Faith. It is a word that has been emblazoned and bedazzled onto t-shirts, jewelry, home décor and all types of merchandising—but what is it exactly, beyond its commercialization within the marketplace and culture? Hip-hop icon, Snoop Dogg, delivered a line within his autobiographical single “Ups & Downs”, that hints towards its necessity and power. He summarized his life and purpose with the caption: “To realize your fate through faith”—Faith is a powerful force that realizes your beliefs and intents, and from a larger scope, the course of your life and your destiny.
From a biblical standpoint, faith is belief demonstrated through action towards the achievement of a goal--per the well-known scripture: Faith without works is dead. Faith is an action verb. Faith is a forward push through doubt. Faith is perseverance. Faith is resilience. Faith is discipline. Faith is investment. It appears to be easy to attain and hold on to--that all you have to do is believe and do the work required, and your expectations will be fulfilled. But what happens when you don't see the return on that investment? What happens when you lose your faith in the process, and how do you get it back?
There is another hallmark scripture that is heralded and often recited: Faith is to be sure of things we hope for, to be certain of things unseen. Beyond providing a definitive quality of faith, the scripture also points to a larger question: What are you hoping for and why? Why is it so important for you to attain what you are hoping for and what is the value to it? Is the dream you are (or were) hoping for coming from a place of beneficial good for yourself, for others or the culture-at-large, or is it coming from a need for validation? When dealing with a loss of faith over a dream or goal, it can be helpful to clarify the value in what we were hoping for to reconfirm its true worth and its alignment with our life's purpose and talents.
In your creative and career pursuits as an artist, there will be pockets and blank spaces of rejection and indifference, where you will ask yourself: “Why am I doing this? Why should I make the additional effort or sacrifice?”—And in the case of a loss of faith: “Why should I hold myself hostage to something I no longer can see or feel?” At the outset, the romance underlying the undertaking of a creative calling may lead us to believe that the success we are hoping for will naturally materialize and gravitate towards us, but in reality, our love for what we do will never equal an escape from the learning curve of faith that belies every life, regardless of individual calling. To continue forward and evolve, it is critical to see and believe in the value of the work that is required beyond the possible material or personal net profit or gain available. Rediscovering the value in the actions of faith taken towards realizing a dream can help in reigniting creative passion, or in the very least it can help in restoring a sense of purpose while navigating the narrow pathways of career droughts and disruption.
Faith is easy to lose, and hard to hold on to in the pursuit of dreams and purpose. Often when circumstances turn bleak and the light at the end of the tunnel becomes eclipsed by doubts and fear, we are left in a tomb of darkness with shrinking hope and little initiative to move forward. Faith is the tractor beam that can pull us through.
Don’t give up. Do the work. Keep the faith—or keep it moving until it returns.