Mending Our Souls – 7 quotes from Kathy Escobar’s book – Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart

by Mark Votava

97816014254301. A natural part of spiritual growth

“All things considered, you have to wonder why it can be so hard to find communities of faith shifters. After all, faith shifting is not a new phenomenon. The Christian mystics and desert mothers and fathers knew that seeking something deeper was a natural part of spiritual growth. They weren’t afraid of questions and doubts. In fact, they embraced them…”

2. The thread that links

“The thread that links affiliation and conformity is certainty…”

3. Can’t handle our changes

“Because our church structures are built so fervently on right belief, our… friends frequently can’t handle our changes. Relationships we felt were based on intimate connection and deep love for each other actually were based upon function, conformity, and the comforts of shared beliefs. When we stop playing by the same rules, we end up not just on the sidelines but out of the game completely.”

4. Mending our souls

“This is a time when we need to take care of our tender hearts. Severing can be like a spiritual cleanse, a chance to empty out all of the toxins that have built up over the years. When we’ve been through a war, our souls can be beat up and broken. Many have experienced spiritually abusive systems and been crushed under oppression, legalism, and religious control. Recovering from spiritual abuse is possible, but we may need a specific period where we disengage completely in order to heal. In other words, Severing can be a healthy protection mechanism that isn’t about bitterness or anger, but actually about mending our souls. God is big enough for all the ways that we sever. And instead of fearing the process, we can respect that sometimes it’s our best hope.” 

5. A dark night of the soul

“For some, Severing can look and feel like a dark night of the soul, where after shedding all our formerly held beliefs, we are quite certain that we’ve either been completely abandoned by God or that maybe there is no God at all…”

6. Whatever works

“Finding ‘whatever works’ for a Rebuilder means discovering anything that will help us open up our hearts to God again.”

7. A time to embrace my voice

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity… A time for quiet strength to be born, and a time for insecurity to die. A time to plant courage, and a time to harvest peace. A time to kill self-hatred, and a time to heal from fear of abandonment. A time to tear down walls that protect me, and a time to build up hearts that love me. A time to cry about how hard it’s been, and a time to laugh about how hard it’s been. A time to grieve over the loss of my once-certain faith, and a time to dance because my soul is coming back to life. A time to scatter people who can’t handle me being me, and a time to gather people who can. A time to embrace my voice, and a time to turn away from worrying about what other people think. A time to search for balance, and a time to quit searching for the finish line. A time to keep what’s important, and a time to throw away all the rest. A time to tear apart ‘right doctrine,’ and a time to mend what I deeply believe. A time to be quiet about what isn’t, and a time to speak about what is. A time to love slow and steady transformation in myself and others, and a time to hate impatience. A time for war against resistance, and a time for peace in the chaos.”

How have you been mending your soul in this season of life?

Purchase Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist