“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”
“…I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:11
A fence is restrictive. It prevents me from leaving a designated space. That space may change over time, and I may generally like or dislike my space. At times, I may view the fence as an enemy, a barrier that limits my freedom to explore and experience something within my sight but beyond my grasp.
But a fence is also protective. It prevents someone or something from coming too close to me. I may see, and I may wish, but there can be only certain forms of contact with the “outsider.” The outsider is a potential friend, but it may also be a potential enemy. For the time being, because of the fence, I am delayed in finding out which. I can choose to allow frustration to overtake me, or I can allow trust in my fence maker to calm me.
There is immediate security and comfort when I see the word “my.” That very word establishes a kind of fence. My side is my side, given to me by the one who places my fence, which early in life is usually a parent. I know that the area inside my fence is mine. Since the placer of my fence is good and has my good in mind, I can be assured that in my little world I will find comfort, nourishment, and protection. Ultimately, if I will remember the goodness of my authority, the one who placed the fence around me, I will also be contented, satisfied, and happy.
I have seen grassy meadows, and as beautiful as they have appeared, they are not as safe as the grassy area I have within my fence. Within meadows are often found uneven spaces, mud, and rocks. From a distance, the meadow looks perfectly inviting and exciting for me, but I can not see what lies under the lush, lengthy, greenery. What lies below the beauty will slow me down and cause me inconvenience, insecurity, and perhaps injury.
My grass is safe. It has been prepared and maintained by the one who placed my fence. From time to time I think of the adventure of wandering into new meadows, but I always return to the predictability, security, and satisfaction of being home, home in my own little spot of the world. I have learned, most of the time, to be content with the delicious and safe grass on my side of the fence, plain and ordinary as it might be.
More than with any parent or teacher, I have learned to be content with God, the all-wise, Great Placer of my “fence.” He is good, and He loves me. I can trust Him to establish the boundaries and to supply the grass He knows are just right for me. “I have learned…therewith to be content.”