just over 50,000, and that didn’t bother me, because it made my book better. Learn to embrace cutting.”

The new year is upon us, and everyone is making resolutions. Gyms are packed, lists are being made, and every social media site is flooded with people sharing their goals (One of mine? Make an omelet that doesn’t fall apart when I flip it). “This year I’m going to do X, Y, Z,” says everyone, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, often people attempt to cram in new things without thinking about the old, and this is where the idea of cutting comes in.

What if your resolution this year isn’t to do more, but to eliminate more? What sort of things do we have in our lives that bog us down with the trivial and distract us from the meaningful? What relationships do we have that do nothing but harm us and weigh us down like concrete shoes? Maybe it’s not about more, it’s about cutting more.

We all have things we can get rid of, and I don’t mean material things. I mean habits, ways of thinking, attitudes, lingering sins, bad relationships, and unfinished business. Maybe the best way to be a better you this year is to work to eliminate the things that have held you back. Instead of hanging on to a bad relationship because you’re afraid to be alone, cut it out of your life and learn to better yourself by yourself. Maybe you’re struggling with a certain sin? Cut out the distractions and deal with it. What can we cut to better ourselves?

Miller said cutting is nothing but “refining and revealing your best”, and that made me think of a block of marble becoming a beautiful statue. Michelangelo created the David not by addition, but through elimination, and in 2014 we could all use some elimination in our lives.

Even though it’s January 1st, this isn’t the most important day in your resolutions this year; it’s January 2nd. Everyone can be motivated for a day to change their life, but not everyone will be for two, or three, or for 364. Too many of us make goals and fail, because we don’t care enough deep down to change. We all have to play to win, to finish what we started, and to do that, we have to sacrifice and cut things that hold us back.

Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. (1st Corinthians 9:24-27)

Whenever you watch races, do you see people running in suits of armor? (If for some reason you do, tell me, because I want to see that race) No! Runners are lean, wearing special clothes to eliminate wind resistance and running with a form to cut through the air as cleanly as possible. My goal is to be like one of those runners this year, to cut the weight and baggage dragging me down in every area of my life and reach another level. Learn to embrace the cut. Don’t think about what all you want to accomplish, instead first think of what you can eliminate to help you accomplish that goal, then cut the dead weight. Prayerfully examine what it is you need to work on, then let God help you with the scissors.

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