Behind the Wheel of a Red Ford Escort – part five

Don’t focus on the oncoming traffic

So the driving lessons are continuing and my growth was very evident. I had learned to keep my eyes on the road, look ahead to where I was going, look further down the road, and then I came to the last lesson – don’t focus on the oncoming traffic.

I had applied all the lessons my Dad had taught me, and all my siblings and parents were surviving, but every once and awhile a mild case of distraction would emerge. My eyes were on the road, but when I looked at the vehicles coming my way they would somehow captivate my vision, my eyes would wander from the black pavement to the bright lights on the horizon. The lights were mesmerizing, they danced upon the horizon and would undulate with the profile of the road, but what I did not know was the more my eyes were on the oncoming vehicles the more the vehicle would stray towards them. A little distraction had the potential of a deadly result. His advice was simple do not get distracted. Distractions can be deadly.

This lesson carries a profound application to our lives. Distractions are what they are; something that takes your attraction from your goal to something that is not your goal. On the road of life we all face oncoming traffic, not having it distract you is important. Focus on the things on the road ahead of you, not the vehicles going the opposite direction.

In Numbers 14 there is the account of the twelve spies that went in to the Promise Land to spy it out and give a report. Ten spies saw the problems, while Joshua and Caleb saw the promises. Joshua and Caleb were focusing on the road ahead of them, while the other ten spies saw distractions which ultimately prevented the whole nation of Israel from entering the promised land. A few points that I see from this story will help you in dealing with distractions:

  • focus your eyes forward, where you are going
  • oncoming traffic is not going with you, but against you
  • don’t waste your energy on things that detract you from your goal
  • distractions will come, assess them, address them and then move on (to the point of ignoring them)

Don’t let distractions deter you from your goal. Do not become sidetracked by pesky things which will not help you reach your objectives


Assess, address, progress

No distractions


Behind the Wheel of a Red Ford Escort – part four

Look further down the road

With all the lessons and learning I was doing I must have been progressing, because I was able to drive more; in fact I even had precious cargo in the vehicle with me at times (my mom, dad, and brothers). As I took the initial instructions to heart there were more lessons to be learned, this moves me to the next lesson ‘you must look further ahead than your immediate location when driving’.

The impetus for this lesson was simple; my driving, while improving, became a battle of trying to drive smoothly within the painted boundaries of the road. I was learning to focus, but my vision and skills needed more refinement. Have you seen the bowling ball careening down the gutter bouncing from one side to the other? I needed more instruction.


My dad explained to me that as I looked further ahead down the road my driving would become smoother and not so erratic. I took his explanation to heart, I looked further down the road fixing my eyes on the vehicles or the road well ahead of me and not the painted lines of the road immediately ahead of me. The ride became smoother, motion sickness subsided and the drive became more enjoyable. Simple. Profound.

My thought today is that in life we can focus so intently on the issues and necessities directly in front of our eyelids that we end up bouncing around erratically. We are going in the right direction, but we are not  smooth, we are unpredictable. If we take but a moment to assess our goals, focus and vision and pick a target further down the road we will find that our lives are not so bumpy. We will start to drive more smoothly and efficiently. Less time will be spent righting the ship and more time will be spent on effective progress. Other people will recognize the difference too.

How you do this is by setting a long term goal; something further down the road than next week. Look ahead in life and have a clear picture of where you are going. When you do this many of the bumps will be smoothed out.

In Habakkuk 2:2&3 God says to record the vision (what you see), so the one who reads it will run (move forward effectively). Your vision is for an appointed time (further ahead of you, than where you are now). Your vision moves you toward the goal, and it will not fail.

See your future, then go there.

Looking further down the road,





Behind the Wheel of a Red Ford Escort (part three)

You go where you are looking

 So I have my ‘Learners permit’, have driven out of the parking lot, learned the importance of ‘keeping my eyes on the road’; what else did I need to learn? I was set. As I steadied myself and the mass of metal on the road his wise words continued ‘look where you are going, because you go where you are looking’. I did not understand this at first, of course I am looking where I am going,  but then he gave me a simple example without me even knowing it; man he is smart.

My dad is ‘old school’ as people would say (I think I am ‘old school’ now but that is a discussion for another time), he had a difficult time with young people getting into a vehicle and the first thing they did was set the radio to the correct music station crank up the tunes and then get distracted…there were going to be no distractions for me. So when we were on a stretch of road where the possibility of loss of life, limb and accident was nil he asked me to turn the radio on. My first action was to look down to the radio; hoping it was on a music station and not talk radio. I finally found the on/off button, turned it on, and proceeded to change the station hoping to find some Air Supply or ABBA, and then I cranked up the volume . Well the car behaved in a similar manner, my one hand with firm control of the steering wheel swerved, the vehicles trajectory changed and I was quickly going where I was looking – off the road.

My dad stopped the exercise fairly quickly (his self preservation skills are massive), righted the moving projectile and explained his lesson. When I took my eyes off the road (lesson one) and looked elsewhere I ended up going elsewhere (lesson two). He then further explained that even when driving if my eyes (focus) were distracted and looking somewhere else, somewhere they should not be looking, the vehicle would be sure to follow. The vehicle goes where I am looking. Simple. Profound.

In life we have the same realizations. We go where we look. Positioning our life is not enough. We can have the right ideas, the proper motivation, the most noble of intentions, but if we are looking elsewhere we will go elsewhere. We go where we are looking.

Whatever captures your eyes, directs your feet.

Looking forward, onward, upward,


Behind the wheel of a red Ford Escort – part two

Keep Your Eyes on the Road

 So I turned 16, dragged my Dad to the drivers test, passed (on my second try – sometimes greatness needs a second chance) and walked out the doors with the world bracing for a new driving terror. I switched from riding shotgun to being in command of 4 wheels and 75 horsepower of bridled and regulated power. This was pretty cool and freaky all at the same time. Cool because I was moving up to another stage in life, growing up, becoming the master of a large hunk of metal. Freaky (although I would not have admitted it at the time) because I was now in control of something with more power than myself. Freaky because the possibility of safety and carnage now rested in my feet and hands. Freaky because I had never done this before. I actually was in a cold sweat.

As we pulled out of the parking lot and started down the road the advice and wisdom started to flow from my Dad’s heart; probably out of his desire for self-preservation. He noticed that I was jerky, tentative, almost paralyzed by all the activity around me. For years I had sat beside him in the passenger seat and never had these emotions going thru my mind; somehow by changing positions and taking the wheel I now was experiencing them.

His first instruction on this road of life: ‘keep your eyes on the road’, focus on the road in front of you David. The first rule he taught me was so simple but so profound, keep your eyes on the road. He instructed me that if I kept my eyes on the road the vehicle would follow. If I kept my eyes on the road I would see what was before me and I would be able to respond. My first and foremost instruction was to keep my eyes on the road, focus on what lay ahead. Simple. Profound.

Simple because it did not involve 16 maneuvers. Simple because it was not complicated. Simple because it was a means of survival. Simple, focus, keep your eyes on the road.

Profound because the control of the vehicle was connected with what I was looking at. Profound because so many possibilities could be reconciled by keeping my focus. Profound because all the questions I had seemed to find answers by keeping my eyes on the road. Profound, focus, keep your eyes on the road.

When we keep our eyes on the road many of the simple (and difficult) things in life are corrected and put into perspective, our survival rate greatly increases. Much of the control of our future, the questions about tomorrow, the myriad of possibilities, and concern for what happens next are seen by keeping our eyes on the road.

Simple. Profound.

Maintain your focus, maintain your life.

Keeping my eyes on the road.

Behind the wheel of a red Ford Escort.

When I turned 16 my Dad taught me how to drive. He gave me lots of pointers: ‘gas pedal is on the right, brake is on the left (I learned to drive an automatic, not a manual transmission).  Make sure your foot is on the brake when you shift into gear.  Look both ways before you proceed thru an intersection. Never start the car while it is in gear.   Make sure you check your fuel gage – do you have enough gas to get where you are going?   Don’t eat while you are driving.  Don’t have the music too loud (in fact driving with no music was preferred).  Don’t talk too much.  Keep both hands on the steering wheel.  Don’t look at girls while driving.’  The list was endless! Cell phones were not around back then, otherwise I am sure I would have been banned from having one to prevent me from texting and talking, but one of the most important lessons he taught me was about focus.  ‘David, what are you looking at, what are you focusing on?’  This was a question that my dad frequently asked!

Over the next few days I will be posting some of the lessons I learned while sitting behind the wheel of a red Ford Escort. The lessons while in a vehicle have many truths and applications in life. My hope is that you will read, learn, grow, laugh, and apply.

I look forward to reading your comments.

Enjoy the drive -david


This is the home of my new blog.  I am excited to share this new experience with you.  Please be patient with me as I am new to blogging. – David