Resisting Resistance

I consider myself to be a pretty motivated guy. My problem is that occasionally (ahem!) my motivation gets sidetracked by other things. We live in a distracting world, and I live a distracted life. As a pastor, professor, and writer, I find myself pulled in every direction of the wind on an almost daily basis. I’ve got people to visit, classes to teach, a day school with which to connect, services to plan, and writing to do. Lots of writing to do.

I write newsletter articles, bulletin announcements, lesson plans, devotions, church email announcements, and sermons. As I always say, “Sundays never stop coming.” That means I find myself staring at a blank document on a computer screen weekly as I prepare to write about the text I have studied, the background I have gone over, the central theme I have deduced, and the illustrations I think will fit.

Have you ever tried to write something creative, thoughtful, memorable, and faithful every single week? It’s no easy task. It takes thorough background study, a unique “take,” a free-flowing outline, solid theology, and motivation. Lots of motivation.

I recently read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. In the book I discovered something that I had suspected all along. I discovered something with which I had been battling all along. Pressfield named it for me and described it for me. The enemy with whom I have been battling much of my adult life is named Resistance.

Pressfield says:

Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic?…Have you ever wanted to be a mother, a doctor, an advocate for the weak and helpless; to run for office, crusade for the planet, campaign for world peace, or to preserve the environment? Late at night have you experienced a vision of the person you might become, the work you could accomplish, the realized being you were meant to be? Are you a writer who doesn’t write, a painter who doesn’t paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what Resistance is. (The War of Art)

I’ll let you read for yourself Pressfield’s remedy to overcoming Resistance. But one of the things in the book that really struck me was the sentence, “No matter what, I will never let Resistance beat me.”

I am ultra-competitive by nature, and those are “fightin’ words.” I will never let Resistance beat me!

Yesterday it almost did. Every Friday night my wife and I go out somewhere for dinner. After a difficult week of work we enjoy a relaxing evening trying one of Milwaukee’s awesome restaurants, or an evening with friends, or a local wine bar that has Milwaukee’s finest selection. We look forward to it all week.

Yesterday afternoon I was working on my sermon for this coming Sunday, and it just wasn’t flowing. I was having a hard time getting more than three sentences down on the page. It was now almost 4 p.m. and I wasn’t getting anywhere. I said to my wife, “Are you ready to go somewhere?” She asked me if my sermon was finished, knowing full well that if I don’t get it finished by Friday, I’m a very unhappy and crabby person on Saturday morning.

Tammy told me gently, but firmly, to get my sermon finished. Ah, Resistance. You bitter, bitter enemy. You almost snuck one in there.

But when two battle against you, you will never win! Suddenly I had motivation. My sermon seemd to flow. I looked at the clock when I was finished and it was 6:01 p.m. Victory!

My reward? A wonderful evening out with my wife. A free Saturday morning. A sermon that is finished with creativity and textual faithfulness. A message that will be “shipped” Sunday morning.

A partner in the battle against Resistance is a good thing.

What do you do to battle Resistance?

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