The Fence Around Your Life

I’m driving with a friend who flew all the way from the West Coast to see me for the weekend.  This friend knows how to get to the point, say the right thing, and change your reality.  5 years ago, she looked me in the eye during one of my darkest days and said, “God is not against you.  God is for you.” 

That conversation was a turning point for me. 

So I’m showing her around my little town.  I’m thinking of the glamorous lives people live in California, and I start apologizing that there’s not more to do.  I point to the tiny excuse for a mall and say, “There’s no retail here.”

She says, “Less choice means it’s easier.  You don’t have to make so many decisions all day.” 

Her commentary reminds me of the story I once heard about the school children who were let out into a school yard with a fence that surrounded the large play area.  With the fence in place, children enjoyed the freedom to explore, play in safety, and run free.  One day, a researcher took the fence down.  Without the fence in place, the children huddled together near the school building.  

What looked like freedom actually paralyzed them. They didn’t play.  They didn’t run free. They needed the boundary–that fence–to experience freedom and safety.

When I look at the narrow parameters of my life (small town wife, mother, part-time this and that), I feel tempted to rage against that fence.  I think there’s more out there.  As my friend and I drove all over town (it didn’t take long), celebrating the good things that God had accomplished in our lives, I found myself saying, “the more is right here.”  The smaller my life becomes, the more abundant it seems. 

That’s why it says in Psalm 16 that “the boundary lines for me have fallen in pleasant places.”  The boundaries I want to fight are the very ones that keep me in the right place to experience God and all that’s in store here. 

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  1. You love my frog, I love your words. This is so good, Heather. I've lived in a small town in the middle of nowhere for a little over 20 years. I came to the conclusion some time ago that God determined before I was born that this is what I needed – fewer choices and all, but I admit that there was considerable kickin' and screamin' before I accepted the “boundaries” I'd been given. (With a husband whose degree is mech ag, I don't know why I expected something different, but I did.)

    I don't sell any of my photos, but I gladly give them away. The only thing I ask of those who inquire is that they tell me how they are going to use the photos and link to me if they use them online. I have several photos of gopher turtles, but none in or near the pond. Don't you just love those photos of turtles lined up on a log over a lake or pond? I'd love to capture one of those. Let me know if you are interested, and I'll send you the links.

    Blessings on your weekend, Heather.

  2. Hmmm….seems like we're thinking along the same lines this week. My blog will be about “divesting.” You know, a lot of my D.C. friends thought that my move to a glorified cow patch was folly. But I agree with your California friend: it's a small valley, but a happy one. We're nestled between two mountain ridges with not much going on between them, and certainly not much going on outside them, but these mountains embrace us, and it feels downright cozy.