“And it's whispered that soon if we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long
And the forests will echo with laughter”
Stairway to Heaven
“The flower that follows the sun does so even in cloudy days.”
Okay, it’s time to write and to not let anything stop me. I started writing last night, but I fell asleep. Then I started writing this morning but I didn’t start early enough and then my day started. All day long I chose or was obligated to other things. I don’t regret any of my choices because I got to be with people I love. But I still want to write every day. Who’s keeping track? I am.
Already, I’m getting tired. I’d like to sleep. Not two paragraphs into it and I already want a break. This is what happened last night. I’m tired and I want to close my eyes, but I know if I do, I’m not going to get this done. I didn’t get it done last night. In The War of Art, Stephen Pressfield says that the best thing about U.S. Marines is that they know how to be miserable. He says,
The artist must be like that Marine. He has to know how to be miserable. He has to love being miserable. He has to take pride in being more miserable than any soldier, swabbie or jet jockey. Because this is war, baby. And war is hell.
Well, I’m miserable now. I do not want to write. I want to go to bed or watch TV or read comic books or do anything, anything, that will keep me from being in Purpose. This is not a new attack. I remember writing and falling asleep another time so I put Stairway to Heaven on the iPod to keep myself awake.
Maybe I’m genuinely tired. But it’s funny how I was fine just a few minutes ago and now all I want to do is sleep. When the Enemy attacks, when something is trying to keep me from Purpose, I think it comes from one of four sources:
1. Internal. This is the most common. I sabotage myself. I waste time. I make good choices but not great ones. Then when I finally get around to working I’m tired. I’m literally falling asleep as I write. Of course, I’m confident that once I finish, my fatigue will vanish, like the illusion it probably is.
2. External. This is all those outside forces, usually the people closest to us who consciously or unconsciously do whatever they can to keep us from doing what we’re supposed to be doing. Often this is unconscious. I remember hearing a story of a man who was dieting when his wife inexplicably brought home ice cream and cookies from the store. When I am sabotaging other people’s growth consciously or unconsciously, it is because I am afraid of or resentful of the other person’s growth. The fear comes from wondering if their growth will cause them to leave me. The resentment comes from not pursuing my own growth.
3. Spiritual. There is an Enemy of our soul. It hates us and it hates us most when we are in Purpose. This might be where my fatigue is coming from. It might be where unreasonable fear comes from. It might be why I start thinking about past hurts for no reason. It might be why temptations seem stronger, especially the temptation to do anything else but my work.
4. Coincidental. Sometimes, things just happen. These things keep me from being in Purpose. They are not Internal, External or Spiritual. They are just the stuff of life, such as hitting every red light when I’m trying to get home to write, or getting sick or having my kid get sick.
The one thing all of these obstacles have in common is that I can choose to respond. And there is only one acceptable response for those who wish to be in Purpose: to get back to work immediately, or as soon as humanly possible. Nothing must get in the way of our Purpose. This does not mean I neglect or ignore those I love, or my obligations, but it does mean that I have to put everything in perspective. This is the time to work. By being in Purpose, I am expressing my love not only to those closest to me, but to God, the world and myself as well.
This was a hard blog to write, but not surprisingly my fatigue is now gone. I won this battle. Tomorrow the battle will begin again and the Enemy will use a different tactic. But today I won. Because I got started and kept going.