The Unlived Life (The Sacrament of This Present Moment)

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.” – Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

The life we live can be pretty mundane. It consists of chores, duties, and things we’ve got to do. In this life are people with flaws, including the writer and reader of these words. The life we live is far from perfect and on some level, we need to learn to settle for it. It’s the reality God has given us.

But there’s an unlived life too. It’s represented by the whining voice inside me that makes excuses and points fingers. The unlived life is the life of calling, of dreams, of heroic overcoming.

I become the prisoner of the life I live when I mope. When I beat myself up over failures and flaws I pour cement into the bucket I stand in. “Resistance” is that knot in my stomach that keeps me from trying. It’s the voice that says, “You? You’ve got to be kidding.” This paralyzing self-doubt, this uninvited guest, opposes every opportunity for significant achievement I am presented.

Tell me…

Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Ever quit a diet, a course of yoga, a meditation practice? Have you ever bailed out on a call to embark upon a spiritual practice, dedicate yourself to a humanitarian calling, commit your life to the service of others? Have you ever wanted to be a mother, a doctor, an advocate for the weak and helpless; to run for office, crusade for the planet, campaign for world peace, or to preserve the environment? Late at night have you experienced a vision of the person you might become, the work you could accomplish, the realized being you were meant to be? Are you a writer who doesn’t write, a painter who doesn’t paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what Resistance is. – Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

Resistance isn’t going anywhere soon. Not without a fight. And never once-and-for-all. The unlived life you yearn for must be lived right where you are, with the relationships and realities that are your portion. But it’s HOW you live that makes the difference. It’s when you embrace the vision of the person you could become and the work you are called to accomplish.

Since 2007, when I almost died, I’ve heard the voice calling me to more. I have answered, “Here I am” but it’s an on-going battle. Have you heard this call? Have you answered, “Yes”?

This morning, I awoke with that sense of dread again. It was Resistance sitting at my bedside, trying to unnerve me before the day even got started. There was no logical reason for me to feel defeated right out of the shoot. It’s just the enemy within leading with a haymaker at the sound of the bell. What could I do?

I got on my knees and gave the day to God.

It wasn’t much of a prayer. Just a cry for help, for rescue from the clutches of self-sabotage. I just said, “Yes” and gave the day back to God. “Your will be done,” I said. It was surrender at daybreak. I gave up before I’d even gotten to my feet.

Then I sat down for coffee with my mom. We had a little breakfast, then I got ready and went out the door. I walked down to a coffee shop to write and I’m doing that now. Later today, Bonnie will fly in. Could it get any better?

No, it can’t. But it can get worse if I let Resistance have its way. The glory of God is a man fully alive. I’ll be that man.

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