Target Fixation

Last Sunday I took an advanced rider safety course on my motorcycle.  The bad part was I was the only girl. The good part was that my bike was the prettiest color.  The instructor bore a striking resemblance to my old (ancient) high school gym teacher, but eerily enough he was the same age as me.  After two hours it started to rain, thunder, and lightening.  In twenty minutes I felt like I had jumped in the pool with all my gear on.  I was cold, wet, and ready to go home but still had over three hours of training to go.  After that point I just have some long vague memory of rain, thunder and my high school gym teacher’s red-faced look-alike blowing his whistle, waving his arms and yelling out, ‘LOOK UP!’

You see, although most of us had optimistically signed up for the so-called advanced class which was cheaper and shorter than the beginner version, we kept making the rookie mistake of perpetually staring down at the road in front of us.  It’s a pretty common mistake in motorcycle riding.  In fact there’s a name for it:  target fixation.  If you’re riding along at a fairly nice clip and hit a road hazard you can easily dump your bike.  The typical human reaction in that case is to try to avoid the hazard by staring straight at it while thinking about how bad it would be to hit it.  But the way the physics of riding works out is that you go where you are looking and drive right in to the hazard.  Instead, you are supposed to do the more psychologically difficult thing:  look up away from the hazard and look out where you want to go.

Sometimes we make the same mistake in our life and walk with God.  It’s easy to fixate on the hazards flying toward us at 70 miles per hour.  But worrying about not doing something is often the best way to ensure that you do it.  It takes courage to look up, look away from the negative, and look out to where you want to go.

I like the way the Hebrew writer puts it.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 11:2-3)

On a final note, I somehow managed to pass the test, in spite of crossing multiple lines of the impossibly small blue rectangle that I was bewilderingly expected to be able to do a figure 8 inside.  I didn’t get struck by lightening and my license is in the mail.


2 thoughts on “Target Fixation

  1. I have taken the same kind-of course … and was rained on as well. Does anyone ever get through one of those without rain? 🙂

    I just read a book that talked about this concept a lot. The man is a race car driver and he is constantly reminding us that … you go where you are looking.

    I raced dirt bikes and would always look at my front tire when making sharp turns. Needless to say I would slow almost to a stand still on each one. This is when I really learned about target fixation. I had to learn to look ahead and trust that the bike was going to end up there.

    There are so many analogies to be made with this. Fixing our eyes on Jesus is the most important. He will make our paths straight if we do.

    Thanks for the reminder once again.


  2. Thank you for reading and commenting here. It’s an honor for us.
    How cool that you raced dirt bikes!
    It does take letting go, giving over, trusting, and finding peace to look up to Jesus.
    Lately I’ve been stuck on Jennifer Knapp’s song: Peace.
    It’s worth a listen.


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