My mother recently moved off of our family farm where I grew up and where my family had lived since the early 1900's. It was a place full of life, love and laughter. I felt an odd, unusual feeling walking through the rooms and the grounds that once held my childhood. A place that formed me into who I am today. No longer were there familiar faces, recognizable objects but more a sense of emptiness. The countless moments of life played through my mind in vivid pictures unknowing when I would recall them again. Tears crept up thinking about the experiences that meant so much to not only me but my family and friends.
It was in this time of reflection, silence and sadness that I felt blessed and thankful for what had been. I realized those moments I cannot have back, for time had passed and the sun had set on that part of my life. However the sadness was also filled with happiness for I knew these walls would again be filled with life, love and laughter, just from a different family. And my mother who had lived most of her life there was also moving on to a more appropriate setting for her in this stage of her life.
Moving forward in our life from what we previously loved and lived is hard. Sometimes life changing events force us onward while other times its a slow decision making process that eventually leads us.
Our faith journey's are also similar as we grow into new understandings and insights that change our pathways from what we had known. We try to hold onto the past as if it is the present but ultimately realize it does not hold the same weight as it once had.
It doesn't mean our previous experiences were not good or beneficial but just we have changed. It is a process called faith deconstruction. It's arduous and terrifying. Accepting this process is difficult and challenging as we come into who we will be and understanding what and how we believe. Truly examining what our current and past beliefs have been is ultimately what our faith journey's are about. Its living out our faith with a trust in the divine to lead us.
So let's explore faith deconstruction and reconstruction.
Deconstructing Your Faith
As I said earlier deconstructing your faith can be difficult however it can also be extremely powerful and rewarding. It focuses our attention on why and what we believe. It also helps us understand how we approach our beliefs and others. Studies indicate about 44% of people will go through a major faith transition in their life.
There is assumption among some that deconstructing your faith means you will lose it. That is not necessarily the case. Just check out this article from Relevant Magazine titled, "How to Deconstruct Your Faith Without Losing It" to learn more about the process. The vital part of deconstruction is reconstruction. It's important we do not just throw everything out but systematically look through and build back what fits for this time in your life. Many churches think deconstruction is just slowly moving away from biblical teachings and ultimately toward atheism. However that is not actually the case. People are questioning anyways and need others to walk with them on this journey. There is a hope and renewal that takes place when we examine and build our beliefs.
Trent Bell, founder of Vast Noodle, has numerous awesome videos about examining, deconstructing, and rebuilding your faith. Check out this one titled, "Why You Don't Agree With Your Beliefs Pt. 1".
Stepping Into What's Right For You
I know it sounds counterintuitive but examining, deconstructing, etc. can actually cause you to step further into your faith. The questioning of what you thought or believed usually causes us to dig deeper for answers. This searching process can be excruciating! But it can also be reinvigorating as you come into new insights and understandings that fit for you and your current faith development.
Author and blogger, Rachel Held Evans recently passed away. We mourn the loss of this wonderful, spirited woman who brought much thought and discussion to theological circles around the world. Her books "Faith Unraveled" and "Searching for Sunday" shares great depth into the process of working through doubts in our faith and how to find what is right for you.
Questions to Consider
What events in your life have pushed you into new pathways?
What theological beliefs are challenging to you or you are questioning?
How have your beliefs changed since you were a child?
What church practices or beliefs still connect you to God or your faith?
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This week ponder your faith development and what questions still linger on the forefront of your mind. Search for answers and others understandings.
The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Community of Christ. We believe individuals should be allowed to have their own opinions and be at different places in their faith journey.