We’ve all got a story.
One of my most favorite parts of creating Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart is that it’s meant to be interactive. The idea is to engage with the stories, framework, and practices I share and use them as a launching point for your own particular story, language, and ideas.
Over the course in the book, I sketch out a diagram that provides some simple language for some of the major movements of an evolving faith:
Fusing: Where our faith is formed (and sometimes stays for a long time because so many churches and systems are built on this season of our faith); the core values are certainty, conformity, and affiliation.
Shifting: When we start to ask questions, have doubts, become restless but things are still manageable and nothing significant changes related to church, etc.
Returning: As we shift, sometimes we find that going back to where we had been isn’t so bad. We make some peace with our questions and doubts enough to still go to church and be part.
Unraveling: This is when the shifts can’t be contained any longer and we begin the downward spiral of losing beliefs, structures, then relationships, and often our identity. This season is centered on loss and we often experience intense feelings of anger, sadness, confusion, fear, and shame. During Unraveling our values shift to autonomy, authenticity, and uncertainty.
Severing: Not everyone severs after Unraveling, but some do. This is when we walk away from faith altogether, either for a little while or possibly forever.
Rebuilding: Some enter Rebuilding after Unraveling, others after Severing. It looks so different for everyone, and everyone’s timing is unique. It’s a tender and vulnerable time where we start to want to engage with God in new ways and begin to rebuild after deconstructing and seek out greater freedom, mystery, and diversity in our faith.
These are the words and lines I use to describe it, but I’d love to hear what words you’d use or how you’d draw it and more of your unique story that many can probably relate to in different ways.
What has your faith shift felt like and been like? What are some of the core values that have guided you in each of these seasons? What are you learning along the way? What have you lost? What freedom have you found? What are some things you’ve tried as you’ve been rebuilding?
If you feel like sharing, please use the comments section in any way that works for you. It is always powerful for others to feel less crazy and less alone, too (I’d love to see your pictures, too, of your own faith evolution diagram).