The Wall (Transition)


The Wall

“Spiritual dryness or getting stuck are hidden opportunities for deeper growth and joy” (Journey of the Soul, Chapter 6).

Characteristics of The Wall

The Wall is a transition season (not a stage) in the journey of the CHRIST stages of faith, which may last for days or years. Its symbol is a wall because you feel stuck and can’t see what’s ahead for you. It’s a time when your faith is sorely tested, often after some years in the R Stage, but you may hit The Wall at any stage.

Being at The Wall is not your fault—it’s God’s invitation into deeper self-awareness and intimacy with Jesus in the Inner Journey stage.

You may hit The Wall more than once, even a handful of times, during your spiritual journey. You may experience one or more of these walls at the same time:

1. Burnout from overworking
2. Spiritual burnout or compassion fatigue
3. Blowout (moral failing)
4. Personal crisis (e.g., disease or grief)
5. Faith crisis of disbelief or cynicism (e.g., deconstruction)
6. Dark Night of the Soul (ongoing spiritual dryness)

We’re prone to get stuck at The Wall if we persist in distrusting God. This may be from over identifying with what we do, what people say, or what we have. Or we may “feel we’ve outgrown what our parents, church, or other spiritual leaders taught us” (JOTS, p. 125). Whatever the reason, The Wall is a time of spiritual desolation and disorientation, which may include deconstructing your faith in Christ and having difficulty reconstructing it.

God’s Grace for The Wall: Empathy for Your Distress

Joy Gifts (1)

There is grace for you at The Wall. This transition can become a soul pivot into the Second Half of the journey if you slow down your busyness and lean into being emotionally honest with the Lord and a spiritual director or friend to receive empathy and guidance in prayer.

Growth Through The Wall

There are twelve soul care practices that are especially important for becoming more healthy and loving during a season of testing at The Wall (Journey of the Soul, pp. 136-140). The top three are:

  1. Receiving spiritual direction or counseling
  2. Setting boundaries (to do less work or ministry)
  3. Enjoying God’s blessings in nature, friends, and the arts

Key Scripture

“‘Abba, Father,’ [Jesus] cried out, ‘everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine’” (Mark 14:36 NLT).

Spiritual Direction Tip

“[In your ministry to people at The Wall] point out that many men and women in the Bible struggled with spiritual distress, disorientation, or dryness” (Journey of the Soul Leader Guide, p. 57).

Key Quotes

"We’re likely to encounter The Wall after we leave home (literally or symbolically) and at least once more later in life" (Journey of the Soul, p. 117).
"Our situation at The Wall is like the Chinese word for 'crisis,' which combines the characters for 'danger' and 'opportunity'" (Journey of the Soul, p. 118).
"The Israelites of old [got] through the sea-wall on dry ground by trusting and following Yahweh’s unseen footprints (Ps. 77:19). They trusted the Lord as their Way Maker" (Journey of the Soul, p. 119).