Something about resistance

Something about resistance

Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Have you ever read something and wish that you had wrote it first? I do that all the time. I did just then when I quoted Steven Pressfield in “The War Of Art”.

The first time I tried to write something it was about motivation. It took months to begin writing and just as long to finish the task. Eventually, it took setting a deadline and waking up at 4:30am for me to overcome the resistance. It wasn’t a lack of motivation to write that stopped me, it was resistance. Second time I wrote something it was about iron warriors and powerlifting. That took me less time because there was a shorter deadline. The resistance, though, was just as strong. This time, it is easier to write about resistance because he is something with whom I’m familiar. I face him every day.

Despite facing resistance every day I don’t know him well. I mean, it’s like that guy I used to see every morning at the bus stop when I was 18. I caught the bus Monday to Friday to the train station with the same bloke yet never knew his name. Sure, we nodded politely and occasionally said a cursory “Morning” but that was it. Didn’t know the street he lived on, what he did for work or even what bus he caught on the way home. I knew it wasn’t my bus, but that was all I had. Same goes for Resistance. For all the time I have spent with him, I thought I would know him better by now. I thought that I might know where Resistance lives or where he goes each day and at night. I wonder why I don’t have a better relationship him, after all he has been with me all my life.

Resistance is my companion anytime I try to do whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable. In case you’re wondering, these are the Apostle Paul’s words:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8

Most of my life I have not particularly liked the presence of Resistance. He really is a nuisance when it’s time to get the things done that matter most. Quite often Resistance will call up some of his friends to join the party, most notably procrastination. It doesn’t matter if the thing I am planning to do is something that I love to do either, such as powerlifting. I mostly train for powerlifting in my garage with only my garden tools and Sidchrome spanners for company. I love powerlifting. I relish the feeling of hundreds of kilos in iron bearing down on me and overcoming it. I take great delight in it. But for some reason, procrastination and Resistance argue so convincingly that I believe that the middle of training is the best time to water the lawn, organise my tools on a different shelf, wax the car or take inventory of my rather impressive screwdriver collection. Please tell me I’m not the only person who does this!

But where is Resistance when I am about to speak harshly? Where is he when I’m tempted to break my diet (or the speed limit)? Where did Resistance go that time I so easily strayed down a path of jealousy and bitterness? He was nowhere to be found.

Instead, Resistance appears as if from nowhere when I feel an urge to offer an encouraging word to a stranger, pray for an acquaintance or help someone broken down by the side of the road.

What I have learned is that Resistance isn’t an enemy of truth, he’s merely a heckler. For years I’ve engaged with this heckler and listened to his mocking jibes. I did not know that he would go away as soon as I committed to action. Commitment to action is just that: acting.

A couple of weeks ago I was driving to a cafe when I saw a car broken down at a set of traffic lights. The car wasn’t in my way and all the other cars were driving straight on by. My first thought was that I should stop and help. Immediately, Resistance revealed his presence in the passenger seat of my 4WD. “But you’ll be blocking traffic. You’re only doing this to appease your ego. They’re fine – they probably have someone on the way. It’s not your problem.”

Whatever is noble, whatever is admirable.

I flipped on my hazard lights and came to a stop in the right-hand lane. Traffic was going to back up behind me. Resistance told me that I had one last chance to fall back and retreat. “Go get your coffee. You deserve it”.

Whatever is lovely.

I was immediately abandoned by my fickle friend the instant my feet hit the road. Out of my car, I was committed. Something was happening so Resistance no longer had a forum for his heckling. I pushed the car off the road and then offered the young lady along with her primary school aged son a lift to where they needed to go. I felt good about what I had accomplished, about how I helped out someone when they needed it.

For the young mum, my actions were praiseworthy and noble.

I realised then that Resistance is a lot like my cat. My cat will pounce and dart, swipe her claws at shadows as if she is the fiercest of all the lions of Africa. She parades with swagger that borders on arrogance. But she is just a cat. I pick her up. Cuddle her and treat her as she should be treated. I then go about my business.

Resistance puffs himself up, sticks out his chest and speaks as if he has some authority. Be he has none. I now treat him as he should be treated. I look at him. Smile at his now comical bluster and then turn my attention to whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable. Those things that are excellent and praiseworthy. I turn back and Resistance has wandered off to annoy someone else.

I have no doubt that he will be back tomorrow. He always seems to turn up around the same time. He doesn’t stick around as much as he used to. His visits are shorter every day. There will come a day when his visits cease altogether. That will be the most glorious day.

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