Kathy Escobar, pastor of The Refuge in Denver, Colorado, has written a fascinating and helpful book on the concept of faith shifting. She defines shifting as “When we start to ask questions, have doubts, become restless but things are still manageable and nothing significant changes related to church, etc.”
People are different and each person brings to this season of faith shifting his/her own unique perspective and experiences. This means a faith shift will look different for each person. At the same time, Escboar does note that there are some patterns and similarities. “Shifting typically includes:
- beginning to question systems to which we once happily ascribed
- feeling unsettled about particular beliefs and doctrinal tenets
- longing to really feel more known and loved by God and others
- experiencing a deep restlessness that something might be missing in our spiritual lives
- wanting to use our passions and gifts but feeling unempowered
- worrying about losing our security and stability if we lean into these scary and unfamiliar feelings
- fearing that we are doing something wrong spiritually (p. 40)”
Furthermore, “Shifting is not a free-fall. It’s not a place where everything comes apart and we lose everything (that comes later for a lot of us). It’s not where there’s no turning back. In fact, we have some control over Shifting. We can choose what to do with what’s being stirred up. During this season, most of us still stay in the churches and ministries we are part of. People around us may see us the same, but we know something’s different inside. This stage is definitely not drastic yet, and there’s no big loss here. It’s just the rumbly stirring of dissatisfaction, disengagement, apathy, and doubt.”
If the description sounds familiar – either from your own experience or someone else’s whom you care about – Escobar provides a sort of checklist on her website on whether you might be going through a faith shift. However, to anyone going through a faith shift, it’s probably obvious, and a checklist is not necessary to confirm it! The checklist is then less a confirmation and more of a reminder that we are not alone in this season.
If you’d like to hear more about faith shifting, visit Escobar’s website or come join us for our studies on Monday evenings through mid-July.