Doing Life While Deconstructing

"He's Losing His Religion" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
“He’s Losing His Religion” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

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I think the intensity of our deconstruction from religion (losing our religion, changing our beliefs, deconverting, etcetera) corresponds with the intensity of the religious devotion we had.

If religion was a superficial hobby for you, then deconstruction might be mild and easy.

If religion was your everything, then deconstruction might be intense and difficult.

For some, it’s just a crossroads. For others, it’s a crisis.

For some, it’s a slight turn. For others, it is an acute trauma.

I’ve also experienced and observed different kinds of deconstruction: social and philosophical.

That is, there is a deconstruction from the church and all that goes with it: family, friends, spouses, activities, responsibility, loyalty, spiritual abuse, etc. 

Then, there is a deconstruction from the beliefs we held: purpose in life, destiny, meaning, hope, afterlife, a sense of being loved, protected, and cared for, etc.

Both are hard. If you do them simultaneously, good luck! Just like belief and church overwhelms your life, so does the deconstruction from them. It affects your mental health, your body, your appetite, your relationships, your sense of meaning and purpose, and your worldview. Everything! Nothing goes untouched. Just trying to do life seems impossible. It feels like we’re being birthed into a new world where there is no oxygen. Nothing’s the same. The trauma is total!

Many don’t understand those of us who experience it as trauma.

So what?

The important thing is to take care of yourself. 

One of the things you are going to have to deconstruct from is that you always have to worry about offending other people. That came with the theological and church territory. We were told that we could never ever offend anyone. If anyone was offended by us, it was our fault and we had to fix it.

That’s false, and you will learn this during your deconstruction. You have to take care of yourself no matter what other people think. You have to find your own way… post-church and post-belief.

I tell this to anyone who talks with me about it: take your own sweet time. Do it your way. You will learn how to best take care of yourself. You are your own best caregiver. It’s now time to start employing that aspect of yourself. Take care of yourself.

You have permission.

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