I used to think the best faith was unwavering and unquestioning. That in 20 years I’d still hold to the exact same beliefs and values.
But that was before.
Before life happened. Before sh*t happened. Before I grew up and realized that world can’t be clearly divided into black and white.
I spent time shoving down my questions and doubts. When I couldn’t reconcile what I saw and experienced in the world with my rigid beliefs, I faltered. It seemed easier to deny that I had any questions than to open the floodgates of doubt.
It’s a few years down the road now and those feelings have flip-flopped. I’ve come to believe that my faith can’t be very strong if it can’t withhold any scrutiny. Instead of being skeptical of doubt, I’m skeptical of those who haven’t doubted. Instead of having answers and certainty, I am now certain that I will always have questions. And while it is absolutely contrary to everything that I was taught growing up, I’ve discovered that there is beauty and freedom in not having all the answers.
I used to be certain. Now I am not.
What happened in between these two places? Well, I fell out of sorts.
Few of us follow a straight line in our spiritual story: we squiggle and wiggle, stop and start, progress and regress, rest and recoup, charge ahead recklessly and take sharp turns or stumble into ditches that turn out to be portals. This isn’t a bad thing. On the contrary, I think it’s the thing that makes your story special and beautiful. -sarah bessey (out of sorts)
Sarah Bessey’s newest book is for people like me, people who are “making peace with an evolving faith.”
Out of Sorts feels a bit like an older sibling guiding you through adolescence. If you’re at a point when your faith feels awkward and you’re despairing because you’re sure that nothing will ever be the same again, Sarah’s words comfort like an arm wrapped round your shoulder. Sarah assures you that while things won’t go back to the way they were, they can actually get better from here.
As always, Sarah’s writing is gentle and gracious, but still marked with fervor. She brings her own questions about religion to the book to assure you that your experience of questioning isn’t isolated. But she also shares her story of going back to Church, to the Bible and to Jesus. Her words are hopeful without being sanctimonious.
With so many people I know feeling disillusioned by the church or by the simple answers they were given growing up, this feels like an especially timely book. However it’s one that I wouldn’t give to just anyone. I’d wait until you were ready for it. Until you needed it. As much as I loved this book, it’s one that I think could be misunderstood by someone who hasn’t struggled with their faith, just as I have been misunderstood by those same people. Rather than reading this book prematurely and risk misunderstanding Sarah’s message and misunderstanding where others are struggling, I suggest that you wait. Wait until you’re a bit out of sorts.
**I was privileged to be part of the launch team for Sarah‘s book which meant that I was given a copy of the book to review. All opinions are my own and I’ve since purchased a second copy of the book because I loved it so much. Buy your own copy here!