When I look back through the backlog of topics I’ve written about on here, one thing is abundantly clear: I’ve written on a lot of heavy stuff! (#SorryNotSorry). While you could be forgiven for thinking I’m constantly sitting on a rock, looking at the stars and stroking my chin like some contemplative stone statue, in truth that’s not me at all. I just carve out a few hours a week to be a nerd. And. I. Love. It. But its time for something happy and simple. So today I’m popping out a bit of encouragement for you: if you are going through deconstruction right now, then fear not. Life and faith post deconstruction can be pretty great.
This week, I was talking to a beautiful friend who is just beginning on this journey. I guess I’m optimistic that for her, the deconstruction process won’t be so much like a rug brutally ripped out from under her feet, toppling a well-ordered world. I hope it will be a little more gentle, a little more hopeful. Hey – I might be way off mark, but a girl can hope, right?
However you approach your deconstruction journey, I want to say there’s hope. Many people who find themselves undergoing this dramatic internal reinvention go on to find deep satisfaction in life and faith. My deconstruction was brutal. But my life now is so deeply satisfying. In the beginning, it felt like all ashes. My world felt burned to the ground. But now, to quote the cliché, beauty has come out of it.
The thing each of us must know is this: you don’t begin a deconstruction journey unless you knew that something wasn’t right and that you had to figure out what and why.
You might not tell yourself this explicitly. It might be something that happens on a subconscious level. It might be something kicked off by conflict or circumstance. But there is a reason for the search. There’s no avoiding that. So you best lean in and strap in, friend.
I’ve met people who are trying their hardest not to go on the deconstruction journey. Eventually, they all find this to be futile. If you find yourself avoiding that pull, its because there is something that needs looking at. There is some soul-sore festering in there and it wants your attention.
But no matter the hardship that lead you there, beauty can come out of it. You can stay a Christian if you want to. You don’t have to walk away from everything. But taking a microscope to your belief system in the service of finding deeper truth just is not a bad thing. If anything, it can lead you into deeper authenticity and happiness.
The Peace Barometer
I love how Marie Kondo’s decluttering method seems to have taken the world by storm. She asks “Does this item spark joy?” If it doesn’t, then we thank it and it goes. Regardless of how you feel about your clutter, or the little sprite who floats into people’s homes and helps clean them, its not a bad approach. I guess, spiritually, my deconstruction journey was a little bit Marie Kondo.
I started comparing things against Romans 14:17 – That the kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. I started comparing everything against that. But even within this, we can tell ourselves that our actions are right in the sight of God, and that settles the righteousness conflict. We can even tell ourselves that we are happy and joyful (although if you are about to start deconstructing, then you know this isn’t true).
For me, the one thing I could never manufacture was peace. Therefore, peace became the thing I measured everything against. The other two, righteousness and joy, factored in but I could convince myself I had both to a certain degree. But if peace was missing then I knew I had issues.
As Christians, we accept a lot of what we are told, because the people rocking our pulpits occupy such a place of respect and honour in our lives. Yet a persons walk with God is such a deeply personal experience. No one does it for you. Its you and God. From here to eternity. Over the years, I had become deeply uncomfortable with some of those things. I could believe them to amount to righteousness. But I did not feel peace and I did not feel joy.
So I had some questions to ask. For example, some of them looked like this:
- Does dominionism bring peace? Does it bring joy? Does it make the world better?
- Does the constant work of ministry bring peace and joy? Does it make me a better ambassador for Christ, or just a tired, cranky, legalistic one?
- Do I have to support “Christian” politicians and their anti-immigration policies just because I too am a Christian? Does it bring me peace? Does it bring me joy to support such suffering? (if so…WHYYYYYY?)
- And for a particularly touchy one – Do I have to be homophobic and transphobic just because I’m a Christian? Does this bring me peace? Does it bring me joy?
There were so many questions asked. These are just four examples. Everyone’s answers will likely be different. Mine were “no, no, no and no.” So I looked to the Bible. I searched. I listened to podcasts. I read books. I talked to other deconstructors to normalise what I was going through (important step, this!). I leaned into the process. I’m so thankful my hubby was there with me, because I’m sure he’d have gotten CRAZY sick of me if he wasn’t.
I’ve learned that if peace cannot be found, then something needs to change. Just because something is preached at us doesn’t mean it is truth. (Take that with a grain of salt. There are so many wonderful, wise, theologically strong pastors and leaders out there. I’m so blessed to have some of them in my life and my life is better for it. But that does not erase the fact that authority figures can be prone to error and dogma, and when the two combine, we have bad theology that does great damage.)
Chase peace. Chase joy. Chase righteousness. The truth is that the human conscience is a gift from God. It points us to truth when the external stimuli can be so aggressively pointing us to error. If your conscience is telling you something is amiss, then lean in to that. It is never wrong. It can be muted, but never wrong.
Post-deconstruction: love-based faith not fear based religion.
I can’t even begin to explain the depth and breadth of my deconstruction journey. It was big. I can tell you this though: I have peace and I’m happy. I will always carry grief. But that is true for anyone who has faced loss. We don’t stop grieving. We just grow a bigger life around it, and we find joy in appreciating the things that grew into our lives after loss seemed to prune us back.
I don’t feel anxious on Sunday mornings. I don’t feel anxious when I disagree with something said from the pulpit. I serve in a church and it brings me joy to do so. I grapple with how best to raise my children, but I have peace knowing we all do, and that if I keep faith and conscience at the centre of it then I can’t go too far wrong. I don’t feel that clench in my chest when I look at the politics section of the news. I feel calm, knowing I’m right where I need to be and the rest is God’s problem.
Even when there is a challenge that comes my way, there is a peace there that I never had before and that’s a truly beautiful thing.
This past weekend, my husband and I dealt with two sick kids and a list of odd jobs as long as our arms. I was leading songs at church and I knew it was going to be a tough gig because I had skeleton staff on the band, was multitasking far more than is practical, and half the church was away at a wedding across the other side of the state. I knew it wasn’t going to be the most earth-moving worship service. But I didn’t feel anxious. I felt peace. The word brought at church had a gentle challenge in it, but I did not feel crushed or at odds. I felt empowered to look at it and let it sink in. In amongst the domestic madness, my husband found moments to look at each-other, look at our kids and feel truly blessed and in love with our little family.
That’s not something that I could have had while I was at odds with myself, my faith and my expression of Christianity. But oh its a blessing now that the deconstruction journey is less intense.
I hope to deconstruct and reconstruct my faith constantly over the years to follow, because I always want my faith to reflect Christ, to be a sweet fragrance to those my life may touch, and to be authentically, peacefully, and joyfully me. Don’t fear deconstruction, friend. Lean in to it. Good things can come out of it.
So that’s me! I hope it encourages you. If you are on a deconstruction journey, then I hope you find support here. Hit me up if you have any questions as I love helping deconstructors if I can in any way – even if that’s linking you with resources.
Anyway! I’ve got to go do some real work. You have a wonderful week.
Kit K. Over and Out
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