We've all heard the expression a "test of faith." A test of faith is usually associated with religion, when someone hits a turbulent time in their life and they look up to the sky and yell, WHYYYY!!! WHYYY!!! Or even something a little more parental advisory, maybe a Lieutenant Dan moment where you are screaming from a crow's nest on a shrimp ship, "YOU CALL THIS A STORM YOU SON OF A BITCH, COME AND GET ME!!!!"
But let's be real, a test of faith is not exclusive to religion. We all get them. For me, it is the process of chasing down my huge ambitions, which I believe in whole heart-idly, maybe even religiously. Ha! Sometimes, it feels like I'm so close, momentum is on my side. Little successes keep adding up and the big one is just around the corner. My spirits are high. My work is effortless. The band is waiting to play victory music at the finish line. Wait for it, wait for it, almost there, a little closer.... and then it happens. BOOM! CRASH! SHIT! MOTHERFUCKER! DAMNIT! It all comes to a halt and I look up, only to realize that i'm still buried ten feet deep in the ground with no rope to the top. Grow up, Peter Pan.
And when you fall down and eat shit guess who is right around the corner waiting for you, Oh yeah, there they are. Hey self doubt and fear I almost forgot about you guys, come on over and fuck with me. They tell you to go back and stay realistic. That every hater, every critic, every gatekeeper was right this whole time. You do suck balls. You should go back to your average job, doing average tasks, pleasing average people, saying averaging things.
This is a test of faith. It separates the ones that quit from the ones that make it. Part of me (the scared part) wants to go back. To tell people that dreams are for kids in sandboxes and that being unhappy at work is fine as long as you have great things on TiVo when you get home. But that's not the world I imagine. I imagine a world where my lifespan actually makes an impact on people because my work refeclts what I love to do. It reflects my heart and soul and who I am.
I'll never forget a personal story that Steven Pressfield shares in the book, "Do The Work." At the age of 42, Pressfield recollects this moment where he finally got his big break. He was hired to write a major studio film (King Kong Lives) and it was the day of the premier. His entire life he had been waiting for this moment. He rented out the place next door for a party after the premier, waiting for the celebration to begin. He had done it right? Then it happened. BOOM! CRASH! SHIT! The movie bombed. After years and years of trying to hit the big time, Pressfield was bashed in the papers as a hack and a failure. He was in his forties and had given up everything to be a writer, and here was his test of faith. Is this it, is this the end of the road? HELL NO. He was a writer and he knew it. His faith was too strong. He was right where he wanted to be, in the arena as a professional, failing with the rest of them. Go ahead and search Steven Pressfield on amazon... enough said. He might have sucked it up a few times, but in the end, he is doing what he loves to do.
A test of faith is a recommitment to what you believe in. If you don't really want it, a test of faith will force you to turn back. But if you refuse to give up, a test of faith will only make you stronger.