Out of Step?

On an increasing basis, I find myself feeling “out of step”. I look at the world around me — a world I love and engage with and wouldn’t change if I could — and feel somehow out of sync.

When I get this feeling, I’m reminded of my days as a high school “flag girl”. We twirled six foot “tall flags” to the beat of our school’s award winning marching band. This meant hours on end of marching drills, back and forth across the school parking lot, to prep for field shows and band reviews. One of the worst “sins” I can remember was to be accused of “phasing”

Phasing: In addition to staying in step and marching uniformly, one of the challenges with playing in large outdoor arenas isphasing. This is when part of the band gets behind or ahead of another part of the band, and such an occurrence is sometimes called an ensemble tear.

Phasing meant you were doing things correctly and incorrectly at the same time. You could be marching along in perfect form, and yet completely out of sync with the rest of the band. It was always bad form to be phasing, especially with a six foot red flag.

But these days, I feel like phasing isn’t such a bad thing. After all, in scripture we are are reminded:

Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2


But you are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9

The more I ponder this spiritual “phasing” though, the more I struggle with how my life can impact others when lived in a vacuum. My soul phasing gives me cause to reflect on whether the spiritual steps I march during the week, boldly and at my own pace — but also lived out in the comfort of my controlled environment, are marred by the moments I choose to get with the “secular” program around me when I’m out in the “real world”.

This is one of those, “I don’t have an answer” moments. Perhaps being aware of the phasing, the “out of step intentionally” moments and knowing when to choose them is part of the battle. As with band and flags, part of the solution is practicing, marching back and forth so often that the “routine” becomes a physical part of your being, a reflexive maneuver that is ingrained in your soul. And I clearly need to spend many more hours in the spiritual drilling phase.

And you? Do you ever have these moments of being “out of step” with the world around you? What’s your resolution? Or are you simply content to march to the beat of your own drummer?

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About Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa Hendey is the founder and webmaster of CatholicMom.com and the author of The Grace of YesA Book of Saints for Catholic Moms and The Handbook for Catholic Moms. Lisa writes for several online and print publications, enjoys speaking around the country and is a frequent television and radio guest and host. Visit her at LisaHendey.com and connect with her at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram.

  • http://dignitasmagazine.com Catherine P.

    In my experience, I often go back and forth between desiring/ needing to be more withdrawn from the distractions and noise of the world, and wanting to be more active in being that “salt and light” in the world. These cycles actually end up feeding each other—whenever I take time to just walk one-on-one with Christ for a time, I usually end up discovering things I want to then go out and share with others.

  • http://joyalive.net Nancy H C Ward

    Yes, living in the world but not of it is a balancing miracle. I handle it better at times when I am alert to the spiritual ballet around me. When I feel our of sync I try to discern if I am true to my beliefs and that’s why I am out of phase. When I feel our of place I can take courage in knowing that all the saints were out of place in the world they lived in, yet they persevered. The trick is to stay out of sync when we need to and thus be a witness of the Truth.