Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Arch Enemy: Resistance

Reminder: new segment on Friday!

There is a struggle, deep within me (and most people, I'm sure) to balance my desire to express myself in various ways. I love to write, to sing, to dance. I love to create. Yet I get excited one moment, thrilled at the thought of taking part in one of these things, then something inside me takes great pleasure at distracting me from actually carrying any of those plans out.

One of my dear friends, Kimberly VanderHorst, shared a quote with me from the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I was so impressed that I sent away through interlibrary loan and read this masterpiece in a couple of hours. Many times, while reading, I wondered how the author got into my head. I would combine his definition of "Resistance" (he capitalizes the word) with my own understanding on how Satan works against us to distract us from our potential. I'll share a quote with you from the book that really touched me:

"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.

It may help to think of it this way. If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don't do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy 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 millimeter 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."

Now, I do think that our main purpose is getting ourselves back to God, but we're supposed to help others on their way, so I think that was an interesting way of putting his views. But this quote and the rest of the book helped me to realize that my creative work isn't just benefiting me. We should be doing what we love and sharing it with others. Satan would have us think this is prideful, but when we come to our work with a sense of humility and remembering where our gifts come from, it is the right thing to do--to share ourselves with others in this way. This also helps me remember where those feelings of discouragement and distraction come from. 

Now, if it's not too late, I'm going to submit another chapter to my critique group. You know, overcoming resistance and all that polka--I mean, jazz.

(I do have to give a word of warning--Steven uses a couple of heavy swear words in the book a few times. I find that interesting since he also talks about God and angels!)


Kimberly said...

This? Is brilliant. And not just because you're quoting a book I've come to adore, and used one of my favourite quotes from it to boot.

After reading this post? I want to write. =)

Luisa Perkins said...

It's a fantastic book, isn't it? I re-read it often.

I *do* wish there were a PG version, though. :)

Angie said...

That's awesome! Thanks for sharing, Rebecca.