Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right. —Henry Ford
I sketched one of my earliest drawings the year I started university. At the time I was obsessed with sailboats and sailing, as I thought they presented an elegant metaphor for what it really means to live by faith. (I still do!) The symbolism goes something like this:
- the sailor = you
- the sailboat = your journey through life
- the rudder = your goal, your dream, the direction or place you want to go (the rudder, at times, can also represent The Truth)
- the wind = the Spirit of God
- the sail = your faith
This simple metaphor made the whole experience of a faith-filled life easier for me to understand. To move my life, all I need to do is point my rudder toward my dream (or the deep truth I am choosing to pursue), deploy my faith and catch the wind of God’s Spirit to carry me forward. Now if you’ve ever sailed, you know that the art is a little more complicated than that, but the principle still holds. There can be tons of Wind at my back. I can even have my boat pointed in the right direction. But if I don’t raise my sails, I still won’t move. No faith, no go.
The best definition of faith I’ve ever heard comes from the Bible, in the Book of Hebrews:
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. —Hebrews 11:1
One big distinction I draw from this is one I find a lot of people overlook: Faith is not hope. Hope says, “It’s possible.” Faith says, “It’s inevitable. No maybe about it. It will happen.”
Sometimes, when people go after a big change in their life (or in the world), they rely solely on hope to get them there. They look at their Crystal Clear Dream and say, “I really hope it can be so.” No mistake, hope can take you a long way. People do a lot of things, take a lot of risks, based on nothing but their hope. But when it comes to making change happen, faith is better.
Faith is confidence. Faith is assurance. Faith is knowing you will eventually, inevitably, reach your goal. Faith is so confident that the thing you are after will happen that it kinda already feels like a “done deal.” Success is assumed. It’s a given. It’s just a matter of time.
I’m not talking about wishcraft. We’re assuming here that your dream is not a fantasy, that it is grounded in the Truth and Reality of your actual life, in what could quite reasonably happen. I can have all the faith in the world that I will breathe underwater just like Aquaman, but that won’t keep me from drowning if I ever really give it a go. But assuming your dream, your New Reality, is genuinely possible, if you don’t believe it will actually happen, then what are you fighting for?
Faith is simple, but it is far from easy. It’s both a choice, and a muscle you have to keep working to make stronger. Here are a few workouts that have helped me and my clients step more fully into faith around a Crystal Clear Dream:
Stop trying to believe, and just decide: When it comes to your dream, will you believe, or merely hope? Either way, be resolved about it. Never underestimate the power of a sincere, authentic decision, made from the heart.
Pray all the time. But when you do, don’t ask God to “do” your dream for you. Instead, tell God what youare going to do, and ask Him to give you the courage to do it.
Create a short, one-line affirmation of faith, and say it out loud every time you think about your Crystal Clear Dream. One I especially like is, “It’s inevitable. It will happen. It’s just a matter of time.”
Feed your faith with stories of others who have traveled the same (or a similar) path and succeeded.
No wallowing! When you fail or have a setback, get up, dust yourself off and get back on the path. Negative self-talk will not serve you here. Instead, reconnect to your dream, and if necessary, your anger.
Be ready for weak days. Some days it’s hard to find that internal assurance that you’ll reach your ultimate dream. When that happens, focus on this day – right here, right now. Do you believe that you can move closer to your dream today? Then act on that. If you don’t have faith for the journey, have faith for today.
Though it sounds counter-intuitive, don’t ignore your doubts or try to stuff them into the shadows. Doubt and faith are intimate partners in the journey of believing, so when you have doubts, engage them with curiosity and not with fear. What is your doubt trying to get you to notice? What is the question your doubts are pushing you to ask about your dream? about yourself? about God? Don’t be afraid to wrestle it out.
Belief and confusion are not mutually exclusive; I believe that belief gives you a direction in the confusion. But you don’t see the full picture. That’s the point. That’s what faith is. You can’t see it. It comes back to instinct. Faith is just up the street. Faith and instinct, you can’t just rely on them. You have to beat them up. You have to pummel them to make sure they can withstand it, to make sure they can be trusted. —Bono, of U2