When I was 21, I decided that I wanted to be a photographer. It wasn’t my first choice of careers but it was the one arts career that I believed that I could succeed at. Beliefs are the overcrowded flea market creed-and-conviction mongers you have to wade through in order to get to FAITH.
Beliefs are truths that can, and MUST, be proven or refuted. Beliefs demand a lot of defending, proclaiming, persuading, and assailing. Faith is the magnetic pull of your heart’s desire towards the unfolding of life according to Divine plan. Faith always brings us to fullness of life. To courage. To newness and renewal.
At 26, I was a successful photographer. I worked for a city magazine, had a gallery exhibition with my name painted on the wall, and was in the Chicago Museum of Art’s emerging artists collection. That’s when I took pottery lessons and realized that I really wanted to become a potter. I loved the silent zen meditation of finding my center as I centered the clay. I had a choice to make.
My beliefs told me to analyze the situation and make some compromises quick! My faith told me something else. What you do with love will reap tenfold results. What you give, you get. So I went with faith, and have made a livelihood with pottery, even when I was a single mom, despite the odds against it.
Faith doesn’t get you everything you want! Thinking that we humans can trick the Divine into doing it our way is a belief. Sometimes it’s hard to know the difference. I have devised a little test to let me know whether I am operating from belief or faith:
If someone contradicts me, or believes differently, do I automatically and compulsively need to rally a scathing defense? Yes? That is belief! Can I fully trust that that the lives of others are also unfolding according to Divine plan? That living my life as a spiritual walk is the testimony I am qualified to give? That is faith.
Preach the Gospel always,” wrote St Francis. “Use words only if you must.”