Don't Fence Me In


- Linda Lyzenga

I was running in the wrong direction – against the wind. In that chilly wind of dis-ease and dysfunction there was a sense that there was more, but with no reference point to orient me towards what else there might be for me in the world, I felt there was no choice but to keep on going. A new pair of Chaco’s presented me with something more than I bargained for. Of all things, a quote attributed to Nelson Mandela - found on the shoe box, stopped me in my tracks. Something unfamiliar tugged on my heart strings. I turned around. I looked in the opposite direction and there was a healing path:  invitational and daunting at the same time, I caught a glimpse of what wholeness and healing might look like. Dreams fluttered as the fresh wind of the Spirit stirred. 

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.  Marianne Williamson

As I read this audacious claim I knew it to be true. Those words, more than any others, changed the course of my life. Even so, after so many years of having been steered in the wrong direction, I sometimes find myself feeling a bit disoriented and veering off course. Thankfully there are reminders along the way that get me pointed back along the healing path toward wholeness and healing. It’s what I’m passionate about. Here is my sweet spot. Here’s the rub- setting out on the healing path doesn’t satisfy. There is always (for me, at least) the longing for more. It’s the longing for the abundant life that keeps me pressing into the light.

Every now and then a random quote pulls me up short. Days later I find myself referring to it yet again – listening for a subtle nuance that I may have missed at the first reading. II Corinthians 6:11-13 read from The Message is one of those: 

I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t’ small, but you’re living in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively. 

Paul’s alluring appeal whisks me along with renewed fervor and delight – intent on exploring what’s ahead. 

The healing path presents wide plateaus with sweeping vistas where one can rest for a time before resuming the climbs that are demanded. At other times, there are deep valleys in which to descend. The terrain is varied – never predictable. Thankfully one need not travel alone. Along the way, many different sorts of souls will be encountered. I’ve met dreamers, reformers and revolutionaries.  Chances of meeting a conformist here are unlikely.

Lately I’ve been ranked amongst the dreamers - daring to dream big expansive dreams. Emerging from a place of deep longing an impossible dream rose up. I downplayed the longing with all sorts of excuses – If only this.… If only that….  Yeah, but….Despite the practical implications of those logical excuses the dream did not fade away. What was I to do?  

Put on the back burner, it simmered for a time. Recently, I dared look at the contents in the pot which had rendered a fragrant reduction of the dream. I tasted and found that it was good – very good. Here was an invitation to something that was obtainable and pointed me to my true north. True north was the place where my passion meets the needs of the world around me.

How could I go wrong? I took a risk and forged ahead.

Months later, well into this new venture I find that I need to carefully pace myself. I thought it would be familiar territory. This dream has taken me to never before experienced heights and depths. The immensity terrifies me. Even so, as I continue on this journey towards wholeness and healing don’t fence me in.



Linda is passionate about wholeness and healing and finds her sweet spot in the role of Spiritual Director. 

Married with two adult daughters, who have flown the coup – far from Western Michigan where they grew up, she’s home alone with her husband of 39 years. 

Before Jim retires next year, Linda, who is a lifelong learner, will have completed a new course of learning with the Allender Center for the Lay Counseling Certificate Program.  Soon after that, they’re off – visiting their kids and exploring the country in their RV. Then and now, you’ll find her practicing yoga, baking, reading, hiking, and writing.