Spiritual Fences

“You set the boundaries of the earth, and you made both summer and winter.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭74:17‬ ‭

Fence building is a serious business. Billions of dollars are spent annually to keep pets in, and salesmen out.

Fair enough.

Fences are designed to keep the wanted stuff in and unwanted stuff out. But a really good fence also has a way in and out for the homeowner – a gate. A gate in good working order allows good things to get in – new patio furniture, for example. It also allows the owner to easily take out what they don’t want – garbage, or the old patio furniture which is no longer useful.

Simple but effective.

A latch and some hinges, some fence panels and posts, and you’re set. The yard is able to do what it was designed to do, and function in a healthy and practical way.

Enter the spiritual fence.

God is a God of order, of method. He set up a variety of boundaries when He created the earth – from limiting the oceans to setting up the parameters of gravity to designing the weather patterns that guide the development of the seasons.

He also set up boundaries as limits on human behaviour – He declared murder and theft a violation of His moral code. His justice system includes rules which promote good neighbours – just like good fences, if we follow the guidelines set up by the Boss, we can avoid a lot of relationship trouble.

The spiritual fence in good working order helps to mark out our territory, a healthy line separating where we end with where another begins. It keeps blessings in and keeps evil and dangerous situations out. It blocks unwanted or toxic relationships while protecting and nurturing healthy ones. But it comes with at least one gate – a place to allow good things to enter, and enable the ‘garbage’ of poor habits or what others dump on us to be removed properly.

The problem is, many of us didn’t receive very good boundary lessons. A lot of folks allow too much crap to enter their spiritual property, and don’t know how to haul out the stuff that is causing damage. Often, pain prompts us to build fences quickly, without a lot of forethought – and pain fences have one flaw.

They don’t have any gates.

When pain drives construction, the walls are too thick and too high – we build them in self protection mode, and often exaggerate the blueprints. We are motivated by a need to be safe – a very valid need, especially when we have been hurt.

The problems start when we can’t haul anything out. Fear and anxiety are toxic at elevated levels – and we need to be able to get rid of them periodically, flushing out the adrenal system and resetting our emotional balance as needed. But if we don’t have a gate, we can’t shift the byproducts of worry.

At the same time, we aren’t able to receive any care packages – love and acceptance are left waiting outside the fence with all the things we legitimately ought to block out. And since it is love that drives out fear and anxiety, we end up short circuiting the one thing that could provide us with relief from the pain that drove the fence building in the first place.

A fine conundrum, no?

It’s hard work dismantling a pain fence.

I know. I’ve had to do it myself.

It’s harder work to install a gate. It’s terrifying to start letting things in when you’ve blocked it all out for so long.

But oh, friend – there is freedom and healing in those gates!

God is a God of boundaries – appropriate, healthy, allowing constant flux between allowing good in and hauling the undesirable back out.

Install a working gate with me?

Father, it is a scary thing to cut holes in those heavy fences our pain constructed in self defense. Guide us as we practice allowing Your love in, and help us to regularly get rid of all that holds us back from freedom. Amen.

Published by melodylowes

I am actually a bit of a mess. But in the mess, I’m finding security in knowing I am chosen, I am forgiven, and I matter. After uncovering a history of abuse in my past, I have done a lot of healing - and writing is one way I can invite you deeper into your own healing journey! I write devotionals about the complicated thing called life at growing-in-grace.ca, and my poetry is stashed at melodylowes.com. Pull up a chair and a coffee or tea and let's grow together!

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