formation friday: a time to…

The reason I wrote Faith Shift a chunk of years ago was to provide some tools and hope for people who were losing all they once held dear. It’s a brutal season, when everything we once believed comes apart and we aren’t sure what that means for us.

Over time I’ve processed the material with different people (and myself) in a lot of different ways and one theme always emerges–even though the book is about “faith shifts” it also is really about grief.

It’s possible to take the same framework and apply it to most any loss or transition.

Often, we move from what was secure and secure (Fusing) to some kind of reality “Oh, this isn’t what I thought it was” (Shifting) to possibly trying to make sense of it or make it work even when it might not (Returning) until somehow it all comes crashing down or someone dies or that dream is dashed or we know there’s no turning back (Unraveling) and we need to let ourselves feel all the feels and at some point begin to find our way forward in a new way (Rebuilding).

We’re usually always losing something.

We’re always finding something new.

We’re always transitioning.

We’re always wrestling with change.

We’re always trying to reckon with what was and what we hope things could be.

We’re always finding our way forward, even if some days we’re crawling.

We’re always in different seasons in the same story.

There’s always a time for what was, and there’s always a time for what’s now.

I’ve been thinking a lot about a reflective exercise from Faith Shift that’s based off the passage in Ecclesiastes 3 that many of you have read over and over again.

Here it is again, verses 1-8:

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

A time to be born and a time to die.

A time to plant and a time to harvest.

A time to kill and a time to heal.

A time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to cry and a time to laugh.

A time to grieve and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.

A time to embrace and a time to turn away.

A time to search and a time to quit searching.

A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear and a time to mend.

A time to be quiet and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate.

A time for war and a time for peace.

Acknowledging and celebrating what was helps us leave it behind and embrace what is now.

My guess is a lot of you are leaving what was behind and embracing what is now in different ways, in faith, in life, in church, in relationship, in work, in the-season-you-are-in.

For today’s Formation Friday I thought I’d share this template for anyone who wants to take a little time and reflect more deeply.

I wrote one in Faith Shift but decided to do a new one today, since it’s been a few years.

Here it is:

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

A time for some dreams that have been postponed to be born and a time for other dreams to die.

A time to plant courage & peace & creativity and a time to harvest resilience.

A time to kill fear’s grip and a time to heal from the tangled cords of codependence.

A time to tear down what’s no longer necessary and a time to build up freedom.

A time to grieve over the realities of our world, the USA, “the church” and a time to dance because resistance, beauty, hope, and healing is still breaking out all over the place.

A time to scatter hope in as many directions as possible and a time to gather wisdom.

A time to embrace my passion for the wild ways of Jesus and a time to turn away from God-in-a-box.

A time to search for the gems and a time to quit searching for smooth sailing.

A time to keep centered on whatever is now, true, noble, pure, and good and a time to throw away the trash of the past.

A time to tear apart the illusion of control and a time to mend my pericardium.

A time to be quiet about what really doesn’t matter and a time to speak up about the need for healing and justice and connection in this divided, disconnected world.

A time to love people & my babies & the present & God’s mercies new every morning and a time to hate injustice and self-hatred and the way shame is always trying to ruin.

A time for war against oppression & inequality & shame and a time for peace in the deep spaces of my soul. 

Oh, I needed that.

I’d love to hear what resonates with you if you decide to give it a try.

Peace and hope to you this weekend, kathy

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar co-pastors at The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver and is the author of Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

One Comment

  • Here it goes…

    A Time to…”
    For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
    A time for a business to be born and a time for financial loss to die.
    A time for a study group to be born and a time for thirst to die.
    A time for a business/ministry incubator to be born and the old man/old way of doing church to die.
    A time for spiritual sons and daughters to be born and the fears of “parenthood” to die.

    A time to plant hopes and dreams and a time to harvest joy.

    A time to kill depression and anxiety and a time to heal from rejection
    A time to kill obesity and a time to heal from comfort eating.
    A time to slay depression and a time to heal from my past wounds.
    A time to kill my fears and a time to build up my boldness.

    A time to tear down the lies I have spoken over myself and the lies I’ve believed others have spoken over my identity and a time to build up my self esteem.
    A time to tear down the protective walls I’ve built and it is time to build healthy relationships.

    A time to cry about a season of deep loss and rejection and a time to laugh at Jezebel…and those who said I was made in her likeness.
    A time to cry over the rebellion of my adult children and a time to laugh because God has promised to bring them back like the prodigal son.

    A time to grieve over the loss of “family” and a time to dance because the I carry the seed within me to bring a new “family” to life…

    A time to scatter the ashes of what I imagined my life would be like at 40 and a time to gather the hopes, dreams and plans God has for me to prosper.
    A time to scatter the failures of my past and a time to gather the blueprints of my future.

    A time to embrace sonmanship and a time to turn away from an orphaned mindset.
    A time to search for the future hopes and dreams and a time to quit searching for answers to the past.

    A time to keep the image of who I am in Christ in the word of God and a time to throw away the opinions of man.

    A time to tear apart the negative script I keep speaking over myself and a time to mend my broken self esteem.

    A time to be quiet when they accuse me again and a time to speak about what true love is…
    A time to be quite when I am rejected again and it will be time to speak even louder about what the keys of love are.

    A time to love myself unconditionally and a time to hate satan for trying to destroy me.
    A time to love the broken parts of me and a time to hate the weapons that were formed against me that tried to kill me.

    A time for war against strongholds that keep me and others from realizing their true identity in Christ and a time for peace in my heart over who I am called to be in Christ.

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