Does Your Invisible Fence Got You Stuck?
Invisible fences are an amazing invention. Without the clutter of a fence, they keep your pet from escaping your yard.
I admit that I can’t speak from first-hand experience. We’ve been a pet free family, outside of a few beta fish and a hermit crab named Shelly. For those pets, an invisible fence wasn’t necessary. Allergies are primarily to blame, that and the fact that dogs can smell my daughter’s fear of them a mile away! But we’ve had plenty of neighbors with dogs.
Fences are optional here in the South, so it’s much more common for dog owners to have an invisible fence rather than the 6’ variety that is commonplace in California. The nice thing about an invisible fence is that you get all the benefits of a fence without the obstruction, because the wires that create the invisible barrier are buried. A happy barrier from my daughter’s point of view!
In order for an invisible fence to work, there are two components: the buried wire and the special computer collar worn by the dog. When the pooch edges up towards the buried wire boundary, he gets a “static correction” that reminds him to turn around and stay inside the familiar yard. And keeping your pet on your own property – that’s a great big plus!
Dogs aren’t the only ones kept put by an invisible fence. Chances are that, without even realizing it, you’ve got some “static corrections” taking place in your life too. An invisible fence that keeps you from venturing out of your comfort zone. That invisible fence: fear. And that’s not a big plus!
Here’s what I mean…
You have the chance to take your career to the next level – maybe it’s a new role, a new line of work, or a promotion. The change feels exciting and a little scary. You know it will cause you to stretch. It will force you to do tasks you’ve not had to do before. That thought causes you some anxiety. Rather than venturing out and giving it a try, you stay right where you are – not because you love what you do, but because it feels safe and familiar.
Or maybe you meet someone new; someone that really strikes your fancy! They have the potential to be THE ONE, but rather than move forward in the relationship, you rehearse the many reasons they would never want to be in a relationship with you – they are out of your league, you have too much on your plate to invest in a relationship right now, you aren’t good at relationships, etc. You settle back into the same old grind never giving the relationship a chance.
The situations are endless that cause you to bump into your invisible fence. It’s that funky feeling that zaps you when you attempt to venture outside your comfort zone. Instead of pushing through the discomfort, you allow that uneasiness to keep you running laps around the comfort of your familiar yard. Have you experienced that? I know I have!
Sadly, what you want is on the other side of the invisible fence. In order to get results, enjoy that feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment, or to walk more fully in all that God’s called you to, you must escape your comfort zone. Remove the collar – whatever it is for you, that’s keeping you stuck and in your “complacent zone.”
Often your personality plays a role in stopping you in your tracks:
Or perhaps your invisible fence is your…
- Mindset or beliefs
- Fear – your fear of failure, your fear of success, or your Fear Monster
- Lack of good habits
You know your invisible fence (fear) has been activated when you behave in one of the following ways:
1. Criticizing and/or Blaming
These two are so, so common! They both take the focus off of your discomfort and shine it on someone or something else. I know – I’ve resorted to being critical myself more often than I would like to admit. Unfortunately, resorting to criticizing or blaming typically works against you.
Instead, focus on how you might respond to the trigger differently? Do you need to lean into who God created you to be? What do you need to learn or how do you need to grow? What help do you need to navigate the situation successfully. Seeking help is admirable – much more so than remaining a prisoner of your invisible fence.
Remember, you reap what you sow!
When it comes to receiving compliments or positive input, you minimize it. You downplay affirmation and encouragement when it’s offered. That’s rejecting the positive and everyone needs that!
Or there’s trying to hide the negative by making excuses, covering up mistakes, or not taking responsibility for doing what’s necessary to get the results you are after.
3. Creating Conflict
If you hate conflict, you’ll do whatever is necessary to avoid it. Here’s the strange thing: while deliberately trying to avoid conflict, you actually create it!
Pay attention to where you keep bumping into conflict in your life. There’s probably an invisible fence at work there!
Meditating on the “what ifs” never helps! Worry keeps you stuck inside your comfort zone. It’s a barrier to all that you desire.
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Philippians 4:6 (MSG)
5. Getting Sick or Hurt
You are happily humming along in life and suddenly you get sick or hurt and everything comes to a screeching halt. Not every sickness or injury is a “static correction,” but there’s a significant connection between your thoughts and emotions and your physical health.
A sound mind makes for a robust body, but runaway emotions corrode the bones. Proverbs 14:30 (MSG)
6. Being Dishonest
Hiding important feelings from yourself or others, not sharing a significant truth with the right person, or telling an outright lie to protect yourself from “a zap“, keeps you stuck, hurts your relationships, and more.
Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. Ephesians 4:25b (MSG)
7. Failing to Follow Through
Promising to do something and then failing to do it – that’s a limiting behavior. When you don’t return e-mails or phone calls, break a promise, or miss an important meeting you are inadvertently holding yourself back. Be vigilant about follow through!
Keep your word even when it costs you. Psalm 15:4b (MSG)
Over time, you will expand your comfort zone and that’s growth! After all, walking more fully in all that God has for you doesn’t just happen. It requires you to get more comfortable with feeling uncomfortable and more willing to trust God. And resisting the urge to retreat when you bump into your invisible fence.
It makes sense to keep your dog in your yard, however, when it comes to you – God created you for more! Ready to break free of your self-imposed boundaries? You will be stretched, feel uncomfortable, and feel weak. The good news is that Jesus tells us, “My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (MSG)
When you bump into your invisible fence, what behaviors do you resort to?