I am my last blog post I spoke about some the struggles I have been having with my health and how they have started to impact my mental health and faith. When I started talking to other people about this, I would explain that I am going through a time of reconstructing my faith however, upon further review, I have realised this is not true.
I want to be in a place of faith reconstruction but my reality is that I am actually in a place of deconstruction. When I was at university, we studied some life and faith development. There are multiple steps in the process and not everyone enters into all of them and many don't ever reach the last few stages.
Stage 5 - the second last stage - is called 'conjunctive faith'. People who are in this stage are often in their 30's or older and have found a comfortable place in their faith whereby they don't have all the answers but accept that some will just never be found. They are also open to hearing about other people's faiths as it might help inform their own beliefs.
The final stage is called 'universalising faith'. Supposedly, it is rare for someone to reach this stage of faith development at all. The examples given of people who have are Mother Teresa and Ghandi (note this is not just based on the Christian faith). People at this stage can become important religious teachers because they have the ability to relate to anyone at any stage and from any faith. They are able to relate without condescension but at the same time are able to challenge the assumptions that those of other stages might have.
When I was uni, I would put myself somewhere between these two final stages. My faith was solid. It had been tested many times and in many ways and each time it had been challenged, instead of losing it, I found the situation or circumstances, including dealing with chronic illness, just shaped it differently and changed the way I understood myself, my faith and God.
Nothing has happened in the last few weeks or months that would cause my faith to be shaped or lost yet one day I literally woke up and realised my faith was almost completely gone. I felt like a huge part of me was just gone! It might have happened gradually without me realising but it felt like one day it was there, and the next it wasn't and it came as quite a shock. As a result of this, I thought I must be at rock bottom when it came to my faith, so the only way was up - reconstruction could begin.
I have been trying to reconstruct my faith for the last 2-3 weeks but have realised that I have not moved any further forward, in fact, I feel like I have gone backwards, tearing down more of the strong walls of faith and knowledge that surround me until I am left completely exposed. There are more walls to come down yet and to be completely honest, it terrifies me. I feel naked and exposed and lost in a place without walls to guide me from one room to the next but I also know that until all the walls are down, I can't start to rebuild.
As this is a Christian blog post, and I am working on making that my solid identity again, let's get biblical for a moment. I am sure that if you have spent even a month in some sort of Sunday school, you will be familiar with the parable of the men who built their houses. One on rock and the other on sand. The guy who built his house on the sand finished quickly but the walls weren't strong because the foundation wasn't solid enough. The guy who built his house on the rock took longer but when the storms and flood came, his house was the only one still remaining once they had passed.
Since realising my faith has been dwindling I panicked so I quickly started to build a new house but the foundation was the same as it was when the walls of faith came tumbling down before. Looking back now, I am not surprised that I have struggled so much to rebuild the house on the foundations I was using! I was so eager to REconstruct that I failed to complete the DEconstruction process first. So here I am, tearing down everything I knew and believed and holding on to that last bit of faith that God is there and strong enough to handle me pulling Him apart and putting Him back together again.
If you are feeling similarly to me at the moment for whatever reason, I would love to hear from you. We can do this journey together. You can reach me on social media or email me (Laura) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
p.s. apologies for any grammar or spelling mistakes. I don't like editing at the best of times but I wanted this to be raw and real and I knew that if I read it back, I would delete and change things so here it is in it's purest form.
Posted: 19/08/2020 10:23:53 by
You Belong Filed under: chronic, deconstruction, faith, illness