Friday, August 13, 2010

It's Trying to Kill You

There is a struggle happening inside of you. I don't know what it's about, and I don't have to, but I know it's there. There's a stupid little voice that perks up in the back of your head when you try to actually do something.

When you try to take on something of merit, when you begin a new stage of your life, when you have the potential to go beyond your current self-imposed limitations and do something of lasting importance. When you have the chance to improve someone else's life, when you have the chance to improve your own.

It doesn't always wait for such grandiose opportunities though.

This same voice is the one that stops you from addressing issues in your family. It stops you from confronting the bully at work or school. It stops you from writing, it stops you from creating art, it stops you from speaking up.

It stops you from taking risks. 

This voice or urge paralyzes you into thinking that specific issues aren't really a big deal, that you can wait it out. It tells you you're not good enough, educated enough, you lack the proper skill set, etc. Because this voice loves the status quo.

This voice isn't interested in your well being, it's only interested in self preservation. It knows that if you ignore it, plunge through whatever it's telling you to not do, that it will lose some of its power.

This urge inside you hates you.

It wants you to fail, so that it will be proven right in saying you never should have tried to do "x" in the first place. It wants to destroy you in every way. It will sabotage you at every possible turn. Give you doubts, rattle your confidence, destroy your motivation, and distract you for years...for your whole life if you let it.

This urge sucks you into consuming things that others have created, instead of making something new. It lies. It tells you that it's easier to hide the truth and not speak up than it is to face the reality in situations. It pushes you to cover things up. To cheat. To be dishonest. To be lazy. Left unchecked, this voice will wreak havoc on your life; completely debilitating you so that you wake up in the morning and mentally drift through the day with your only goal to sleep again at night.

Because to this voice, anything greater than nothing is a risk. And it can't handle the risks.

You know you've felt it. You've heard it. We all have.

Steven Pressfield calls this voice the resistance. He goes into great depth in his fantastic book, "The War of Art."

Seth Godin takes it a bit further and attaches this voice to the lizard brain. The part of our evolutionary heritage that controls our fight or flight mechanism. The most basic part of us that fears, hates, envies, gets hostile and runs away. He writes about it often at his blog and in his latest book "Linchpin."

2000 years ago, Paul referred to this voice as our sinful nature. Our flesh. That part of us which is inside of us...but is not a part of us. It is somehow separate, it is not what defines us. It is where we struggle against God's will for humanity collectively and his will for us individually. It seeks to stop us from being who we truly are; image bearers of God.

It's called plenty of other things. It has different names in different branches of psychology, philosophy and religion.

And I'd bet what it loves to do is cause us to argue about what exactly it is and where exactly it comes from.

It knows that if we're consumed with examining it, with bickering about its origins & religious or non-religious implications...instead of fighting has won.

Go fight it.

Find whatever it is this voice is stopping you from doing, whatever direction it is steering you away from...and run straight at it. Fight straight through it.

And you have to fight through it, alongside it, wrestle it into submission, because it's not going to go away quietly.

Have you felt this before? Do you hear this voice now?

Don't you dare listen to it.