One day as I was in the backyard, I noticed a crack in the fence, the sun was shining on it in just a way and I had the distinct thought to take a picture of it.
I’ve been thinking about the fact that the cracks in the fence can let things in that you don’t want. Like snakes, raccoons, moles, rabbits, frogs and other backyard intruders. The effects of these creatures can lead to fear (snakes), damage to the yard (moles), and contamination of our pool (frogs). So we really want to keep them out.
As hard as we might try to keep those cracks out of our fence to keep out the intruders, they might just try to climb over the fence, which for some is entirely possible. It reminds me that we don’t get to avoid trouble in this life. We won’t avoid challenges and hardships. Sometimes no matter how secure our fence is, we’ll still come up against tough stuff.
We can secure that fence but at some point, the fence will rot again. Or another crack will emerge in some other place. It can feel like we’re trying to plug the holes in a ship that has a million holes sometimes. Thats how it can feel to “hold up life”. The thing is, we can’t. We can’t hold it all up ourselves. Sometimes, we have to let it go. We have to release it all to find our place again and rebuild our own fences. What things do we want to let in? What things do we want and need to keep out?
Seasons of tearing down our proverbial fences can be painful. We might have to face things we don’t want to, and sometimes look ourselves in the mirror, only to find things we really don’t like. Unhealthy patterns, fears, bad habits and so much more sometimes become apparent at what seems like all at once. It’s easier to just ignore it, shove it back down and keep soldiering on.
The reality of facing ourselves seems much too painful and overwhelming. But can I tell you that the crack in the fence might just be a form of protection over you? It might be unearthing things that may prepare you for your next season. And while it feels so heavy, exhausting, painful or maddening to be walking through whatever you’ve been walking through, maybe it’s not as painful as what would happen if you nailed the old fence back together as opposed to taking it apart and rebuilding it one plank at a time.
Then I realized that the cracks are where the light gets in. It reveals the opportunities for growth. Pretending to be alright isn’t realistic. Safe spaces in our lives can let us turn over anything we’re hiding and bring it into the light.
As we rebuild that fence, there are a few guiding principals that might help us.
Don’t fall for counterfeits. The things that look good, but won’t be good for us in the long run. The things that look almost perfect, but aren’t. Waiting for the real deal is worth it. Sometimes you have to wait it out.
Leave no stone unturned. Don’t leave any of those old rotting planks from your old fence. Emotional baggage that can hang around from our past blocks us from experiencing fullness in our lives. As hard as it can be sometimes to take down those old planks, the rebuilding will be so much greater.
Reverse course, do the opposite of what you feel like doing. When you want to run, lean in instead. When you want to fight, surrender first. When you want to grab for control, let it go. You can turn the tide, you can change course, and your choice in response builds new habits that rebuild that new fence.
Encouragement is needed often. Let others encourage you, and encourage yourself. Don’t block the ability to receive from yourself and others. Taking those things in and storing them up remind you of who you really are and why you’re here on the days when you want to just put the bandaid in things and fix the old fence.
Turns out, the cracks are where the light gets in.