Faith Crisis or Something Else?

Crisis vs. Transformation

First of all, what is a faith crisis?  A faith crisis often feels like your entire world is crashing down around you.  You begin questioning things you always considered to be true; your old ways of knowing the world no longer make sense. Consequently, these questions might reveal grey areas
where before you clearly saw black and white.  Maybe your inner moral compass no longer fully

aligns with your faith community or you feel judged.  Regardless, it is a time of intense questioning and doubting.  Kent Annan summed it up well, a faith crisis is “when you seriously question whether what you believe/how you see/what you’re committed to is actually true.”
(https://www.huffingtonpost.com/kent-annan/embrace-your-crisis-of-fa_b_811559.html)  People around you, especially those in your religious community, might start to worry that you’ve lost your way, or worse, that you’ve fallen into sin.

At the start of all of this, it truly feels like a crisis.  It can feel like you’ve lost your faith.  At times you might even question the very existence of God, which is terrifying for those of us who have always had a deep sense of God and the spiritual.  Despite the fear, if you’re willing to go on this journey, you might find that losing your faith provides an opportunity to resurrect your faith.  It’s one of the many great paradoxes in life.  Along the way you might start calling your faith crisis a “faith transformation” or “faith transition.”

Rest assured that coming to this point, where you question your faith and relationship with the Divine, is a normal part of adult and faith development.

Most likely, you didn’t ask for this

It can feel like you were thrown into this—these questions, this doubt, this confusion.  I doubt most of us would have chosen this struggle for ourselves.  I know I wasn’t looking for the turmoil I found myself in.  But it came to me, as it has come to you.  And as much as you’d like, the genie won’t go back in the bottle.  You can’t go over it, under it, or around it.  You can only go through it.  It must be experienced.  But you only need to take one step at a time.  You don’t have to have it all figured out right at this very moment.

You may feel scared, lonely, confused, angry…

People may think or tell you that you are being deceived, led astray, lazy, selfish, sinful…

Despite these feelings, you might find some peace knowing that you are actually maturing, growing, deepening…

There is nothing wrong with you

You are setting off on an amazing journey of self-awareness and growth.  You are changing and deepening your identity with yourself and with the Divine.  There is nothing wrong with you.

From my experiences, asking questions and searching for meaning are indicators of great faith.  Paradoxically, questioning your faith puts you on a journey that requires faith.  It also requires hard work, patience, and self-compassion.

From the darkness

 

Just like you experienced physical growing pains when you were young, you will experience spiritual growing pains.  You might feel lost and in the dark, trying to find your way in a cave without light.  But just remember, all birth starts in darkness—the seed in the soil, the caterpillar in the chrysalis, the child in the womb, Christ in the tomb.  I believe that true enlightenment requires a period of “endarkenment*.”

It is worth it

I am here to tell you an important thing—you will be okay.  In fact, you will be more than okay.  This journey leads to greater peace, understanding, and acceptance than you can imagine right now.  I’m not saying it will be easy.  This journey is not for the faint of heart.  Most likely there will be times when you want to give up, to go back to your old beliefs, to be able to accept black and white thinking again.

And you are probably aware that your faith journey does not just affect you.  The people in your life are affected as well. So, what happens when your faith is shifting and your loved ones stay where you used to be?  It depends on whether they respond out of love or fear.  However, your relationships with family, friends, and your religious community will change.  How can they not?  You are changing.  Change is a key element to the growth process.

You are becoming more you.  And it is absolutely worth it.

The answers are within you

 

A spiritual coach isn’t a sage that will tell you the answers, you are on a journey of claiming your own spiritual authority.  Although I don’t have your answers, I do have something to offer.  I am here for you and I believe in you; I believe in your ability to grow.  You will find the answers thatare right for you.  But sometimes it’s just really nice to have someone there for you, someone who understands what you’re going through, someone who will provide a safe place to explore your questions.  This is what I can provide for you. As a spiritual coach I will help you find the answers already within you. The answers are varied and are different for each individual.  It might look like:

  • Redefining your place in your faith community
  • Leaving your faith community
  • Finding a new faith community
  • Gaining a deeper understanding of God/the Divine
  • No longer believing in God
  • Revising your beliefs and faith
  • Agnosticism, Atheism, Pantheism, Humanism, or some other belief set that you currently can’t imagine subscribing to.

Don’t let the question of where you’ll end up distract you from the beauty of the process.  For as difficult and scary as it is, it is beautiful and glorious.  You are at the starting point of letting go of either/or, black and white thinking and stepping onto a path of “yes, and…”

*I borrowed this term from Barbara Brown Taylor’s book “Learning to Walk in the Dark,” an incredible tale of finding the beauty, grace, and god in the dark places of our lives.

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