In the 1989 movie Field of Dreams, featuring Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones, the main character Ray keeps hearing “If you build it, they will come.” This voice was alluding to a call for him to build a baseball field that would eventually save his family’s farm and reignite the vision of a recluse social justice activist.
“If you build it, they will come” has since become a beacon of inspiration from that movie. It has inspired those who feel a calling to start a new business venture, invent a new system, leave a positive impact, or follow a vision that feels non-sensical.
Yet, all too often people follow a calling and then feel like they keep hitting walls. Many of us who have taken the leap end up wondering if the field of dreams really does exist or was just a bunch of Hollywood ideology. How come it seems to work like magic for some people and not others?
In this article we are going to look at the spiritual perspective on responding to callings and ways we can glean deeper wisdom from the movie.
First, the movie operates on the premise that there is a Higher Consciousness that is guiding and interacting with Ray, Kevin Costner’s character. If you are atheist, that is ok, the lens we look through can still apply to you. It could also be said that Ray’s highest self was kicking in. Like an inner knowing that was tapping into something bigger (just study quantum physics to learn more about tapping into something bigger and the interconnectivity of energy).
Second, notice that because Ray got the call, life didn’t become perfect. Quite the opposite. There were challenges. Also, notice that Ray kept listening despite the challenges. He kept tuning in and his faith won over his fears. This is important because I think this is where many people jump ship prematurely or jettison ideas. They receive the inspiration, follow the call, start a business and then…. crickets. This makes sense because when we start something new, we become more externally focused and sometimes we stop hearing the guidance that will allow the full path to appear.
Third, the full path didn’t appear all at once. I think this is a point of frustration for many, myself included when I was first starting out. I thought, “Wait, if I’m answering the call that God put on my heart, then where is the illuminous pathway? Shouldn’t there be a short-cut to the end result?!”
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Life is dynamic. Your next step will be given to you when you ask for it and are open to receiving/hearing it based on current circumstances. We have free will, things in this world are ever shifting. This means that the perfect next steppingstone that shows up for you is perfect in this moment. Have faith to put the next foot where the voice tells you too and have faith that the next step will come too.
Fourth, the movie is … just that. It is a movie. Following a calling can take 3-10 years to root in. In our fast paced “I want it yesterday” society, we forget that all good things take nurturing and deep roots take time to form. The degree fear interferes is the degree that next step will be harder to see. Learning to walk by faith and not by sight, can take anywhere from a single moment to two decades, depending on one’s willingness. Walking in faith is a choice and it requires a willing heart.
Walking in faith also means that there will be times that you feel you are crazy. In the movie Ray says, “I have just created something totally illogical!” Many steps the inner voice will share with you won’t make sense until the end. Whether it is God’s spirit guiding you, or your own highest self-calling you to something greater, or both, matters not. What matters is your willingness to set aside fear long enough to hear the wisdom and guidance of where to put your foot next.
Walking in faith also means the end result might look externally different than what we originally had in mind. Sometimes when we arrive at a new goal, the form doesn’t match the expectations we were harboring. To truly walk in faith, abandon expectations and just simply trust the path as it unfolds.
Lastly, the Field of Dreams isn’t saying, “If you build it, you will get all the money you need, customers or contracts will be falling out of the sky, and you won’t have challenges.” It is inviting us to be willing to remain open to the next step and trusting that next inner prompting is taking us to a place that we may not have been able to imagine on our own.
In essence, following a calling is more than a life purpose. Following a calling is a spiritual grand adventure of a lifetime!