If you haven’t already heard of deconstructionism from Josh Harris’ shocking Instagram caption where he denounced his faith or from the hoards of church-reared Millennials who are in the “deconstruction” phase, I’ll define it for you:
Deconstruction is popularly known as the phase in which once more traditional Believers step back and re-examine their ideals, often questioning the traditional values they were taught in church.
Now, if this were all that deconstructionism entailed, I believe it would be a blessed thing. Scripture commands us to understand our faith (1 Peter 3:15), and I believe that many who are deconstructing are truly seeking to do just that.
I am not writing about those people.
I am writing about myself and those who are similar to me. Those who entered their own phase of deconstruction, made their intellect their god and chose to lean on their own understanding as I did.
I’ll preface by admitting that I’ve recently emerged out of a bad slump, to put it simply. Very little mentally, emotionally or spiritually felt right. Some might call it a form of depression or anxiety, and for a while, I thought that’s what it was.
Until someone shook me around and told me to trust in the Lord.
For many deconstructionists, this is an eye-roll-inducing saying. They think trusting in the Lord is the Christian catch-all for sucking it up, discounting our emotions and feigning a false faith. Denying one’s self and one’s humanity is a perceived cornerstone of Christian faith that deconstructionists found much of their criticism on.
I believe that reaction, much like Josh Harris’ recent announcement, is founded in a false preconception that trust implies extra work, extra deprivation and extra intellectual ignorance.
However, I can personally testify that is was only when I truly began to trust the Lord that I began to feel like myself again, and I realized it was not deconstruction I needed to depend on, but the Lord.
I believe that the Christian practice is a difficult one (Mark 8:35) but the belief should be easy. The Bible is filled with Scriptures that, if considered correctly, should fill us with peace.
We know that God’s yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:28).
We know that he takes care of the birds of the air and the Lillies of the field, and he cares about us so much more (Matthew 6:28).
We know that he knows our every thought (Psalm 139:2).
We know that he knows what we need even before we ask (Matthew 6:8).
And perhaps most importantly for the deconstructionists, we know that God is not afraid.
He is not afraid of questions because He does not worry as we do. He welcomes honesty because he knows what is troubling us and what we need to get through it.
When I finally exhaled and started to trust, my burdens lifted. No longer did I worry about praying or doing the right thing or praying or doing enough. Instead of my “ceaseless prayers” asking God for help or for him to change something, they have become thankful praises.
A need arises? I thank God that he knows what I need.
Things don’t seem to be working out? I thank God for His will and ask that it be done.
But when I was in the deconstructionist phase, I was distrustful of the Bible and its contents because the movement, for many, has evolved into trying to fit the Bible into our modern-day understandings of culture and society, which no doubt contradict Scriptural ideas in many instances.
Having come out on the other side of an almost year-long deconstruction phase, I want to share my experience in hopes that it encourages us to engage in healthy scrutiny only. Because I believe I was not alone when I began to trust my feelings as fact and lean on my own understanding, two things the Bible cautions us against.
As a human, I am prone to mood swings. I am prone to feeling overwhelmed by external factors out of my control. I am prone to looking to what is happening right now instead of looking at the grand scheme of things.
So when I trust in the Lord who does not waver, who never leaves nor forsakes, I find freedom in His Word which is full of peaceful promises. Deconstructionism never brought me peace or answers. I won’t say that it wasn’t necessary or used because I believe God works all things together for the good of those who love him. But I pray that my soul-searching would be in pursuit produced from humility rather than self-righteousness and that I would let God be my god rather than my own reasoning.
What are your thoughts and experiences concerning deconstructionism? I would love to continue this conversation with you in the comments!