Deconstructing Faith

Deconstructing Faith

Have you ever suddenly found yourself deconstructing your faith and questioning your beliefs about almost everything? Sifting through the fundamentals by which you were raised? Picking apart the rote rituals and rules of a particular denomination? Stripping your internal structures to the bare bones so that you might begin to rebuild a sturdier, stronger structure in its place?

For lack of a better term, I’m referring to it as an awakening.

An awakening to different perspectives, broader definitions, and deeper understanding. An awakening that demands exploration, open-mindedness, and honesty. An awakening that requires examination of past wounds, current traps, and future possibilities–both welcome and unwelcome. An awakening that brings great healing, painful disappointments, and ultimate freedom.

It’s not a pretty or pleasant process; yet, it is a natural and necessary process for deep-rooted growth. And it’s where I find myself now.

I wrote this poem (a term loosely employed) as a metaphor for the complex emotions I have felt during this journey.  So, please enjoy this piece as I struggle through some big, uncomfortable questions about life, faith, God, religion, church, and the dark side of purity culture. *begin sarcasm font*This is so much fun.*end sarcasm font*

Bait and Switch

I learned to swim in these waters.
They felt safe back then,
drifting along with the current,
in an ocean with no end.

The warnings were clear:
keep inside the tight boundaries
lest my heart and mind
should veer.

I blindly obeyed–
mostly for fear
of not checking the boxes;
thus, I drank the kool-aid.

Many years later, I coasted the sea
in waters much further, much further away
where I begin to just think–maybe there’s a different,
a more freedom-filled way.

I swam deeper still into my new home,
though it wasn’t all easy
I had more room to explore and  to roam.

Until one day, I saw
with a new pair of eyes
what I believed
was built on man’s tries.

Out of nowhere, it came–
the fog lifted high;
blindsided by pain
I wanted to cry.

I’ve been robbed?
I’ve been cheated?
I’ve been lied to?
It’s true.

Now, I realize
what’s been stolen
is my identity.

Numb to the point
buried deep in my flesh,
my heart and my  mind
have agreed to disjoint.

Not feeling is easier
than facing the facts.
Yet now that I know,
I can’t sit back and not act.

The sharp taste of steel-
of blood and of shame
to the brim, my mouth fills
as my soul is inflamed.

I’ve been robbed.
I’ve been cheated.
I’ve been lied to.
It’s true.

Far above me they sat
in their suits and their ties
and threw out the sinkers
filled with hopeless white lies.

I swallowed the bait
of a pure, snow white life
that would end at the altar,
making me the good wife.

Now, twenty years on-God, that stings just to say,
I have kept my end of the bargain
Only to find they were blindly leading my heart away,
with babbling, fear-based jargon.

The ring on my finger,
the noose that would bind me.
The pledge penned by my hand,
the soul-wound that would linger.

So many years wasted,
struggling,
caught on the line.

I followed the rules,
and look where it got me–
floundering–
broken and alone.

Still caught on the line,
now tasked with a chore
of untangling myself
to find my true core.

The waters I swam in
no longer feel safe.
Even if I break free,
will the scars always chafe?

These are the questions
my soul entertains
as, slowly, I feel
the hook’s grip
start to loosen;

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