I grew up in wide open spaces where my backyard seemed to stretch forever. As a young child I remember looking out the back, through the screened in porch, to the horizon. A fence faintly filled my vision and crossed the horizon line as a marker for a beginning and ending. To my inexperienced self, the fence seemed miles away. Today I realize the backyard was not more than an acre at the most.
Childhood lessons point us to those wide open spaces. A place where our hearts remain free to finding new friends, dreaming and exploring bravely. Fences that mark a place on the horizon leave us wondering as children. But should not barricade us as we become adults.
This past week as I began praying to figure out what to write today, the word “fences” popped into my head. God chose this word as a reminder to keep my heart open to others, ideas, and especially to Him. I knew as a child that the fence marking the end of our property was a signpost of the unwritten rules of being a child. The fence lined a boundary that I was not allowed to cross.
Today my property is not lined by a fence, but I sense that it feels like it in how I approach life. I live with caution, a desire to know the landscape before exploring something new and with a smile here and there. But what I forget in my everyday living is that stretching beyond the fence line leads to so much more.
[Tweet “Stretching beyond the fence line leads to so much more. God is on the other side waiting.”]
Questions fill my mind as I wonder how we let childhood freedom turn into endless restrictions as an adult. We scrutinize everything, live without trusting others and erect fences without even trying at times. We fight freedom believing that we will be happier living within strict boundaries. Instead of loving freely, we query each situation and person we cross paths with thinking the questioning will set us free.
The image of a fence closing off the perimeter of something conjures up limitations. But we are not called to live this way. True freedom is found in God. He calls us to live our lives in freedom with Him not in the confine of fences.
When we feel security in closing ourselves off, God prompts us to reach beyond our comfort zones.
Belief that we are happier when we present only a piece of ourselves gives God the opportunity to break down the barriers that we hold so closely.
Questioning everything and everyone has its merits, but how much better would it be if we trusted and loved others as God calls us to do? When we choose freedom in God, He shows us how to love and live without fences. He calls us beyond to more than we imagine and provides all we need.
[Tweet “Reach beyond the fence and see the magnificence God creates.”]
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17
May you know how much God loves you today and everyday. Reach further than you have ever allowed yourself and see the magnificence that God creates.
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Great post, Mary! We need to be careful that the boundaries we have are those that God talks about in His word and not boundaries we put up because of fear or other ungodly reactions. This is becoming an increasingly difficult task as the world seems to spin out of control! Remembering that He is very much in control of everything certainly helps! Blessings on your week, my friend! I pray your move is going well!
First of all, Mary, I love your photos. Each one holds such significance and really backs up your thoughts here. I thought I’d better say this first as often I hit “submit” before I remember to comment about the photos. 🙂 This so reminds me of the freedom I had on the farm when I grew up. I thought nothing of climbing under or over a fence. Exploring uncharted territory. Even precariously balancing on them. I was quite the tomboy. But the hurts of life gradually stole away that childhood daring. Thank you for prompting me to reflect on this. I have come a long way in the healing process, but I’m afraid I still sometimes build fences around myself rather than bravely jumping over them to the other side to see the magnificence God creates. Thank you for this encouragement, my friend. Love and hugs to you!
Yes, how to live and live without fences. I know I can still have a fence without the gate in places, and some places maybe even overgrown with moss and weed, where I have not tended it for awhile. God has placed the word trust on my heart these days–trust and let go. Letting down our fences is an action of trust too, isn’t it? Thanks for your words again Mary, and following God’s direction!
I am pondering your words about a fence without a gate. Interesting thought. I can see how we might believe a gate is giving us an out when we need it, but it might be just a perception and not a reality. I pray we trust God to remove the fences when needed and place our hope in Him at all times. Thank you for stopping by.
Thanks for the gentle prompt to look beyond our comfort zones, Mary. You have taught us much along the way about being brave, expanding our borders, growing our faith.
It’s easier for us introverts to remain snug and warm in our spots. Your words give us wings …
Meanwhile, how has your move gone? I’m hoping you’ll be writing about your transition. I know how daunting it can seem.
Monday blessings to you, dear.
It is because of dear friends like you that I am able to reach beyond my own comfort zone. God has surrounded me with such wonderful people and they help make me brave.
I will not officially move until August. Right now I am building a new place and in the process of trying to sell my current home. Please pray for God’s perfect timing. My son and daughter in law live with me so they need to find a place too. I hope to write about the transition. Who knows what God will lay on my heart??
Hi Mary! Wow, you’re right, this is a lot like my post. I think God wants us to really pay attention to our tendency to rope ourselves in, hide, and not see the joy and abundance in the world.
Fences can protect, but they can also hold us back. The wisdom to know the difference is a great grace. May we be blessed with that!
When I read words that have similar themes, I know God is trying to get my attention. He did that when I visited you and read your won words about freedom in Christ. Fences have many uses but when we hide behind them and pretend we are okay, we are not honoring God and all He calls us to be. May we all seek to know the difference between whether fences are helping or hindering us. Blessings ceil!
Such beautiful imagery here! Interesting how God gives us boundaries to stay within (Commandments) for our own good, yet He calls us to live outside our self-inflicted “fences” – to trust Him and step into the unknown with Him. This takes guts and courage, but when we know He holds by His righteous right hand, it makes venturing beyond the fences so much easier. Loved this – good offering this am.
Thank you for sharing the dichotomy of fences for our own good as well as the need to go beyond the boundaries. It takes courage to follow God no matter what. But we can trust Him to take us by the hand and lead us exactly where we need to go. Hope you had a wonderful weekend and you are healing well from your surgery.
Smiling because I climbed over a mental “fence” yesterday when my husband showed me how to drive the zero-turn lawn mower. I’ve been pretty spoiled by having all these boys around — never had to drive the lawn mower at all until they started growing up and moving away or becoming too busy as teens with their own jobs to be as much a part of our family business. So . . . I’m becoming skilled in an area I never thought I’d need after having told myself for years that I just didn’t have the aptitude. Well, maybe I don’t, but I can still push myself to learn new things. I think this kind of practical activity is a metaphor for what I need to be doing with relationships and with ministry and with my willingness to take risks for the sake of the Kingdom.
Happy Sunday, Mary! It’s always good to read your Sabbath thoughts.
Your story about learning to mow the grass reminds me of my own story. I grew up with four brothers so I never had to cut the grass growing up. After I got married, my husband had some knee surgeries that required me to learn how to cut the grass. I really thought I would get by with ever learning.
The lesson you share today is that we are never too old to learn new things. In God’s eyes, we are never too old to work for the glory of His kingdom. All we need to do is say “yes” and let Him the lead the way. We can reach beyond the fences because we have God on our side.