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The number one way to beat the resistance

The Chancery staff (the folks that work for the Bishop that work for you in the Diocese) have had a habit lately of Tuesday morning prayer. Today the reading was from Ecclesiastes 7:8-10, 13-14.

One line in in the reading caught my attention as many readers get caught up in a terrible trap. Ecc 7:10 (Read the whole reading)

Do not say: How is it that former times were better than these? For it is not out of wisdom that you ask about this. 

During times of struggle, nostalgia, political campaigns, meetings at church working raise attendance, money etc. We often revert to our earliest learned behaviors. Or times when the world our world was warm, cozy, and familiar.

When the path is unknown, when our imaginations cannot see the future, it is these times when we say, "That's not way we did in the past", "We tried that once and failed", "That will never work". There a hundred reasons for an idea to not work. But they are not valid. Here is why.

For it is not out of wisdom that you ask about this. 

A nostalgia for warm cozy and familiar times in our lives exists and it is powerful! It is so powerful it keeps interesting ideas that might fail from being put in place. It why we don't get off the couch and exercise. It why our Catholic parishes are losing young people. 

Steven Pressfield in his absolutely brilliant book The War of Art names this longing for we humans to look back and yearn for the the past. Those times in our lives when things made sense, were predictable and familiar. He calls this, The Resistance. The Resistance is what keeps many of us fat and happy. It is that internal self sabotage that keeps us from doing what Matthew Kelly says "Being our best selves". Seth Godin has a brilliant narrative explaining the resistance in this short video.

The Resistance, this looking over our shoulder wishing on days go by is what is slowly, painfully, sabotaging our church. The Resistance is rooted in fear and fear is this driving force. The past is what we know. The past worked. Our brains (the Resistance) loves the tried true and familiar. 

What the Resistance hates is the unknown. Who can see the future? Not many people. It takes a very special person to paint a picture that all of use see and tell ourselves, "Yes, I'm going with her". The Resistance is why we have sin, the Resistance is why spouses divorce, the Resistance crucified Jesus. 

Here is key to overcoming the Resistance. Identify it. Name it. At your next parish council meeting and your priest tells you he wants to consult more people about your kick butt idea to entice young people to mass, lovingly tell him, "Father, the resistance is talking to you".

When you want to write that book and or start that exercise program but will wait until tomorrow, tell yourself, "the Resistance doesn't want me to start". Let the Resistance come into your life and exit without fanfare. It will be one of the most difficult things we can do. Overcoming Resistance will make the biggest difference in our lives personally. And the biggest difference in our parishes.

Post this scripture in a prominent place before a meeting and in our home. Taking chances, diving into the unfamiliar, the scary will be the greatest areas of growth for our futures. 

Do not say: How is it that former times were better than these? For it is not out of wisdom that you ask about this. 

The resistance is not wisdom. It is fear. 

What areas of resistance do you struggle with? Post your comments in the comment section. 




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