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If I’ve learned nothing else in the past three years, I’ve learned the value of a length of galvanized wire that has electricity running through it. The combination is important. Though the wire is strong on its own, if Tony the bull decides his one-plus-ton self is going to push through, the steel strand won’t hold up. The icing on the cake is the electricity. Those 6,000 volts make even our big guy wary of putting his nose anywhere near that wire.

The ironic thing is, unless a grounded body touches the fence, there won’t be a shock. Small calves’ hooves are not yet solid enough for the electrical path to complete, so they will often walk back and forth through the fences with impunity.

We’ve gotten a laugh out of a “teeny bopper” who has gone through a fence, getting their first-ever jolt, and desperately wants to get back into the field with its mama, but isn’t willing to accept the consequence—zap.

If we’re around when this happens, we’ll open a gate so they can safely return, but often they get so frazzled they accept their due reward and jump through the fence, anyway. Such is life.

Fear of the fence keeps the cattle in a safe zone. But fences can also keep them from things that they want, too, like greener grass in another pasture, or in an unfenced area.

This got me thinking. My husband gave me a beautiful gift last year. A picture of farm life with four cows headed towards the observer. The caption above them is “Live Like Someone Left the Gate Open.” I love this image. It’s a reminder not to let myself get hemmed in by my own fears.

Life provides a multitude of opportunities. Some of these we pass by because not taking advantage of them allows us to devote our time, attention, and resources to something greater. You can’t do everything in this life, and we only get one go around. So, we need to decide which options will make the most of our lives.

My favorite verse from the Bible is from the book of Galatians. “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,” Gal. 5:1 NIV.

When I look back, there are a few things I wish I’d done. Some choices I made because I was afraid or allowed myself to be controlled. Fear or the control of others can protect us like the fence keeps our cattle safe. But sometimes we allow ourselves to be limited when we shouldn’t. Discernment is the key.

Have something to add? I’d love to hear from you.