Updated: Sep 16, 2018
Peace within myself, or the journey to be able to see even glimpses of it, has been long but life changing. I grew up in a religious household. I was lost as a child; Lost to the God who would guide my path and lost to a church that followed a misconstrued and mishandled set of beliefs. This lost-ness led me to believe that I was a child who was not part of the popular group of kids because they participated in things that a “faithful Christian girl” should not do.
In college I would look back at my childhood and see myself as an introvert who was trying to follow God’s will. As a twenty-something I would look back on my childhood and feel regret for the absence of belonging I experienced. Starting in my thirties I would begin to deconstruct my evangelical upbringing, who I thought I was, and who I thought God was.
One of the key components I learned about myself was that I had no idea who I was and that the God I had been following was not saving me. He was this external being whose accessibility was limited by my faithfulness. I was tired and I was done. So, I stopped.
I un-volunteered from everything at my church; which for a single 29-year-old and Enneagram two, there was a lot to un-volunteer from. I was done with daily readings of the Bible. I was done with the guilt that I should be doing them. I was done Tithing. This was a big one for me. I had been taught to do it from the first day I was given an allowance. No matter how tight money got, if I would just tithe then God would make everything okay. I was done. If God was a God of grace, then I wanted to see Him still love me just as fervently whether I gave Him money or not. I was very angry, and I was very tired of waiting for God to show up. I was tired of believing in a faith that had so many rules that produced absolutely no results.
How do I feel safe and trust a God who isn’t speaking to me? Looking back, I think deep down I felt as if I was always failing at faith, but somehow, just skimming by helping others to see the greatness of God. I mentored younger girls and showed them the daily faith practices they needed to follow, even when those practices felt like work to me. I assumed that’s how it was supposed to be, that one day the daily faith practices magically turned into life giving moments. This was the beginning of my journey. This was the beginning of my deconstruction.
Writing these words feels surreal, triggering, and relieving. Peace can be a rare state of being and there can be so much peace on the other side of deconstructing a set of beliefs that were handed down to you or forced on you.
I want to let you and others know that there is a life fueled by grace and hope on the other side of the journey. If you are a person who feels trapped inside a repressive community, know that you are valuable simply because you are a unique individual, you are enough, and you are not alone.
Grace & Hope