Growing up when I was uncertain about something I simply needed to ask my parents and I would receive a satisfactory answer. If I was not content I would ask again, “but why?” “but how?” This same thing was true for most of my faith related questions; if I had any questions regarding God or the way the world worked or any biblical accounts. I only needed to ask and I would find an answer that would satiate my questioning.
I was not prepared for the questions that had no clear answers that I would face as I matured. The season of questioning thrust me into a season of doubt, a process of deconstruction. As a result I went through a two-year long season of spiritual dryness and distance from God. I questioned God’s work here on earth, I questioned my ability to hear him, and his will for my life. I felt very alone. Because the pillars I used to rely on for spiritual sustenance were dashed by ideas and experiences I encountered in the world.
The confusion was so jarring, I prayed to God “if you truly are the loving and sovereign God that you say you are; I don’t doubt I will find you at the end of this season of confusion. But right now, I don’t have enough faith in you to keep going.” So I stopped doing all the things I believed to be spiritual. I stopped praying, I stopped talking in Christian metaphors, I stopped reading my bible, I stopped attending Christian events, and if I did would not sing along.
Deconstruction of faith for some can happen in an instant; for others, it’s a gradual progression.
Deconstruction of faith can either lead to deeper faith in God or utter disbelief in God. What is deconstruction? From my experience and observation, it is the moment or season we discover things about our faith that may not seem congruent with our experience. It is when we spot the bad theology and dogma for what it is and admit to the falsities we’ve absorbed over the years. Oftentimes it proves to be a jarring and uncomfortable experience. Largely because deconstruction of faith involves a dangerous kind of honesty. The one which admits unbelief in God or what we’ve learnt about Him from others.
A miracle was what I needed.
Try I might, I could not conjure up trust in God. Nor was I strong enough to pray for myself. Two things are important to understand when we witness deconstruction of faith within ourselves or in the lives of a loved one. Firstly, deconstruction shows us that faith in God is a miracle, an anomaly, a gift from God. In my experience I attributed my faith to all the “good” things I did in my younger years. Scripture reminds us; “for by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” And Secondly, deconstruction of faith in the hands of God is a tool for building humility within and freedom from idolatry outside.
Although we might panic when doubts arise, God is not fazed by our lack of faith.
The issue is not deconstruction. It is the purpose of that doubt in our faith. What is God trying to do in our lives by allowing us to discover these things? Does he want to liberate us from the chains of dogma and bad theology and idolatry? Most likely. Deconstruction is a means for God to be benevolently good to us. I can testify to that fact that deconstruction has resulted in me discarding unbiblical beliefs about my faith in exchange for new trust in Jesus.
I see that my willingness to be honest about the state of my heart gave room for God to move in mercy and restore new understanding, and miraculous trust in Jesus. My hope for you is that you would come away from this hard season knowing that God is merciful, and unfazed by the messiness of deconstruction. The miracle of trust in God is not something we can cook up, no. It is a gift that he bestows to the broken hearted, the poor in spirit, the needy and seekers of truth.