Josh Irby

Live from Sarajevo

Resistance, Your Greatest Enemy

If you believe in God (and I do) you must declare Resistance evil, for it prevents us from achieving the life God intended when He endowed each of us with our own unique genius.
Steven Pressfield, The War of Art 

Blame shifting is one of my talents. There are few bad situations I cannot pin on someone or something else. For years I practiced and developed this skill. Turns out I was only making it easier for my true enemy to thrive, free from watchful eyes.

People are not to blame. They are gifts from God.
Circumstances are not to blame. They are opportunities.
Time is not to blame. I have just enough of it.

The blame lies closer than that—between my ears and behind my ribs. It is Resistance and it lives in and feeds on me.

I found this on a wall in Sarajevo (resist correct spelling!)

I found this on a wall in Sarajevo (resist correct spelling!)

What is Resistance?

reŸsistŸance | ri’zistəns |

the impeding, slowing, or stopping effect exerted by one material thing on another

the degree to which a substance or device opposes the passage of an electric current, causing energy dissipation

Scientifically speaking, resistance is the stopping or slowing down of one material thing by another. 

Air resistance, for example, is the force exerted by the air on a car, airplane, or train traveling at high speeds. Designers spend years modeling planes and cars to reduce the amount of air resistance. Each small advance opens the way for speedier and more fuel-efficient travel.

[That’s why electric cars look so strange. The manufacturer, trying to make the cars as aerodynamic (i.e. as little air resistance) as possible, cover the wheelbases with plastic.]

Electrical resistance is another example. In college, I took a laboratory class on electromagnetism. (The teaching assistant was an orthodox Jew, complete with ear ringlets and prayer tassels. My lab partner was a Pakistani Muslim with white flowing gown. But that is beside the point.) For a semester we played with electric current—transistors, capacitors, inductors and resistors. In a circuit, a resistor slows down the electric current and releases energy. The strength of the resistor is measured as its resistance.

Whether in the air, on the road, or in your computer, resistance is a force that slows, impedes and stops movement.

Resistor by Bruno Morais (Creative Commons)

Resistor by Bruno Morais (Creative Commons)

What is Resistance for me?

Resistance is not a peripheral opponent. Resistance arises from within. It is self-generated and self-perpetuated. Resistance is the enemy within.
Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

When you sit down to write, when you set your alarm to wake up and work out, when you try to make a change in your life, when you start a project to improve a community, Resistance is there. It lurks. It impedes. It resists.

Perhaps we can define Resistance this way:

reŸsistŸance | ri’zistəns |

the force that impedes, slows, and stops us from doing what were created to do

that which opposes us and causes a loss of energy and momentum

This is why Resistance is our greatest enemy.

Paul, the apostle of Biblical fame and perhaps the most read author of all time, understood Resistance. In one of his letters he writes, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate . . . I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”

Sound familiar?

Paul calls this force “sin dwelling within me” and “evil lying close at hand.”
Pressfield calls it “evil” and “the enemy within.”
It also goes by the name Resistance.

Until we point the finger where the finger should be pointed, we will never be able to change, to grow, to improve. The force is too strong. But there is hope.

Fight the Resistance

There is a parable I heard from author and speaker Tim Elmore about an Eskimo girl. She was struggling in school and constantly getting into trouble. A teacher pulled her aside for a talk.

“Why do you keep doing this to yourself, making trouble and pushing people away?” the teacher asked.

“I don’t know,” the girl replied eyeing the classroom floor. “Sometimes I just can’t control myself. It feels like there are two big dogs fighting inside of me. One wants me to do good and the other wants me to do wrong. I am scared, because I don’t know which one will win.”

The teacher placed her hand on the student’s shoulder. “I know which one will win.”

The girl lifted her sad eyes in surprise. “Which one?”

“Whichever one you feed.”

Photo by Circa Sassy (Creative Commons)

Photo by Circa Sassy (Creative Commons)

The war rages; fangs and claws rip the air. In this battle, there are no conscientious objectors. You fight or you lose.

Paul understood this. He ends his introspection with the words of one caught up in a bloody war: “Who will deliver for from this body of death?”

Then, he answers his own question: “Thanks be to God.”

The problem may be inside of us, but the solution is outside of us. We can choose who to listen to. We can chose which dog to feed. We can choose to blame or battle, fake or fight, give in or grow. We can choose to fight the resistance in concert with our Creator.

What choice will you make today?

[I somehow managed to set up an exclusive interview with Resistance. Look for that next week.]

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