There’s a popular trend within the church of young people “deconstructing” their beliefs in regards to the Bible. Alisa Childers (apologist) defines faith deconstruction as, “the process of systematically dissecting and often rejecting the beliefs you grew up with.”
Deconstructing your faith can either propel you forward or it can pull you back!
Faith deconstruction can pull you back from faith because you allow your opinions about it to trump scripture’s meaning of it. You may manipulate the meaning of scripture’s truth to fit your own feelings about it. “What’s true for me, is truth for me.” Now, another side of it can be fruitful. The fruitful side of faith deconstructing is when you reconstruct it alongside the Bible, with God and among believers in Christ. This will propel your faith forward making a stronger connection to God because you are asking and seeking. The Bible says those who ask and seek will find. Find what? Find Him.
I Deconstructed my faith 4 years ago
However, instead of rejecting the beliefs I grew up with… I decided to re-learn them, biblically. Not through my own opinion/feelings or popular preacher at the time, rather looking closely to the Bible and learning how to understand it. Instead of only listening to “pump-up” sermons, I decided to follow teachers that explained the Bible and how to read it. Although I’d never ever use the word “deconstructing”, I’d say I dedicated more time to “dissecting” scripture to better understand it. I chose to biblically understand it not merely just follow what people told me or what I told myself was “true”. This is a practice I continue to process. To ask questions. Then seek God for answers through understanding his Word and being convicted and comforted by it. Opening my heart to truth regardless of how I feel at the time about it. A fruitful process in growing our faith in THE truth not just “our own” truth.
Deconstruct your faith, BUT don’t LOSE it!
If you’re searching for biblical understanding – you’re in the right spot. God answers those who earnestly seek and believe in him!
Resources that continue to help me understand the Bible:
Seeking God is not in vain if you seek: humbly, wholeheartedly and in faith that he will answer you.
What a joy it is to know God wants us to find him because he wants to be found. He wants a relationship with us. He is a forgiving and grace-giving God waiting for us to acknowledge, admit and adhere to his love. Our part is to realize we are in need of him; the start to seeking.
I grew up in a Christian, God-serving, church-going household and I am forever grateful for my upbringing as my parents guided me to faith. Growing up, I also grew very passionate about playing basketball with the goal to receive a scholarship to play in university. In 2007, I achieved that goal and accomplished a great rookie year. However, the academic side of school became a huge stress in my life and basketball became more of a job than a sport I loved. I started to question my own happiness and wondered where God was in all of this. I worked so hard, yet became so unhappy. Aren’t “Christians” happy people? I’d often ask myself. I realized I needed help beyond myself. I needed God.
Seeking begins with a realization we cannot save ourselves.
Summer of 2008, I cried out to God in desperation to find this “inner peace” and “joy” I heard so many times in church. Why hadn’t I found this to be true for me? I went straight to the source – God in prayer. Laying it all out, my fears, disappointments and feelings. Then, after much prayer, I decided to take a year off to learn about my identity as a Christ-follower instead of a basketball player.
Seek and you will find.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
I sought God in prayer, surrendering my scholarship or what else I knew to give me happiness in exchange to learn more about following him. So, I asked God for three things: the ability to keep training my basketball skills (to keep the option of playing again probable), to get a job and to travel. Within three weeks of this surrendering prayer, God answered me. I received a job as an assistance basketball coach, whilst on the side being trained by the head coach. As well as, working as a front desk clerk for GoodLife Fitness (which included a free membership). Then a friend invited me to join her to volunteer for a bible school called, “Youth with a Mission” (YWAM) in the Sunshine Coast of Australia. God gave me the three specific things I asked for in prayer (basketball training, a job and travel). To me that was confirmation that God heard my prayer. Now, it was my turn to learn about following him…
I took the year off to travel and seek God.
I took a year off of university and set off in January 2009 to travel with YWAM in Australia. During my time volunteering with the Bible school I got to sit in all the Bible lectures teaching me about how to have a personal relationship with Jesus.
One day I can remember the moment that all my seeking came to a halt because the presence of God met me. It was during a worship song and prayer time. I felt so discouraged that I made all this effort to serve God and I still didn’t feel he was near. I became mad and left the room towards a bathroom stall to pout. Then I prayed again, “God, why aren’t you answering me? Don’t you see all my effort I am doing to pursue you???” I will never forget the immediate answer I felt in my heart from the Lord that day. I heard within my Spirit God say, “Emily, you are here becauseI pursued you”.
God is always in Pursuit of you.
God wants a relationship, a two-way-street. He wants us to respond to his pursuit of love for us. For me, I realized he wanted more than just faith, he wanted my participation or willingness to allow him to change me. The moment I realized he wanted my participation was the moment our relationship became real. He wasn’t forcing me to follow him, he was waiting for me to say “yes”.
You seeking him is a response to that initial pursuit of his.
Saying “yes” to God means repenting of our sins and adhering to his will. We learn about his will through reading the the Bible. Understanding God’s character makes his presence more known than simply waiting on a physical “feeling” to emerge.
The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
I am more aware of the presence of God because of how much more I know about him. And one thing I know about him is that he calls us to seek him diligently (Proverbs 8:17) and continually (1 Chronicles 16:11). In all things and in any circumstance he is there and he is approachable because his love for us came before our love for him.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Deciding to take that year off changed the course of my life and my faith for the better. As it lead to another month of travel and yet another bible school with YWAM in Montana, USA, called: Summer of Sports. Continuing my training on the court whilst training spiritually off the court.
After that year off, I was able to return to my university basketball scholarship and finish my degree. What a miracle that was! Praise God!
Why I share my story.
I share part of my life to encourage you that when you seek God with your whole heart, your seeking is not in vain. Every time I go back to God, whether its in a life-crisis or a day’s stresses, he answers me. He answers me in peace to not understand why some things happen and others don’t. In joy, knowing I am secure in my eternal fate or in friendships and community when I experience change and transition. The Christian life isn’t a perfect one but it is a content one, which was the most important thing I’ve learned in my year of seeking God. As I understood that my identity is not in my ability to play basketball or in my ability to make people like me, but it’s found in the acceptance of Jesus Christ.
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment,
What about you? Are you seeking God, willing to trust he’ll find you?
Are you seeking? Searching, pursuing, thinking, mediating, or striving after God in order to be found? As we seek God in faith, we trust that he answers us in the best way possible. Trusting God knows us better than we know ourselves, which includes the answers and outcomes of our prayers. We can be uncertain of how God will answer, but certain that he does answer. There is not an if he will answer but a HOW he will answer, which is the beauty of faith. When we trust in the character of God and rely on the previous testimonies of how he met us before (or others we know, or people in the Bible), we are more willing and continually able to seek him again and again.
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
This photo was taken in September of 2016, newly married, and almost about to summit my first mountain with my husband. I have a huge smile on my face for many reasons. 1. conquering a mountain 2. overcoming my fear of heights and 3. sharing it with my husband. But right before this moment, there was an intense portion of the climb for me. It started to rain. A rope was dangling ready for us to use to tackle a steep section of wet rock. Trembling in doubt and then fear, I told my husband, “I don’t think I can do this.” My husband’s response, in his calm, cool, and collected manner was, “you don’t have to”.
Committing is a Choice
I am reminded of that moment because being on the trail is a choice. It is a choice to follow Jesus and to commit to changing your ways to knowing and becoming more like him. It is a choice because it is also a relationship.
Because of the relationship I have with my husband I trusted in my ability because he was there with me. I overcame my fear that day and finished the treacherous climb of Golden Ears Mountain.
One Path – Different Journey
There is only 1 path and its the same for all who commit their lives to Jesus. But two individuals on the same trail can have different experiences, perspectives, and strengths just like my husband and I that day. It was stormy for me, and not for him. A hard slog for me, and not for him. Comparing our journeys with other believer will keep us stuck, frozen and unable to move forward. Commit to your own journey with Christ and ask God to remove the temptation of comparison.
I pray that you continue to step forward in your walk with God. Despite the fear you face and the lack of confidence you’ll have. I pray you will still persevere knowing Christ is with you.
I have been a follower of Jesus since I was around 4 years old. I cannot remember the exact moment of giving my life to Christ and at the same time I also cannot remember ever doubting His existence. Sure, I’ve questioned His presence in my circumstances, current situations or struggles throughout my life. But never doubted His existence of being my Saviour and Creator – “being the way, the truth and the life”. There is something very faithful about God in that. He never left me believing He was “not there”. I always knew deep within my soul that he was there and alive with me. Jesus is the way, the truth and the Life. I believe this to be true.
Commit to the Trail
Committing your heart to Jesus means to repent of your sins and opening your heart to receive Jesus as your Saviour – forgiver of your sins (past, present and future). As well as, receiving this certainty of His existence and presence. This never leaving presence that is always in pursuit of you and your heart. The more I turn myself upward to God the more He turns INWARD to me. To gain more of God’s presence you must first believe that Jesus is the only Way, the only Truth and the only Life for you. Rejoice that there is a trail and Jesus created it for you to walk on. So you can have a lifetime of faith in His presence.
Jesus is our way to God – allow Him to mediate in your heart so you can have daily communion with Him. Despite what you encounter, endure on the trail you can rest in knowing you are never alone. The ever powerful, all-knowing, full of love and the creator of the world: God, is always with you. For me, this has always been true and I walk more boldly, more confident and more in peace knowing He abides in me.
As I was reading in Genesis the Lord brought to my attention how easy it is for us to forget. We are human and more likely to think about ourselves more than others. Man forgets, God remembers. He remembers our pain, affliction and cries. When you feel forgotten OR are the ONE who forgets – know that you are not alone. Seek God because He remembered and forgave you when you’ve forgotten Him. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). He remembered us even though we didn’t deserve to be remembered. He bore our sins by dying for them. Man forgets, God remembers. Seek him in all things – especially in loving others.
“Yet, the chief cup-bearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.”
Joseph loved the Lord and found favor with Him. So when Joseph was deceived and thrown into prison for a crime he did not commit, the Lord was with him and “gave him favor in sight of the keeper of the prison (Gen 40:21).” The cup-bearer was thrown into prison by the King and had a dream that Joseph interpreted from the Lord. After Joseph shared the cup-bearer’s dream meaning he said to him, “only remember me, when it is well with you, and please do me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house (Gen 40:14).”
Man Forgets Joseph
Then later we read in verse 23, after the cup-bearer’s dream came true and he was returned to his duties to the King that he, “did not remember Joseph, but forgot him”. Joseph remained in prison.
Oh How We Forget
Man will forget, hey – man will fail just as we fail and forget others too… Just the other day I was so emotionally distraught and thinking about just getting through the day that I forgot my daughter’s backpack to preschool. The MAIN THING you NEED to remember for preschool!!! I, of course, remembered to bring mine… just not hers. We are selfish. We care more about our own agenda than our family’s. We care more about how we feel than how others feels. Oh how we forget!!!
Lord, as I walk along this trail I remember YOU who blazed it for me. Not because you wanted to control me and my life, but simply because you loved me enough to save me from my own sin of selfishness and fleshly desires. I pray that you will teach me to remember others and to think of others more highly than myself. Just as you thought of me when you died for me.
Man forgets – God remembers. You are not forgotten.
But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.
God is calling us to trust Him despite what we do not know. In Proverbs 3:5 it says, “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding“. I believe by changing our mindset from confusion to curiosity begins the process of trusting God. Let’s take a look at the difference between confusion and curiosity and why we should stay curious and not confused.
Confusion arises when we lack the wisdom of understanding. For example,“why did this happen to me?” Circling around the same problem hoping for a different outcome. By definition confused/confusion means, “lack of understanding; uncertainty” and “unable to think clearly”. If we allow ourselves to stay confused, unable to think clearly, we become angry. This anger can grow into bitterness. Bitterness towards God because of our own lack of understanding and lack of trust. This not only effects our faith but our attitudes towards those around us.
Curiosity by definition means, “eager to know or learn something”. I may not understand why something happened to me, but I can learn more about God through it. Curiosity gives traction to God while confusion distracts us from God. What is good for us is not to know everything, instead, we aim to know God who does. Let’s start with learning to lean on Him through a curiosity of His character not a confusion of our circumstances.
I trust in God and lean on His understanding because of what I lack. I may be angry and I may have questions. But, I do not let that stop me from pursuing God. Especially, since I know God gives and takes away, Job 1:21. I accept the hard truths even if I don’t understand them at the time. For who knows more than God? So, why would I assume I know better than He? I am curious of who God is despite my struggle, suffering and unknown plans of my life.
I stay curious about God through the uncertainty of my circumstances.
Trust in the Lord for He is good His love endures forever.
The WWJD question cannot be answered if we don’t know Him. For example, sometimes when I want to make a decision I ask myself, “What would Landon do?” (my husband), because I respect him and know he is a man of integrity so I trust his actions. I can assume what his answer would be because I know him well.
Trusting the integrity of Jesus – having faith that He has every answer
Knowing Him well enough to make decisions (big or small) in a timely manner
To better understand the character behind the bracelet we bring back our Bibles for answers.
“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” 2 Peter 1:2
Luke 5:15-16: “Yet the news about him spread all the more. So that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
When Jesus began His ministry on earth at the age of 33, he began teaching through His authority as Christ and healing the sick wherever he went. Word spread and people would swarm him with illnesses asking him to heal them. I love what this passage says in verse 16, “But, Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed”.
There is a reminder here for everyone and especially for those leading in ministry. Perhaps your ministry is overwhelming and your time is limited with higher pressures and responsibilities. The only time you get to be alone with God is when you are asking Him to prepare a teaching, a meeting, a presentation, or to deliver a biblical response to the public. Even though the pressures to heal and teach were part of Jesus’ ministry, He purposely withdrew to pray alone and he did so often. He withdrew while there were masses of people still crowding Him asking him for healing. If Jesus needed to withdraw to spend time with God, then we ought to as well.
Larry King interviewed Billy Graham, a famous Christian evangelist who saved many lives around the world through his preaching of the Gospel. Shortly after his 80th birthday, Larry King said, “It must be rewarding to you to look back on your life and not have to live with regrets.” Yet Dr. Graham’s response was surprising, “I am the greatest failure of all men. I was too much with men and too little with God. I was too busy with business meetings and even conducting services. I should have been more with God, and people would’ve sensed God’s presence about me when they were with me.”
Spending time with God was the main reason He got you this far and perhaps now that there is growth in your ministry the responsibilities and pressures are even higher. So the focus has become more about your performance and less about God’s presence.
If Jesus often withdrew to pray then we must too. There is freedom in saying no to the world in order to be with God. It is through Him that works through us anyway. Even if you are not leading in ministry this should still encourage you with any vocation you’re in. Have you let personal performance become more important than seeking God’s presence? Make time in your day to pray. Do so often.