Sweetwater Youth Ranch

2020 Both Eyes

Attention Please

Before a speaker, teacher, or leader speaks, sometimes they have to get our attention so our eyes are focused and our ears are primed to hear.

This is absolutely true in the horse world as well. In the wild, the herd’s lead horse—the boss, the alpha—is the one that has their attention. Even when the herd is at ease while they are grazing, they pay close attention because it’s a matter of life and death to them.

As horse trainers, we align ourselves with the mindset of the alpha and expect our horses to give us their undivided attention. For this to happen they have to be in their right mind; actually it’s their left mind, because when a horse is thinking with the right side of his brain, he is in fight or flight survival mode, reacting by instinct, and you can’t teach him a thing. He believes he is in danger and all he cares about is getting himself to a safe place. When he uses his left brain, he is calm, in a learning frame of mind, and can think his way through situations and requests, so we make sure he is this state.

Even when horses are thinking with the left side of their brain, they are easily distracted. Their eyes are set on the sides of their head, giving them almost 360 degree vision, which makes it possible for them to have one eye on us and one eye on whatever is going on around them. To have their undivided attention or what we call “both eyes,” sometimes we have to make ourselves larger than the distraction in a way that lets them know we are in charge of the situation. With our body language we say, “Look at me!” Their only appropriate response is to put both ears forward primed to hear and both eyes focused to watch us. This is the horse saying, “As you wish, master”.

As Bible-believing followers of Jesus Christ, I can’t help but think God wants our undivided attention now more than ever. The comfort of our society has made it very easy to be distracted, and now the dis-comfort, for many, is doing the same. I’d like to encourage you, though, not to be part of the “many”—not for long anyway.

Our hearts go out to the families that have suffered loss during this pandemic. It’s truly a bittersweet time. Before COVID-19, anxiety and depression disorders ranked among the highest mental health problems worldwide. Following is a quote from psychologytoday.com: “Experiencing anxiety now and then is a normal part of life. It is not unusual to temporarily feel anxious when facing stressful situations, uncertainty, or extreme challenges. The emotions of anxiety and fear in confronting a real threat are part of the survival instinct.” That is the bitter part.

Here is the sweet part: Even with Covid-19, we have HOPE! If you have put your faith in Jesus Christ, you have the Spirit of God in you. I don’t know about you but I have to keep reminding myself of this fact! If that’s the case for you and you haven’t already (and even if you have, it won’t hurt to do it again), read these scriptures and I promise you will be encouraged. 

Hear him: Matthew 17:5. See him: John 14:8-9. Remember that he is in you: 1 Corinthians 3:16, Romans 8:9., that he will comfort you: John 14:16-17, that he will guide you: John 16:13-15, and he will give you POWER over fear and anxiety: 2 Timothy 1:7, 1 Peter 3:12-14, Romans 8:15.

Our RIGHT mind is aligning ourselves with the mind of Christ: 1 Corinthians 2:16, Philippians 2:5.

With that said, I have to confess that even though I know all of this, I struggle. Every single day I have to ask the Lord to help me keep the right perspective. I keep asking for reassurance and he has been faithful. He has reminded me of Abraham leaving everything he knew, and by faith following God into the unknown. He reminded me of Moses doing the same. Today I was reminded of Habakkuk. He had a heavy heart because of the corruption he was seeing in his land. He cried out to God and the Lord’s answer was watch me and I will perform unbelievable acts.

Revelation 21:6 tells us that he is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Yes, I struggle but I’m not giving in because I know God hasn’t changed! He wants me to give him my undivided attention and watch as he reveals himself in an unbelievable way! 

I’ll end with a quote I saw the other day “The church is not empty, it has been deployed” –and I’ll add–It’s time to get your boots on!

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