What do you want? I was forced to ask myself those questions recently while I was reading “Resisting Happiness” by Matthew Kelly. I wrote them down as instructed and then stared at them. I sat deep in thought for awhile. This book is about resistance. Specifically that when you choose to exercise the muscle of resistance, we put up a barrier between ourselves and our happiness. Aka the things we want.
What was stopping me from all the things I listed that I wanted? Me. WHAT! The door to them is not locked. The only reason I don’t have them is me. I am my biggest barrier. Sad, but true.
Whenever I talk to someone who is thinking about quitting drinking, I ask the question: What do you want more than anything? The short answer is to stop drinking. The long answer is to feel better, get along with my family (to name just a few.) Then what is stopping you? No one is pouring it down your throat. No one is driving you to the liquor store. No one is encouraging you to stay in the pit of addiction. So why are you? Why are you standing in the way of your happiness? The short answer is comfort. The bigger answer is fear. We fear giving up our comfort. Even when it is not helping us be the best version of ourselves.
For the alcoholic it is the fear of giving up a liquid. That no matter how many times it goes badly when they drink, they keep trying. How about that comfort food? We crave health and for those clothes to fit that haven’t for five years, but still we eat the crap. What about your dreams? Your plans? Are you willing to work hard to get them or do you give in to the comfort of Netflix instead of working on what you need to do to get them. So yes, what you choose is usually you standing in your own way of whatever you are striving for.
When I was active in the Ride4Life, people would say “I could never do that!” Wrong, if I could do it anyone can. It was a matter of pushing through barriers. Often giving up lazy summer afternoons to go train 40 miles in the heat. I had to slay the resistance of comfort to get what I wanted. There was also a fear motivator in this instance. I was scared to death to go on that bike ride and hold other people back because I hadn’t trained.
I was my own worst enemy when it came to drinking and wasted years trying to figure out how to be who I wanted to be without giving up my alcohol. There was no other way around it and deep inside me I knew this, but still I tried. When I did quit, the doors of opportunity were flung open one by one and are still opening. I got around me and my ego saying I was special and could figure out this drinking thing. I resisted for so long and successfully prolonged my happiness and that of those around me for a long time.
I want to self love instead of self loath. To do that I need to slay the dragon of resistance and get busy. Remember when you were a kid and your parents would say, “You, did this to yourself.”? No? Well lucky you because I heard that a few times. Meaning no one is to blame for the trouble you are in but you. What if with persistence we choose to slay resistance and start living the life God is calling you too? Paul expresses some frustration over this in Romans:
I don’t get it either Paul. So keep trying. Just like Paul I gave up a long time ago trying to understand me. What it comes down to is this? I am human. I screw up. I try again.
So keep trying. Get out of your own way and stick to the discipline of self you are striving for. God enables us with his grace so that we never run out of do overs.
The beauty in this never ending saga is grace. Its free and never runs out.