“Faithwalking can give you the space and the tools to see where you are and where you’re stuck, but also to catch a glimpse of God’s vision for your fully alive life.” – Andy Kadzban
Andy Kadzban is a pastor and a Faithwalker in northern New Jersey. In the video clip above and full text below, Andy shares about his experience with Faithwalking. Listen to a podcast episode featuring Andy’s experience in Faithwalking.
Q: Describe something in your life that you were not aware of before Faithwalking. What was the impact of that lack of awareness in your life?
In Faithwalking (FW) we talk about emotional maturity as being “defined and connected.” When I started FW, I had little to no definition whatsoever. I had allowed myself to be defined by people around me and believed that in order to be connected in a relationship to someone else, I couldn’t be defined. That as soon as the temperature went up, I’d give up what I thought or believed to appease you. That I would go well out of my way to make sure you were never put out or inconvenienced, that I stayed out of your way and would just do it myself. I was completely out of touch with my emotions and desires and needs. This reflected in shallow relationships and a temper.
Another area of self-awareness for me has been to realize the degree to which I overfunction. I knew I had helium-hand-disease, but I didn’t realize how prevalent my overfunctioning was. The impact of this lack of awareness is that I was unable to separate the urgent and important, and I robbed those around me of the opportunity to serve and help and be who God made them to be.
Q: What has changed through Faithwalking? How are you different?
My journey began with learning to define myself. What are my guiding principles and how do I set boundaries in order to define myself? I so often gave up self and morphed to fit the group I was in that this has been a difficult journey. I gave up self because I thought I needed to in order to stay connected, but I began to realize that I needed to define myself both for myself and to actually be connected. That what I thought was connection, wasn’t.
But what I realized when I started to define myself and say what I believed or thought or wanted, was that I had no idea how to do it in a way that kept me connected. I could define myself, but it often seemed like a mic drop kind of moment. There was still a lot of anxiety in me, and it wasn’t coming out well. So, then I had to work on finding ways to stay connected, too.
I’m still in that journey and I fail all the time, but I have a vision of what that could look like that I strive toward. I also think this could be important leading up to the election. I’ve had some conversations with family and friends who just have no idea how to even talk to people who disagree with them. People either choose to just keep their mouth shut or fight about it. I don’t have a magical solution for our political climate, but this is the ideal I want to hold up for people. We’ve lost the capacity to define ourselves and stay connected to others as they define themselves. No wonder we can’t talk to each other, no wonder we don’t trust each other, no wonder people are so dissatisfied with the government and find it to be largely ineffective and stuck.
Q: Describe Faithwalking in your own words.
Whenever I tell people about Faithwalking, I tell them that if they are willing to play full out, it will change their lives. It’s a process of spiritual formation and transformation that believes that Christians don’t generally need more information about Jesus and what it means to follow him. What we need are tools and coaching to help us deal with the wounds and shame and habits that keep us stuck in our lives as they are. Faithwalking can give you the space and the tools to see where you are and where you’re stuck, but also to catch a glimpse of God’s vision for your fully alive life.
Q: What is the most helpful tool you have learned in Faithwalking?
The most helpful tool by far that I’ve learned in Faithwalking is coaching. Professionally, learning to hone that skill has been really important, but the real impact has been the way I’ve learned to coach myself. I’ve learned how to get on the balcony and see, closer and closer to real time, how I am being and think about how I want to be. I can get curious about what I’m feeling and why I’m reacting the way I am. I can get curious about what they’re saying or doing and find some compassion and some means to respond according to my own guiding principles and values instead of just reacting. When my vows get triggered, I can sometimes see that as it happens and take a step back to try to manage my anxiety.
Even just in preparing for this conversation, I realized that I was putting it off and anxious about it, so I just asked why that might be so and I realized that this triggers a couple of my vows that I’m still working on. One of my vows is that I will always be competent and right, but this is a whole set of conversations that I have not mastered and, honestly, have not embodied to the degree I would like. And there’s shame in confronting that, and I want to hide it because my 6-7-year-old self is telling me that if I can’t convince you I’m perfect then you’re not going to love me. So, I have to interrupt that voice and tell it, “No, I belong and I am loved, especially in my brokenness and failure.” Without that ability to notice that something in me got triggered and to get present to it and work through it, the rest of the tools don’t really matter.
Q: Tell us about you. Who are you? How did you connect with Faithwalking?
I’m Andy Kadzban, a husband to Sam for just over 10 years, father to Owen and Hannah who are 3, and guardian/owner of Finn, a 2-year-old Goldendoodle. I’m the senior pastor of The Wyckoff Reformed Church in northern New Jersey where I’m completing my 8th year this month. I grew up in Michigan where I also attended college and seminary, and never in my wildest imagination would have thought I’d end up living in New Jersey and actually enjoying it. I’m a baseball fan (Detroit Tigers). I love music and dabble with a few different instruments. I enjoy craft cocktails and beer, and before kids was a pretty avid homebrewer.
I connected with Faithwalking almost exactly 5 years ago when I came on pilgrimage to Houston for a FW 101 retreat with Jim Herrington and Trisha Taylor. I was part of a group of churches here in New York and New Jersey that were in a congregational transformation process then called Ridder Church Renewal, now called Churches Learning Change. While part of that process was learning to understand congregational systems and tools for taking effective action in them, there was also a core belief that congregations transform when individuals in congregations experience transformation in their life and faith. So Faithwalking is kind of the personal spiritual formation wing of Churches Learning Change. From FW 101 I went on to complete FW 201 and 202 and have now taken several Foundations modules. I’m a Faithwalking coach, a FW 101 presenter, and am apprenticing as a facilitator for Faithwalking Foundations.
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