How To Deconstruct Your Faith Without Losing It

It was 9 years ago now that I unknowingly started my journey of deconstructing. It all happened when God told me to move to Texas and volunteer at a little church in Houston. I didn’t know a soul in Texas, yet I packed my bags, left my native country (Canada) and started on an adventure of a lifetime. 

Little did I know this journey would be full of twists and turns. This church that I volunteered at taught on the Father Heart of God, and how we are all Sons and Daughters of God. They taught about our true identity in Christ and what it means to be a part of God’s family. Standard stuff right? Not quite. 

See, before I was introduced to these teachings, I didn’t realise that most of my life I had a very religious view of God. I saw Him as a being up in the sky who was always watching to see if I was doing the right thing. He felt distant and uninterested in my life. I always felt a slight pressure to have to please Him and I did this by “following the rules” and being a “good girl” and serving at church. Although these things aren’t bad, I was doing it from a place of striving and performance. As if I had to earn His love and approval by doing all the right things. I thought “if I’m good enough and do the right things, God will shine his favour on me and maybe I’ll get some of my prayers answered”. Oh, I was so wrong. 

What I didn’t know is that BECAUSE I’m a daughter of God, I live FROM a place of approval instead of for it. I am already approved by God, my Father, and there’s nothing that I could do to make him love me more than he already does. And that’s the truth, But why didn’t I feel this way right away?

Deconstructing Piece By Piece

What I didn’t realise is that my idea of God growing up came from two influences. The church (and church leaders) and my own perception of my earthly Father. Both influences play a large role in how we see Father God. I never stopped to discover God for myself. I was mostly relying on what my Pastor told me about Him instead of reading the bible for myself and learning about his character from the Word. 

I’ll give you an example, one of my beliefs growing up was that God was an angry God. Not because my natural dad was an angry guy, but because that’s what I was told from various bible stories. God sent a flood – angry. God sent plagues – angry. God sent angels to wipe out thousands of people – angry. I didn’t see that before these events occurred, God gave his people countless opportunities to repent and walk righteously. Yet, they always rebelled and turned from his loving kindness. 

Another example I can give you is the different theologies around healing that I learned in church. For a long time I was led to believe that the reason I wasn’t seeing more healings take place was due to a lack of faith on my part. I had to stop and ask myself “is this true”? It couldn’t be because I had also seen atheists receive their healings because a Christian laid hands on them. Well how can that be? Atheists don’t even believe in God. Surely God can’t do a miracle for someone who doesn’t even acknowledge Him, right? Wrong. I had to disassemble the beliefs I had around various topics (like healing) because what I was led to believe simply wasn’t true. Some of the theologies we are taught are man made and must be examined and measured by the Word of God. 

Know The Word and Your Values

Once you’ve deconstructed your faith, you’ll need to build it back up again. When doing this, you need to know:

  1. What the Word says to be true about God
  2. What your unique values are as a believer. 

To decide whether or not something is true, always measure it against the Word of God. The Word is God’s truth, and any theology or idea that doesn’t align with the Word can not stand.

Why is this important? Because sometimes man gets it wrong. There’s been countless times when the bible has been taken out of context, misinterpreted and used incorrectly, even used to abuse and manipulate people. Learning how to interpret the Bible for yourself is a great skill to have. Even learning how to dive into the original Hebrew and Greek language of the text is helpful for knowing the truth and being able to use and apply the Word of God in proper context.

Be Gracious To Yourself and Others

When going through a time of deconstructing it is normal to feel a flood of emotions. The truth is, you might feel mad, angry, frustrated, betrayed, hurt or even lost. This is normal because beliefs are the foundation to our lives, and if you find yourself in a season where those beliefs are being challenged, it will feel uncomfortable, maybe even unsafe. You might feel like your whole life is/was a lie. 

These feelings can be normal. You might even feel like you don’t want to trust your leaders for a season. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break, pressing “pause” and evaluating what you’ve been told and taught. 

I remember when I told my parents that I didn’t want to go to church with them for a season; they didn’t understand why. Neither did I at the time, but I just knew I needed a break. I think they might have thought that I was turning my back on God, but I wasn’t. I just knew I needed a break, and that more importantly, my relationship and right-standing with God was not conducive to my church attendance. There was so much freedom in knowing that God wouldn’t love me any less if I took a “time out” to reconnect with my faith outside of a church context. 

Another common feeling you might experience are feelings of anger at those who taught you those beliefs. You may feel like they tricked you or led you astray. Again, that may not be the case, or even their intent, but you have to remember that man isn’t perfect, and sometimes we miss it. Sometimes preachers get it wrong and can misinterpret the bible. This does happen sometimes, and it’s important to give yourself and others grace. You may have been young, you may have been naive, you may have been brought up with the best intentions, but sometimes our parents/leaders miss the mark. Release forgiveness where there needs to be forgiveness and ask God to lead you into His truths as you unlearn what you need to unlearn. 

How Not To Lose Your Faith In The Process

The most important thing to remember here is that God is God. Man is man. Man will fail you, but God never will. People may have let you down, led you astray, told you half truths, but God is not a man that he should lie. He is incapable of it. You can trust the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truths as we’re told in John 16:13. 

“But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth [full and complete truth]. For He will not speak on His own initiative, but He will speak whatever He hears [from the Father—the message regarding the Son], and He will disclose to you what is to come [in the future].”

The Holy Spirit is our perfect teacher and is incapable of teaching you incorrect theology, so ask Him to reveal the truth to you and believe what the Word says. The Word is the incorruptible Word and truth of who God is. Jesus only did what he saw His Father doing. That means we can look at Jesus’ example and build our beliefs around his Words and his ways. He never operated by man-made ideas, but he only did what His Father did – who is perfect. 

So remember, we can trust that God’s Word is truth. Unlearning certain things might feel scary and unsettling, but deconstructing can actually bring you closer to God than you were before. When we go through these times our faith can get even stronger because it has been tested and refined in the fire. Like pure pieces of gold, they must go through a refining period to burn all the impurities out. The gold must withstand a tremendous amount of heat and pressure, but then when it comes out of the refining process, it’s pure, solid and true. We are much like these pieces of gold. Sometimes God will draw us away to sift out what is of Him and what is not. Be gracious with yourself during these times knowing that when you get out, you’ll come out as pure gold. 

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