i bought a book called the war of art, by steven pressfield because i read on donald miller’s blog that he loved it. i love donald miller and i assume i’ll love what he loves. donald calls it one of his favourite books on writing ever written: i have to agree. but it’s so much more than writing. it’s a book about life. i read it in a day this past week and i haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.
within the first few pages of the book, we are introduced to this concept of the Resistance. not a new concept to me, having previously read linchpin by seth godin [as mentioned in this blog post] however, pressfield expands upon this idea in much greater detail.
the opening paragraph is as follows, “most of us have two lives. the life we live, and the unlived life within us. between the two stands Resistance.” pressfield continues on the next page, “to yield to Resistance deforms our spirit. It stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be. If you believe in God you must declare Resistance evil, for it prevents us from achieving the life God intended when He endowed each of us with our own unique genius.”
the war of art is a short book, an easy read at only one hundred and fifty pages. there are some concepts in the book i do not agree with including all the mumbo-jumbo about “muses” whispering into our ear and such. pressfield is a theist–not a Christian, so he & i differ on quite a few things. that being said, this book was an eye-opener.
i believe in a God, who has given us unique gifts and talents and abilities. He has our days written in His book, knows what person would be best for us to marry, what career we would flourish most in, where we should live for which seasons of our lives, which challenges He should bring along to refine us. He knows it all. He knows what you were created to do. and i believe He’s already spoken it to you.
i’m learning more everyday about what i was created to do. when you find something doing something you were not created to do [wasting time, employed in a job you’re not passionate about, spending time with people that drag you down, staying silent about the things you believe in] think about the Resistance. why are you letting ____ stand in your way of what you truly want to do which is ______? this will take some thought.
i see this in my business, in my writing, in my time-management. i don’t like it. but when i can recognize those times as Resistance, it makes me excited, because i have a choice. i was on my way home from the studio the other day. i was tired: i was up too early, working too hard, my hoodie and yoga pants were calling me from the couch in my bedroom. i drove to the gym, arguing with myself the whole way, it’s only one workout. you can skip it. NO! i will get on that treadmill and that elliptical and i will prove to myself, prove to this Resistance that this is going to take thirty minutes out of my day and push me closer to health: what i was created for. felt so wonderful afterwards. :)
i was rocked when i took this concept one step further, applying these ideas into my Christian walk. i am a Christian. i believe in Jesus and i believe that He has saved my soul and i’m spending eternity in Heaven. i know that my sole purpose on this Earth is to tell people about Jesus’ saving grace. yep. sole purpose. okay, so if you’re tracking with me, that is the work i was created to do. therefore, anything that stands in between the life i’m living NOW [assumedly wasting time and not sharing the gospel] and the life i want to live [unashamedly sharing about my faith verbally on a daily basis] is RESISTANCE.
this Resistance [which Pressfield so aptly calls evil in the first chapter] is killing my purpose in this life. this Resistance causes me to procrastinate on telling that person about my faith, asking that friend about Jesus, going out of my way to avoid someone because really… my to-do list today needs to be accomplished. one page, titled “Resistance and Rationalization, Part Two” made me think. to summarize, Resistance is fear. and we try to rationalize our way out of those fears: reasons why we shouldn’t act. the worst thing is, we’re smart and often these rationalizations make sense. personal example: some people will think i’m nuts when i talk about Jesus. that’s truth. that’s also me rationalizing as to why i shouldn’t talk about Him. dangit! i want to overcome this Resistance. i see men like carl lentz, judah smith, richie wilkerson jr: they’ve overcome this Resistance [with the help of the Lord, of course.] they tell anybody who sits beside ’em about their faith. i want to do that.
i’ve had conversations with my family before about this and it always come up, “some people have a gift of evangelism.” and it’s true, sure, i believe some have an exceptional gift and that men like carl, judah and richie could have this gift. however. i’m not convinced of it. they are men with fear, just like you and i. i think these are THREE men who have stood up and said, screw resistance and not standing up to what God has called the church to be. ordinary men stepping up to an exceptional purpose. — if you’re not a Christian, i hope you can see how this would still apply to your life and whatever message you feel passionate about sharing.
the last page of the book kills me. SO GOOD:
are you a born writer? were you put on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? in the end the question can only be answered by action. do it or don’t do it… if you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony… and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself… you hurt your children. you hurt me. you hurt the planet.
you shame the angels who watch over you and you spite the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimetre farther along its path back to God.
creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. it’s a gift to the world and every being in it. don’t cheat us of your contribution. give us what you’ve got.
[i never say that, i just didn’t know what else to say. i feel like standing up on a stage with a microphone somewhere and preaching my face off. this is so good.]
ps. all excerpts are from “the war of art” by steven pressfield and i recommend you buy it & ignore everything about muses. hahah!