When we begin walking out our commitment to our craft, it usually originates from a photo-capture of our ideal self, performing at the height of our conceived creative capacity—an empowering image that provides context, meaning, and a sense of purpose to our lives and the sacrifices required along the road to success.
As time progresses, a certain level of courage becomes mandatory to continue forward—To execute on the belief in the equity of your voice as an artist. To continue cultivating your gift in the face of silence or rejection. To continue the necessary double-timing to financially or artistically self-fund your projects to maintain autonomy and authenticity of your career, even as you may witness some peers taking shortcuts and reaping immediate dividends of money and attention.
In the process, you may begin to question your identity and the validity of your path. Is my dream to do this real? If so, when will my breakthrough happen? Is what I want meant to be? We may pray for answers towards the actualization of our dreams, but more often than not, at the base of those prayers, there is a request for confirmation of our desires and motives, versus a request for the revelation of the truth embedded within our artistic calling and guidance on the most effective use of our gifts.
At times, the questions above may go unanswered, leaving us with the directive to continue forward in faith. At other times, when the answer arrives, there can be disillusionment with the discovery that our gifts were not given for our individual profit or esteem, but instead were entrusted to our keeping, to be developed and shared with others. As in scripture, when Christ performed the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand with five loaves and two fish—in time, you come to learn that the expectation is that your responsibility as an artist involves multiplying the seed of your talent to its highest yield for the edification and betterment of your respective audience. Actor and comedian, Tracy Morgan spoke on the importance of seeking mentorship and strategy through prayer during an interview with 105.1 FM’s The Breakfast Club:
“God has a way of showing you. Be patient. He’ll show you, but you have to be patient. You ain’t playing checkers, you’re playing chess. It takes years for some moves to be made. If you want to know, God will show you. If you want to know, just pray! Get close to him: ‘God show me. Show me’… Now, you better be strong, if he shows you. It might not go your way. Don’t be mad. That’s all a part of the plan. All a part of the plan—It’s all a part of the plan. God is a genius. It’s all a part of the plan.”
Courage is defined as the ability to act in the face of fear or hardship—however, in the case of artistic calling, courage is defined by the work performed towards the discovery of the true purpose of our talents beyond the limits of our conceived identity and individual dreams of success. Courage is realized through the acceptance of that purpose and the development of our talents toward a life of significance.