Building Fences: Is Restriction Good For You? | Desiree Glass

“… He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him …” (Acts 17:26b-27a)

With temperatures in the 60s, nothing could keep me from my walk that January afternoon. I circumvented cow pies and mud puddles as I traipsed through the field and pasture on my way to the water’s edge. But when I arrived, I was dismayed to find fence posts now dotting the landscape.

Why would anyone want to put up a fence to restrict access to the bay?

Suddenly I was startled by a succession of booms that sounded to me like gunshots. I quickly scanned the horizon for any sight of hunters. Then my eyes landed on a piece of heavy equipment.

From a distance, I recognized my cousin in the operator’s seat and my brother manning the post driver on the rear.

“Why are you building a fence?” I asked. “Are you keeping cows in or keeping people out?”

My brother chuckled, “Keeping cows in.”

Our exchange reminded me of a line from the recent award-nominated film ‘Fences’: “Some people build fences to keep people out, and other people build fences to keep people in.”

Does God build fences to keep people in?

Not exactly. But He does set boundaries and restrictions. We can read about it in the first book of the Bible.

God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He gave them access to all kinds of trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. (Genesis 2:9)

Yet there was one tree He commanded they not eat from, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “For when you eat from it,” God said, “you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:17)

According to Judah Smith, author of ‘How’s Your Soul?’, this shows us that God is not only gracious but that restriction is important for a healthy soul.

Just like the fence that protects the cows from wandering beyond the pasture, God’s restrictions protect us.

God said no to one tree. Smith challenges, “Can you say no to one thing that isn’t healthy for your soul?”

Saying no means saying yes to what really matters.

Saying no frees our time and energy to focus on God and His purpose for our lives. It allows us to flourish within the fence line.

Dear God,

Thank You for placing me here in this exact location at this moment in time for Your specific purpose. Help me to recognize and say no to those activities that distract my focus and deplete my energy so I can say yes to more of You.


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Desiree has attended Calvary Grace for over 20 years. She is in her 14th year as a Career & Technology Education Teacher at Chopticon High School in St. Mary’s County. Her blogging career began in 2009, and she has written for numerous publications and Web sites such as Guideposts,, Pen In Hand (Maryland Writers Association publication), Connections (College of Southern Maryland literary magazine), First Place 4 Health’s national newsletter, Dragonfly magazine and The Times-Crescent newspaper in Charles County.