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When our friends invited my hubby and me to the movies for New Year’s Eve, we weren’t sure we were up for the adventure. After a beautiful Christmas season, we felt tired. Regardless of our weariness, we agreed to go. They reserved tickets to the movie, Fences, which I had vaguely heard of. I knew Denzel Washington starred in it, but nothing more.

To be honest, I struggled with this movie. I struggled with the harsh language and I was conflicted by the depiction of Denzel’s character, Troy. Now I battle getting the movie out of my mind. I can’t stop thinking about the fence. Troy’s wife, Rose, wanted a fence built around their little property and throughout the movie, work is done to build it. But my “aha moment” came when Troy’s friend, Bono, said,

“Some people build fences to keep people out, and other people build fences to keep people in.”

It’s amazing how one statement can grab my attention. It seems Rose wanted the fence in an effort to protect her family, while Troy has built a strong fence around his heart to keep them out. Denzel plays a very bitter man.

Why can’t I shake the thoughts of a fence?

Because somehow, as only the Lord can, He has used this movie to challenge me to inventory my own need for a fence.

Have I built a fence to keep people in, or keep them out?

I suppose I’ve done both. I’ve tried hard to build a fence around my family and friends in an effort to keep them close. Secure. Protected. When threatened, I waste no time trying to lock a loved one behind the fence.

Even David asked God to protect him by hiding him in the

“[protective] shadow of His wings” (Psalm 17:8, AMP)

As a wife, I’ve spent 30+ years building a fence around my marriage to protect what Pat and I have. Yes, I can relate to Rose and her desire for a fence to keep her family protected. Yet, although our desire is to protect, we must allow others to travel beyond the fence.

I didn’t want to relate to Troy and his fence—but I did. As more of Troy’s life was revealed, I gained more understanding of the reason for his fence. Refusing to move on from the pain of the past, Troy built a fence around his heart to keep others out; this ultimately made it impossible for him to see beyond himself to the needs of his family. I wanted to shake him and say, “You are so consumed with yourself, you can’t hear, or see anyone else!” Life became a game of blame. Am I guilty of the same?

My fence has been built from boards of rejection, criticism, betrayal and deep disappointments. Fences built from boards of insecurity are great at keeping others out—the problem is—God never intended for me to live behind a fence of fear. Unfortunately, many of us do.



It’s easy to use blame to justify our need for the fence we put up as we try to protect our hearts from the possibility of another infliction of pain. However, we miss so much when we live behind a fence of fear, and there’s very little life or joy behind the fence of control and bitterness.

Changing our identity–one letter at a time–happens when we become aware that,

“…whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.” (Philippians 3:7, NIV)

What’s the purpose of your fence?

Be You. L-Lose yourself for Christ!

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Kolleen Lucariello

Author Kolleen Lucariello

Kolleen Lucariello, #TheABCGirl, is the author of the devotional book, The ABC's of Who God Says I Am. She writes and speaks into women's lives changing identities -one letter at a time. Kolleen and her high school sweetheart, Pat, reside in Central New York. She's mother of three married children and Mimi to four beautiful grandkids.

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Emily Meyer says:

    I love this, Kolleen. Thank you for sharing it. I’m currently reading the book, “Boundaries,” and one of the principles they teach is that the best fences are those with gates in them to allow what’s good in and what’s bad out in the boundaries of your life. I love how you unpacked that idea in this.

  • Thank you so much, Emily! I have read the book, Boundaries, as well. Great book! It’s a principle I continually am trying to perfect! 😉 I think sometimes I try and lock the gate when the Lord would rather I allowed the gate to be a swinging one. Thanks again for your encouragement!

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