Longing for Freedom, Diversity and Mystery: 8 Great Quotes from Kathy Escobar’s New Book – Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart. One of the Best Books You Will Ever Read!

by Mark Votava


I absolutely love this book by Kathy Escobar Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart.  Finally, a book that allows someone to feel negative emotions within their process of formation and growth.  I love this book so much because I haven’t read too many books that say anger, pain, sadness, depression, confusion, fear are okay to experience as birthing something more authentic is very difficult.  Here are 8 great quotes from the book:

  • Letting go of comparisons is a lifelong process

1. “Comparing will harm us.  We can look at people who are happy in the churches or faith systems we were part of and center our energies on what’s wrong with us.  We can look at others who are Unraveling too and think we’re not doing it as smoothly as or gracefully as they are.  We can make up all kinds of expectations for ourselves during Unraveling that will do nothing but rob us of peace.  We expect ourselves not to be mad anymore, not to get defensive when people bring up our shifts, or not to say anything negative about church in mixed company.  When these things seep out, we feel shame for not being better yet.  Letting go of comparisons is a lifelong process, but it is critically important during the tender process of deconstructing our faith.”

  • Unraveling takes time – usually years, not months

2. “Unraveling takes time – usually years, not months – but it has a purpose, even if we can’t see it at first.  I can’t promise a new beautiful baby after one last push, but I do know that the sadness, anger, confusion, fear, and shame don’t last forever.  We really can come out on the other side in a new place…”

  • We can feel as though the darkness is endless

3. “When we are Unraveling, we can feel as though the darkness is endless.  How long must we suffer?  While some of what we hold dearly is indeed gone forever, over time we will find what’s left is enough and that we actually become more secure and stable than we might expect.  We discover we don’t have to go back to where we were to find strength again, regardless of how many people believe that Returning is our best hope.  As we walk forward in the dark, light begins to creep in and then gets brighter over time, and our spiritual lives and practices take completely different forms.”

  • Tendency to avoid pain and maintain control

4. “I’ve found that in our basic human DNA is a tendency to avoid pain and maintain control.  Add being part of faith systems that subtly and directly discourage us from sharing our real feelings, and it’s even harder.  Exposing how we really feel, good and bad, makes us even more uncomfortable…”

  • Affiliation and conformity stop mattering so much

5. “…we start to feel a rumbling in our souls that we can’t ignore.  We start to dream about breaking the commandments we tried so hard to keep.  We ask questions that we never considered before.  Affiliation and conformity stop mattering so much.  We wonder if there might be something more to the spiritual life than we’ve been taught.  We begin to burn out and tire of serving the church system.  We want our passions or gifts to be valued and used to make the world a better place.  We find we can no longer ascribe to the black-and-whiteness we embraced in Fusing and begin to see in shades of gray.  What made perfect sense starts to feel not so certain.  Once-solid ground begins to feel wobbly.”

  • We can’t just suck it up anymore and ignore the questions

6. “There’s something important underneath all of these questions that’s easy to miss or dismiss: longing.  During Shifting, we can’t just suck it up anymore and ignore the questions.  We can’t make easy peace with the disparities.  We can’t engage with God with only our heads or keep going through the motions, pretending we agree.  We can’t make sense out of what we’re feeling with the tools we’re used to using, and we definitely can’t seem to kill off our longing for something more.”

  • A doorway to something more

7. “A faith shift – what often feels like a failure or an end – can actually be a doorway to something more…”

  • Desire for freedom, diversity, and mystery

8. “In fact, our desire for freedom, diversity, and mystery in our relationship with God and the world will guide us into uncharted territory.  We will try things we’ve never tried before.  We will engage with people we’ve never engaged with before…  We will love in ways we never did before.  We will become freer.”

In what ways have you experienced a faith shift of Unraveling?