Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Inspiration Station 

Written by: on February 8, 2023

The world is fast and we accelerate it with the ability to keep up.  There is an inversely proportional relationship between peace and chaos; and the antithesis of our over-committed stressful routines, poor choices, and difficult roads to completion – is occasional freedom. I often find myself somewhere on the spectrum near procrastination and “inspired fillers” where time holds less weight. Many of my unprioritized choices have value, however, the activities are largely inspired by motivation, focus, work environment, and perceived deadlines for completion. For me, time is constant and the undeniable common denominator for my effective and ineffective workflow.

Time management and motivation are two of my biggest struggles daily. King and Pressfield provided a new understanding of some of my triggers and offered guidance in unique ways. I have to admit, I was not looking forward to reading anything by Steven King. I assumed he is incredibly talented but I am not a fan of horror or fiction. I put that aside and tackled this book with an open mind. I am extremely glad I did and feel blessed to have read both of these amazing pieces.

The title, On Writing[1] gave me hope. Faith persevered and this book was not only entertaining from a biographical angle, but it also provided motivation and new skills in writing while telling the story of the craft itself. I found the scene where King was critiqued by his first boss, John Gould, to be revolutionary. King also had a similar reaction that was humble and inspiring. Gould said, “When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.”[2] Brilliant, I determined. I credited it in a certain non-applicable manner though. My first thought was, this is extremely good advice but I do not write stories so it does not apply. I quickly received a subconscious slap that was perhaps Spirit-led because it felt wrapped in love and discipline. I read it again and realized it has less to do with the topic and everything to do with the delivery.

I was reminded of a gentle but firm grip I placed on my son’s ears once when I needed him to fully recognize a situation. I could tell he was not grasping a deeper understanding of the lesson in the warranted circumstance, and I demanded eye contact. I find it funny to reminisce on positive parental moments because we see ourselves turn into our own parents. I appreciate my dad doing the same thing to me, and how God in his loving way parents us all too. He stops us and grabs our ears and our hearts at the same time and says “Be still.”[3] He wants us to hear his voice. He guides us like a shepherd “and leaves the 99”[4] when we “don’t get it.” I laugh to myself in my own ridiculous mind when I picture a shepherd finding his lost sheep and rejoicing in love, but also grabbing its ears and saying “if you can not hear my voice, you have wandered too far.”

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”[5]

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and On Writing by Steven King are two must-read books for leaders. These pieces have increased my awareness in areas such as time management and writing philosophy and imprinted a positive addition in my quest to understand lifestyle optimization. These books offer an inspiring and thought-provoking look at the creative process, exploring how to overcome fear, resistance, and procrastination in order to make progress on goals. Through their unique blend of spiritual insight and practical advice, both authors provide readers with powerful strategies to help the forward motion of Christian leaders.

I enjoyed Pressfield’s dive into the psychological aspects of creativity and found it to be especially helpful in my own attempts of living out faith while leading others toward Christ. With its timeless wisdom about self-discipline, courage, and commitment, The War of Art provides invaluable tools needed for success in ministry or any other endeavor. It outlines strategies that can be used to identify and overcome internal obstacles so we can move forward with purposeful action toward success.

Understanding Resistance

As Christian leaders, we understand the importance of developing our spiritual gifts and using them for God’s glory. However, at times it can be difficult to stay motivated and focused on what we are “called” to do. In his book The War of Art, Steven Pressfield[6] examines this challenge in detail and offers valuable insights into how to overcome the resistance and “molecular decay” that stands in our way.[7]

Robert Mckee describes The War of Art by discussing the concept of resistance as a “negative force, a dark antagonism to creativity, embedded deep in our humanity.”[8] Pressfield references an internal force that often prevents us from achieving our goals or utilizing our talents fully for God’s kingdom work. “Resistance is like the Alien or the Terminator or the shark in Jaws. It cannot be reasoned with.”[9] This resonated with me. He explains that every time you attempt something new or challenging there is a corresponding force trying to keep you from doing it. “As powerful as is our soul’s call to realization, so potent are the forces of Resistance arrayed against it.”[10] This feels extremely real to me and served as a great reminder of the spiritual warfare that exists on our behalf.

Pressfield also associated resistance with exercise and New Year’s resolutions. He highlighted and confirmed the low success rates that I have witnessed each year in my fitness profession and my goals for my own life. The War of Art creates awareness of Resistance that takes many forms and is carried out with procrastination, fear-based decision-making, laziness, or any other form of self-sabotage behavior that keeps us stuck in place instead of moving forward with purposeful action toward our goals.

There are a number of pearls in these books and countless references in the Bible to draw from. I think when we recognize patterns within ourselves (and others) we can begin taking steps toward overcoming them in a professional manner. This will allow us more freedom as Christian leaders who are called upon serve faithfully according to His will rather than being hindered by self-imposed limitations due solely to our own fears, insecurities, or doubts.

[1] King, Steven, On Writing

[2] Ibid, 57

[3] Psalm 46:10

[4] Luke 15:3

[5] John 10:27

[6] Pressfiled, Steven, The War of Art

[7] Ibid, 130

[8] Mckey, Robert. Foreward to The War of Art, John Pressfield, 7

[9] Pressfield, Steven, The War of Art, 31

[10] Ibid, 18

About the Author

Michael O'Neill

Director of Operations / Executive Pastor at Kinergy, Inc. Federal 501c3 Non-Profit Organization. An experienced entrepreneur, leader, father, wellness professional, and owner of a multi-location medical practice with my wife, Nicole O'Neill, MD.

14 responses to “Inspiration Station ”

  1. Kristy Newport says:

    I enjoyed reading about parenting your son. Great job weaving in your own story. I appreciated your own way of telling the story of Jesus leaving the 99 sheep to find the one lost sheep.
    I have a lot of resistance currently going on with my own health and wellness. What have been some helpful things you have shared with clients when they show signs of resistance?

    • Michael O'Neill says:

      Thanks, Kristy. Prayer and supplication while doing some cardio. I think it improves the thought process and opens up a great connection with the Spirit similar to fasting. Definitely start moving and see what sticks. Bring Jesus into your workouts and make it more about honoring Him instead of your own struggle. He will take care of you back.

  2. Michael,
    Great post. You are really becoming a strong writer and your examples help speak to a broader audience. Well done.

  3. mm David Beavis says:

    Hey Michael,

    Yes, Pressfield’s War of Art is deeply psychological and has profound, and practical truths to it. You write, “when we recognize patterns within ourselves (and others) we can begin taking steps toward overcoming them in a professional manner. This will allow us more freedom as Christian leaders who are called upon serve faithfully according to His will rather than being hindered by self-imposed limitations due solely to our own fears, insecurities, or doubts.” My question for you is this: What, if any, work or life habits did this book inspire you to implement into your life?

    • Michael O'Neill says:

      Thanks, David. The books helped me in a lot of ways. King helped me eliminate useless content and Pressfield helped me find strategies to overcome resistance. Pressfield mentioned just doing it, and let the Spirit take over and things happen. I realized this week that a lot of things fall into the category of “committed” and others are “interested in.” I’d like to be more committed to things that matter and stop spending so much time on things that don’t .

      Thanks again!

  4. mm Chad McSwain says:

    Hi Micheal
    I enjoyed reading your post. This sentence caught my attention: “These pieces have increased my awareness in areas such as time management and writing philosophy and imprinted a positive addition in my quest to understand lifestyle optimization.”
    What principles or lessons from Pressfield and King have the broadest application, in your perspective? How might they apply to a person who does not think of themselves as a creative?

    • Michael O'Neill says:

      Thanks, Chad. Hmmm…. Great questions. I think too often creativity needs to just “come out.” Like a professional versus an amateur. The pro treats the work like a job and pounds it out. Some hit and some miss but the volume creates more opportunity and dots start to connect and momentum is built. This is someone committed. The amateur or “someone who is interested” is the one that thinks about it but always has an excuse or some reason why it’s just not right.

      I fall in the middle of these. I love it when I’m in the zone but I let other things get in my way sometimes.

  5. Jenny Steinbrenner Hale says:

    Michael, I enjoyed reading your post! Thank you so much. I appreciate the many nuggets of wisdom you pulled out of these books and the equal number of nuggets from your own life through which you illustrated them. You mentioned that time management and motivation are two of your biggest struggles. I am wondering, do you struggle in these areas when it comes to doing the things you love, or just with the things in life that you’re not that excited about doing?

    Also, love your mention of the chaos of our accelerated lifestyle and, on the other hand, freedom. I hope you’ll say more on this in future blogs. Seems like something we need to be paying attention to and learning about these days.

    • Michael O'Neill says:

      Thanks, Jenny. You nailed it. I don’t really struggle with it when I’m doing something I love. Time stands still. I can work for hours and days with little breaks and crush something I’m excited about. When I’m not, it’s the opposite. I can find every excuse and other things to do. I’m not sitting around, it’s just the head games for me. I should have been typing an essay this weekend but I built a wall instead. This kind of thing happens all the time.

      Thanks again.

  6. Tonette Kellett says:


    I loved your post. Getting your son’s attention was an excellent example of how the Father gets our example time and time again when we don’t pay attention to Him. Wonderful analogy.

  7. Michael O'Neill says:

    Thanks, Tonette. Sometimes we need to just get in and demand attention. My son is ADHD and so is my whole family, really. I could be saying something and I can actually see when “he’s gone” even if he’s still standing there. In this instance, I had to make sure he stayed with me. God has had to grab me like this a few times. I guess it’s where I learned it…


  8. Alana Hayes says:

    I enjoyed reading your post! What strategies have you found that Christian leaders can use to overcome the internal forces of resistance that may keep them from living their God-given purpose?

    • Michael O'Neill says:

      Self-awareness. Prayer. Supplication. Submission. When we walk with God, he guides us. But when we walk with ourselves and invite God to join us when it’s convenient, I think the questions become more difficult and the path less smooth.

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