Lessons from Life
Weekly Message
  • In January, 2004, the "One Minute Message" was renamed "Lessons from Life".

    "I believe this new name will be more descriptive of this message, and more in keeping with its mission and purpose. I hope you find it to be an encouragement in your life!"     - Randall Vaughn

Title:   The Power of a Ditch
By Randall Vaughn

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.  Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.  Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.  Do not swerve to the right or the left;" (Prov 4:23,25-27a)

Cycling (riding bicycles) has been an enjoyable physical activity for me over the years.

I have learned quite a few important lessons from riding, not just for cycling, but for life as well.  Not the least of which, is that when you are going downhill fast, the ground is HARD if you hit it.  The fall hurts!  (That is obvious, but it applies to life as well as to bikes.)

One of the most important lessons I have learned from cycling (and I learned it the hard way!) is that ditches are magnetic!  Just ask any bike rider!  They seem to have a "pull" that will attract you to them and "pull" you into them!

As you are riding, and a ditch is by the side of the road, you tend to look at the ditch to make sure that you do not get too close.  That is when you begin to feel the "pull".  As you get closer, the "pull" becomes stronger.  Regardless of how hard you try to ease away from the ditch, you seem to be "pulled" even closer.  Eventually, unless you make a drastic move, you will be "pulled" in.

I wondered for years why this happened.  Then, I had a "B.G.O.".  (That is, a "Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious".)

As you look at the ditch, your attention is focused there.  The "bottom line" is that you will go where you are looking.

That is why it feels as though you are being "pulled" into the ditch.  You are looking there.  Your attention is focused there.  The more you look to make sure that you do not go into the ditch, the more you seem to be "pulled" into the ditch.

The ditch doesn't really have any power.  It doesn't really have any ability to "pull".  The only power it APPEARS to have is the power you have given it because of where you are looking.

The same is true of life.

So, how do you avoid the ditch's "pull"?

You have to do something completely unnatural.  You have to "override" your natural instincts and responses.  You have to look AWAY from the ditch.

When I find myself on the edge of a ditch while riding, I force myself to look about three feet to the "safe" side.  It goes against every natural instinct I have as a rider, but it works.  It doesn't happen by accident.  I have to concentrate.  I have to intentionally look away from where I am, and look to where I want to be (which, at that moment, is away from the ditch!).

Life is no different. 

Regardless of how strong you think you are, you will eventually be "pulled" to where you are looking.

If you are "on the edge" right now, force yourself to do something completely unnatural.  Look away.

Do not look at where you are.  Look to where you want to be. 

Do not allow anything to distract your attention from that place.  Concentrate.  Focus.  "Fix" yourself there.

David said in Psalm 57:7:

"My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise."

What if you have already "crashed"

Do not despair.  God is there, waiting for you to look to Him and allow Him to repair your "bike" (your life) and get you back up and riding again.

Where is your heart fixed, focused, concentrated, and looking?  Like a rider, if you look at the "ditch" of life, you will go there (especially if you are already on a downhill grade).

If life feels as though it is getting out of control, do something unnatural and unexpected.  


Just as you would on a bike, apply the "brakes", stop, and turn your life to another direction.

Likely, it will not be easy.  You may have to go back up the hill you just came down.  It may be tough going.  It may be a slow trek back.  But is is worth it.  You are worth it.

Remember, the "ditch" has no power but what you give it by where you are looking.

Make your choice.  Look not to where you are now, but to where you want to be.

God is already there.  He is waiting on you.

G. Randall Vaughn

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"Lessons from Life" ™ is written by Randall Vaughn
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