When a horse is listening to you, they’ll tip their ears back towards you, showing you that their focus is on what you’re asking them to do and not on everything that’s going on around them. When their ears are pricked forward, it means that their attention is elsewhere, probably on something blowing in the wind or a sound far away. While “happy ears” always look prettier in pictures, when you’re trying to communicate and work together with your horse, they mean that your horse is distracted by what’s going on around them. As a rider when your horse isn’t focused on you, signals get crossed and you end up communicating poorly and the joy of riding quickly evaporates; being in tune with each other is key to not just getting the job done but having fun while doing it. The horse’s ears point in the direction their focus is, and our lives do the same thing.
When our hearts are leaning towards God, searching after him and tuned to hear his voice, our lives reflect that communion. But when our focus is on the world and the shinning objects spinning around us, it is evident that our hearts are focused on everything but the voice of our Lord. As we get distracted by everything going on around us, we can quickly become wrapped up in the chaos and clutter of our own lives, causing us to deafen our ears to the calming whispers of our sweet Saviour. We begin to go wherever the wind blows, which usually lands us in the middle of a tornado. It isn’t until we are bruised and battered from chasing every hollow promise the world roared at us that we wonder how we got so far away from the throne room.
One of the ways that you can draw your horses’ attention back to what you’re asking them to do is by getting them to move their feet. As they hustle to and fro, you’ll see their ears flick back towards you as they realize that they’re not just doing whatever they want, but that they’re part of a partnership. Sometimes we have to hustle our feet until we fall back into those holy rhythms that we abandoned as we chased after the next best thing. We lose sight of the lifelines that tether us to the sustainer of life, and we get increasingly numb to movements of God.
There comes a point where we have to ask ourselves, Are my ears tipped back to listen to the soft voice of God, or am I distracted by what’s blowing in the wind? Whenever I get sidetracked by everything that’s going on around me, spending time with God is the first thing to fade away. The longer I go without communing with God, the more his voice is drowned out by the din of the world howling around me. It isn’t until I feel perfectly frayed that I even realize how far away I’ve walked from the embrace of the Father, and how vital it is to connect with him daily.
Where our attention is, there also are our hearts. So let’s incline our hearts and minds towards the only one who can fulfill and sustain us. Sure, having “happy ears” may look nicer on the outside, but having ears that are listening to the one who’s guiding us is better for our internal worlds, which then dictates our external actions. May our souls be aligned with the only voice that matters, the voice of our Saviour, because when we partner with him amazing things begin to happen.