“Do whatever you have to do to keep making art. I know people who love bad reviews, because it means they’ve made something happen and made people talk; I know people who have never read any of their reviews. It’s their call. You get on with making art.”
“Temptation is not to be feared, but controlled.”
“Don't let the muggles get you down.”
I just woke up from a very long nap. I have a lot of work to do if I’m going to write two more blogs and finish two more resumes. I was starting to write my second blog when I decided to take care of myself and take a nap instead. I didn’t plan on sleeping for two and a half hours though. When I woke up and went back to my computer, this voice said, (somewhat gently, somewhat accusingly) “See? You’re doing too much! You don’t need to work so hard. You should cut back. You don’t need to write so much.”
It was those last two sentences that struck me as odd. Yes, maybe I’m doing too much and working too hard. Maybe. But why does that mean I need to cut back on my work? And why does that mean that I should write less? That’s when I realized it was the voice of the Enemy, sounding very much like a friend.
Sometimes the Enemy does that. It tells me, in a seemingly sympathetic voice, to quit. It tells me to do less. It tells me it’s “worried” that I will burn myself out. Here’s what it doesn’t do:
· It doesn’t tell me to use my time better.
· It doesn’t tell me to work more efficiently or even faster.
· It doesn’t tell me ignore or avoid distractions.
· It doesn’t tell me to manage my time or health well, even during needed times of rest.
· It offers me times of rest that are ultimately not restful at all.
· It doesn’t tell me to be persistent or determined.
· It doesn’t offer me a better solution to being in Purpose other than to “take it easy.”
· It doesn’t offer me a vision for a more hopeful future unless that vision includes winning the lottery.
· It doesn’t tell me I’m doing a good job, unless the word, “but” comes next.
· It doesn’t show me how hard I’ve worked unless its goal is to get me to stop working.
The Enemy is clever, but it’s also afraid. Fear is its biggest weapon. And I am, far too often, a willing participant in its strategies. That is because I am often the Enemy. I am the one who is afraid. I am afraid that I am doing too much sometimes. And as I’m writing, I realize the exact moment this fear came.
I was sharing with a friend how excited I was that I was almost at 300 blogs. And at that very moment a negative voice whispered, “You’re doing too much.” It was the opposite of the truth. The truth is I am working hard. The Enemy, my fear, wanted to convince me I was working too hard.
There are so many ways in which we can sabotage ourselves. Here’s what I believe though:
Messages that are hurtful, negative, discouraging or damaging are lies, even if they have an element of truth to them. Messages that attack my character or my efforts are lies. Messages that want to deter or distract me from my Purpose are also lies.
In other words, I may need more rest, but I don’t need to stop working; I just need to work more efficiently. I may need better grades, but it’s not because I’m incapable; I may simply need help or better study habits. I may not use my money well, but it’s not because I’m stupid or hopeless; I may need financial counseling or a budget or to simply spend less.
The Enemy wants me to feel hopeless about my situation because it knows that despair leads to apathy, which leads to inaction. If I hear something that makes me feel bad about myself or my work, then no matter who delivered it, no matter how well-intentioned, it has its source in the Enemy.
The truth sets us free and freedom is always good, because freedom leads to joy, which leads to love, which leads to action. The Purpose of Purpose is love and love always treats me kindly, even when I’m being corrected. Love does not speak from fear. It may speak from concern. It may even speak with anger at my actions or bad choices, but it never speaks from fear. It does not condemn or accuse. It does not want to diminish me. Its goal is my growth. Its goal is to see me contribute to the world.
The goal of Purpose, of my Muse, is to see me Get Started and to Keep Going. The goal of my Purpose and of my Muse is love.