Prayer, Creativity & Faith

Cycles of Deconstruction

It’s lonely. You know you’re not the only one on this path yet most of the people on similar journeys are outside of church, or scattered around the country in different places, and you no longer have the comfort of gathering with other like-minded believers under one roof. Even if you find a new church home, you hold something back because you’re still feeling tentative and cautious.

It’s alienating. Many of those who encouraged you in the past now believe (silently or otherwise) that you are criticizing their choices and beliefs. Even people who try to maintain friendships across those lines are always aware that there’s an elephant in the room, but no one really wants to address it.

It’s hard. You feel compelled to share your experience, but you don’t want to hurt those who still choose to follow your former path. You may feel a bit of PTSD, and yet you know no one intended to hurt you, so you don’t feel justified to use terms like trauma, and yet that’s what it feels like.

It’s exhilarating. You finally feel true to your convictions. Your gut is no longer telling you that something is wrong. You feel free.

It’s scary. What if you’re being deceived? What if you truly *are* on the wrong path? What if everyone else was “right” and you’re fooling yourself? People still in that world are so convinced that they know the truth, and you’re not believing the same way, so maybe you really have walked away. Maybe you really don’t belong, here or anywhere.

It’s comforting. Jesus is still here. Your insides are no longer in constant turmoil. You can let go of the guilt and shame that drove you before, always making you feel like you were not enough or you didn’t believe enough because you weren’t like everyone else.

It’s humbling. Because you understand now that you were once arrogant enough to believe you knew best what you and everyone around you needed, and now you realize you were wrong, so you start to wonder what else you were wrong about.

It’s personal. It’s really all about your personal relationship with God, and your ways of thinking, and your beliefs about the nature and character of God. It’s good—and yet you don’t want to take other people with you down this path because it is hard, and lonely, and alienating, and all the other things. Yet not sharing your journey takes you back up to the top, and the cycle continues. Lonely, alienating, hard, exhilarating, scary, comforting, humbling, personal. Around and around it goes.

It’s necessary. You would never call the deconstruction process fun, but it’s important. Because once you start seeing your faith through new eyes, you can’t unsee. You can’t unthink. It becomes all-consuming… until one day it isn’t any longer. You will strike a tentative truce with the turmoil, finally understanding that the existence of doubt is not the same thing as a lack of faith. Exchanging your certainties for questions is a legitimate spiritual path, one you can still walk while holding tightly to Jesus’ hand. It may surprise you to discover that abiding with Jesus really truly does bring peace, and when you look back you’ll see He never left your side. Eventually you recognize this truth: You wouldn’t trade this journey for anything, and you are exactly where you need to be.

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