If you’ve ever worked on a car engine, you know that it’s a messy process. You have to take it apart piece by piece, clean up the parts, repair them, or even replace them completely. However, when it’s all done, you can put it back together and have a working engine again.
Faith deconstruction is a little like working on a car engine. It’s a time to take apart your belief system piece by piece and evaluate whether or not the things you used to believe align with what you believe today.
Depending on your experience, this may feel like a scary thing. It’s not an easy process. However, with time and grace, you can come out on the other side with a stronger and more authentic faith. Keep in mind that others may not fully understand your process or journey. They may feel threatened and think that you are “leaving the faith”, when that simply may not be true. Sometimes we are taught things that are taken out of context or are man-made constructs that don’t actually align with the truth of God’s word. For example, some churches teach that women can not and should not preach, others teach that dancing is wrong and sinful. If you believe everything you hear blindly, you may be believing a man’s opinion over the truth, and this is exactly why it’s important to really think about what it is you believe, and WHY you believe it.
In this guide, we’re going to make faith deconstruction less scary and talk about how to do it in a way that isn’t too overwhelming.
You Are Not Alone in Your Faith Deconstruction
The first thing to keep in mind is that you are not alone in your faith deconstruction. It can feel like an extremely lonely process to question what you believe in, especially if those around you are not going through the same process.
When you begin to question the things you were taught to believe, it can change how you look at your church, family, friends, upbringing, and leaders. At times, it’s hard to stay in the same community when your personal beliefs are changing so much. Part of your faith deconstruction may include realizing that you went through some things that were actually unhealthy, like spiritual abuse.
This is what can make the process seem scary, and at times, lonely. All of a sudden, the old ways and things you used to believe and think don’t work for you anymore, and you feel like you stick out like a sore thumb in your community.
Again, you are not alone, even when the process feels lonely. We are in a time of great change in the church, which has led thousands of people to deconstruct their faith. If there is no one in your community that you can talk to, there are amazing online communities you can plug into, like our Facebook group.
If you are feeling lonely, try to find someone you trust that you can talk to about your process. Ideally, it should be someone that has been through their own spiritual deconstruction. They will be able to give you advice on how to navigate it.
When you realize that you aren’t alone in the faith deconstruction process, it helps you feel more confident in your personal journey.
Questions to Ask As You Deconstruct Your Faith
As I said above, faith deconstruction is a process where you examine the things you’ve been taught to believe, examine them and take them apart, and then identify what you still believe. It’s also called spiritual deconstruction or evangelical deconstruction in some churches.
You may realize that you don’t agree with what you learned in youth groups anymore, or that you don’t spiritually align with an old pastor anymore. How do you evaluate your faith and decide what beliefs you agree with, and which ones you don’t? First, you need to identify your core beliefs and where they came from.
Go back through your memories and pull out the lessons you were taught in church, your family, youth group, and the culture you grew up in. Next, look at each belief individually and ask yourself these questions:
- Do I still believe this or agree with it?
- Is this belief healthy for me or harmful to me?
Once you answer these questions, you can determine if your old beliefs are still aligned with what you believe today, or if they need to be replaced.
Is God Upset About Faith Deconstruction?
I personally do not believe that faith deconstruction upsets God. The Father Heart of God is always loving and accepting. He is bigger than our doubts and questions.
In fact, God wants your belief in Him to be authentic. Our faith becomes more real to us when we work out what we really believe instead of just regurgitating what we were taught.
What might make this process seem scary is the fear that you are challenging God himself (and his written word), when in actual fact, deconstructing has more to do with challenging man’s interpretation of God’s word (especially if the interpretation has been used to abuse and control) and challenging the things that you’ve believed that actually may not be the full truth.
The faith deconstruction process can actually be a time where you grow closer to God. As you study scripture and different beliefs, the truth about who God is will become more real to you.
I have gone through a couple of faith deconstructions, and each time I come out stronger in my faith and closer to the Lord.
How to Feel Less Overwhelmed in Your Faith Deconstruction Journey
We don’t always ask to go through a faith deconstruction. Sometimes it happens because of something we experienced in our church community, a traumatic event in our lives or in the world, or because God leads you to rethink some things.
It’s important to remember that faith and doubt are not complete opposites from each other. Some churches only emphasize having faith and tell you to rid yourself of any doubts. However, our doubts are very human, and God created us to think through things for ourselves.
The first way to make your faith journey less overwhelming is to eliminate any guilt you feel about it. Remember that this is a common and healthy experience. However, it’s going to be messy, so you need to give yourself grace too.
The other thing to remember is that everyone’s faith deconstruction looks different. You don’t need to follow a certain path or deconstruct everything at once just because that’s how others have done it. Rely on the Lord to lead you in your deconstruction.
Let’s Open Up a Conversation
I would love to hear where you are at with your faith deconstruction. Feel free to leave comments or reach out to me. If you need someone to talk to while you go through this experience, you can book a one-on-one heart healing ministry session with me.
Author: Anna Harris