When I rediscovered cycling a number of years ago, I bounced over every rock and slipped into each crack on the road. Such ineptness is rather troublesome when you ride on skinny tires at high rates of speed. The impression I made on my riding buddies was immediate – they left a rather large “no ride zone” around me.
The problem was that once I saw the impending hazard I focused on it. I thought about the obstacle and even thought about avoiding it but I kept looking at the rock – inevitably colliding with it.
Fortunately my driving instructor’s wisdom came back to me – “you will steer toward what you are looking at.” I also recalled my dad’s early driving advice, “WATCH WHERE YOU ARE GOING!” (My dad’s delivery wasn’t so calm as the driving instructor’s).
Now when I see a rock, branch or any obstacle, I change my focus to where I want to go. I look to the side of the rock where I want my tire to go rather than at the rock.
My focus determines my direction. When my focus is on obstacles, troubles or any difficulty in life, I tend to hit them and get knocked around. I become discouraged, anxious or frantically try to control the circumstances usually making matters worse.
Instead, once I recognize the coming danger I can intentionally focus on where I want to go and the person I want to be rather than concentrate on the problem.Focusing on where I want to be and whom I want to be rather than the obstacle moves me past the problem.
This reminds me of courageous Peter and his walk on the water with Jesus. Things were going so well “. . . but seeing the wind, he became frightened . . .” (Matthew 14:28-33). The obstacles, the circumstances, the troubles became his focus instead of who he wanted to be with. Hannah Moore, a friend of John Newton and William Wilberforce, puts it this way, “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.”
Remember your focus determines your direction. Where do you want to go? Who do you want to be? Who do you want to be with? What are you focusing on today?