Friday, September 16, 2011

Blinders, Please!

I love going to the fair! It's something my mother taught me to love when I was a little girl and is still one of the highlights of my year. Unfortunately, I don't get to see one of the best parts very often. The heavy horse pull is my absolute favorite and it never ceases to amaze me. The horses are massive and beautiful and they're so well trained.

Draft horses are used for the horse pull and the winner of the competition is the team that can pull the most weight, which is often concrete weights on a sled. Horse pulling goes back to the teamster days when neighbors would challenge each other to see who had the strongest team. Even though we don't rely on draft horses to do the heavy work any more, horse pulls are still popular and still draw big crowds. As a little girl, when we went to the fair, we made sure it was a night with horse pulling. The magic is still there for me, even after all these years.

I used to feel bad for some of the teams because they wore blinders. I thought it was mean of the pullers because I didn't understand the need for them, nor the benefits. I don't know about you, but I'm easily distracted. All it takes is something along the sidelines and my concentration is broken and my focus is shifted. Suddenly I realize that I'm moving toward something different than what I originally started for. In a horse pull, that will cause a team to lose, and it only takes one distracted horse to throw off the whole team. So what do pullers do? They put blinders on the horses, drastically reducing the possible distractions and helping them focus straight ahead, which in turns helps the horses pull straight and true. In the days when draft horses were essential to heavy work, you didn't want a team that was constantly side tracked and that veered from side-to-side as their attention wandered. If they were to do that, they would wear themselves out unnecessarily and accomplish only a fraction of what they could have. The blinders are a tool used for the team's overall good.

...let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. ~Hebrews 12:1-3 NAS

Not only that, but have you ever noticed that when someone has restricted vision they are more sensitive to the sounds going on around them? I've often seen the horses' muscles quivering in readiness and their ears twitch as they listen closely for their puller's voice. They respond to his directions—both verbal and physical. When they have blinders on, they're forced to pay attention to his directions through the reins and they must listen closer to his voice.

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
~John 10:27 NAS

When we wear the blinders of focusing solely on Jesus, we can hear His voice better, even if there's a crowded, noisy grandstand around us. We're more tuned in to His hands on the reins of our life when our eyes are fixed on Christ.

Blinders aren't punishment.
Blinders are beneficial for believers. It's so easy to became sidetracked by the world around us. We need to borrow blinders off a horse to help keep our eyes fixed straight in front of us, on our Lord and Savior. On what He wants us to do.

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. ~1 Peter 1:13 NAS

I've seen horses that end up at the fences because they are focused on the wrong things. I've also seen them weave back and forth because they lacked the focus of a defined goal. The winners are those that stay the course until the end.

So tell me, 
how can we put blinders on?
Won't you join us at Living by Grace as we chat about this throughout the day?

3 comments:

  1. Excellent. Sometimes when we can't see what's going on, the big picture, we feel punished or left alone, but you are so right! Blinders are beneficial to us!

    I love when the Israelites came out of Egypt, God took them the long way because He said if they saw the giants they'd be afraid and turn back! He kept blinders on them, to build trust and to keep them looking to Him!

    Awesome!

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  2. Great post, Patty! Love the life lesson for us here. It's so important to be in tune with the Lord's voice and His hand on our lives - and in order to do so, distractions must be minimized! It takes conscious effort to put those blinders on, study God's Word so we're familiar with His voice, and stay the course He's got for us! Have a fantastically undistracted weekend! God bless!

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's SO important to "turn off" everything else and focus on Him. LOVE this analogy, and this post. SO hard for me. Thanks, Peejers.

    ReplyDelete

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