In a counseling session this past summer, we were observing a beautiful horse named Grandy.
Grandy, in her last few weeks of pregnancy was kept inside to monitor her progress. As we passed by her pen in the barn, she pawed at the gate, snorted loudly, and pushed her head over the railing as far as she could showing us, in the best way she knew how, that she was tired of being inside.
We put the halter on, attached the lead rope, and opened the fence; she walked out of the barn freely and confidently into the sun. You could almost feel her relief as her ears perked up. She looked around, sighed, and bent down for a snack on a tuft of summer sweet grass.
We walked with her to an open field to spend time brushing her, getting to know her, and discussing therapeutic things. My client had formed an attachment to this horse and being around her had a calming effect.
About five minutes into our session, noises started coming from the barn where the other pregnant horses were staying. Horses are pack animals and are frequently troubled when one or more is removed from their group. Suddenly, our relaxed sunshine beauty called back to the horse in barn and started pacing back and forth at the gate. As soon as Grandy became aware that her peer was still back in the barn, she completely forgot to acknowledge the splendor of the field around her and the freedom before her.
In a luscious field of about 15 acres, she stayed within a radius of 1/2 an acre the entire hour. Bound by her own self-imposed restrictions of needing to be close to the gate, all because she thought there was something better on the other side. She quickly forgot how much she longed to be free when something from the other side caught her attention.
Like a voice from the past calling her back into the shadows.
We noticed after a while that there was an apple tree behind her replete with hundreds of ripe apples. My client found a suitable one off the ground and offered it to Grandy. She greedily took the sweet treat and went back to intermittently pacing the gate and grazing the grass.
We watched in astonishment. That sweet treat, coming from only a few feet away, was one of many little gifts just sitting in the grass and hanging over the fence. Yet, Grandy was still preoccupied with the voice from the barn.
"I don't know how she missed it!" gawked my client.
We were all wondering the same thing. How was it that the horse was so content on 1) paying attention to her friends still in the barn and 2) grazing in the grass that she completely missed out on the tree full of apples right behind her?
As we were standing there, amazed at the naivety of the horse, Holy Spirit spoke to me. "How do you miss it? How do you miss the gifts laid out before you every single day? How do you miss the journey I'm trying to take you on?"
Feeling convicted, I realized this horse was a picture not only useful to my client, but to myself and almost everyone I know as well.
How often do we settle to stay within our 1/2 acre of understanding because we're too afraid to venture off too far from our friends? How often do we stay content with eating grass when there is an apple tree nearby?
For me, this looks like lack of discipline. Since summer started, I have had a deep desire to go slow. To make my life matter for the time I have. I want to be intentional; I want to be productive and creative. Then I find myself nose in my phone or head on the pillow way too long. Lack of discipline is stealing my time. And I'm missing it. I'm missing the opportunity before me to dive deeper into the waters that have been set before me.
What does it look like for you? How are you missing it?