Australia’s dingo fence is the longest fence in the world. Before it was finished, one South Australian station lost over 11,000 sheep in one year to dingo attacks. Built in 1884, the fence was originally a rabbit proof fence over 8000km long. In 1914, it was converted to a dog proof fence to protect sheep. Battling huge maintenance costs, the government shortened the fence to around 5,400km. It runs from the South Australian coast, along the NSW border and through Queensland, keeping dingoes out of the south east. Camels wreak havoc on the fence (especially in South Australia), so parts have now been electrified. Employed staff patrol sections of the fence weekly.
Every person on the land knows how crucial fences and their maintenance are. A fence sets limits. It says, “this is where my property begins and here is where it ends”. We need fences around our paddocks and also around our lives. Boundaries to keep the good in and the bad out. Keeping dodgy stuff out of our thinking protects a healthy mind and emotions. Keeping others outside of their intimate circle protects a husband and wife’s relationship. Keeping fellowship with other believers and keeping God’s Word protects our relationship with God. Boundaries protect us mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Setting boundaries isn’t selfish.
Some people have had all their fences knocked about. Perhaps they never had good boundaries in the first place. They can’t tell where they finish and someone else starts. Scared to say ‘no’, for fear of rejection, they can’t separate their responsibilities from other people’s. Fencing is a big job on your own. Many people need help to put boundaries in place.
Just like the dingo fence, our ‘fences’ need patrolling and maintenance. How are your fences? Is anything wreaking havoc on them? Are you taking responsibility for what’s inside your fences – your own spiritual and personal growth? Where do you need to set a boundary? Are you disrespecting another person’s boundaries? Is there someone you can help to build some healthy fences of their own?
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23.
Father I know the importance of fences in my paddocks. Teach me how to build godly fences in my life. Help me to help others build healthy boundaries too. Amen.