Lately, I have been reading the book, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. This a phenomenal book for anyone involved in the creative arts. I would actually recommend it to anyone still breathing, as it can applied to any aspect of life.
The main premise of the book is that we were created to create, and something in this world, Pressfield calls it resistance, doesn’t want us to do so. “Resistance’s goal is not to wound or disable. Resistance aims to kill. Its target is the epicenter of our being: our genius, our soul, the unique, priceless gift that we were put on this earth to give and that no one but us has. Resistance means business. When we fight resistance, it is a war to the death.”
One thing that I like about the book is that Pressfield speaks a vital truth, without jamming any one particular brand of religion down his reader’s throats. I also like that this book points the finger at resistance (or satan, if you will), and basically declares, “no more”. This book made me realize that resistance isn’t just keeping me from writing a book; it’s keeping me from living. And ultimately, not living will kill you, biology teaches us that that which stagnates, dies.
Resistance is everywhere; it seeks to destroy beauty and creativity. We face resistance in everything from getting up in the morning, to going to work, to our relationships. Resistance is what kept me for writing for so long. In my case resistance came as the excuse that everyone and their mom wants to get published, and who am I to think that I am good enough to get published. But the dream remained. Resistance can only deter you; it cannot kill the spark that makes you who you are, although it will try.
Pressfield also says: “The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew everyday”.
I forget this point a lot, especially when I’m in china. It is so easy to think “okay I defeated resistance yesterday and now we’re all good”. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. I have to center myself every morning, put on the armor, and be ready for today’s fight, or else I will get blindsided by something as simple as the lack of courtesy people tend to exhibit on a daily basis here in China (I am from Nebraska, we are raised to say “please”,” thank-you”, and “excuse me”, and to wait our turn). I tend to let little things ruin my day, and until recently I could never figure out why. Resistance. Resistance will try to get you to focus on the small and take your eyes off the larger plan at play.
The conclusion that I have come to in all this Is that we have two choices we can make the effort and daily go to war against resistance or we can lay down and die. I believe it was Aristotle who said, “Only the dead have seen the end of war”. This statement is true in our physical lives, but it is profoundly more so in our spiritual lives. If you don’t feel some sort of resistance on a daily basis, and this resistance doesn’t have to be big (like waking up and wanting a divorce, or wanting to commit acts of terror), it can be small and subtle (like not wanting to get out of bed, or being in a bad mood, or wanting to skip your workout), you are already dead inside.
What it looks likes to fight this battle differs from person to person, for me it has taken a lot of active prayer and the decision to do those things that I don’t want to do. And I think that is the key to winning this fight, not making any deals with our enemy when it comes to the little things.
In the end it comes down to whether we are more determined to live than our enemy is determined to destroy us. We have to make the most of this time; we have to create in spite of the resistance.