Most people who’ve experienced ‘deconstruction’ will agree that it is extremely challenging. Losing relationships (including close ones), as you ‘park’ theological and spiritual preconceptions and assumptions is usually excruciating. Many quickly feel isolated, rejected and perplexed with little idea of where to turn or what the God is doing in them. Often there is a sense of loss, grief and being ‘stripped back’ as the restorative detox begins.When an artist restores an original masterpiece, he does so by removing what has defaced or hidden that original. This feels like ‘loss’ to the painting but it’s the best the best way to reveal the masterpiece!
Towards the end of this ‘season’ of deconstruction you are left surveying what looks like wreckage but is in fact the foundation for a paradigm.
Having a spiritual mentor (in addition to Holy Spirit) to help navigate these uncharted waters is such a blessing. Think pilot who has sailed these waters before who comes alongside to steer your ship through them before alighting to help others through the same passage.
Sometimes (especially if the period of detox is lengthy) it is possible to become so familiar with the ‘lost-ness’ that we get stuck and stay there. It is vital to keep moving forward with God as He ‘restores’ you and reveals you. This process is not one of ‘testing’ but of revealing!
As deconstruction concludes what begins is Reconstruction, which is still challenging and perplexing but with decreasing pain and sense of loss and with a growing sense of wonderment and mystery.
I am aware of many people who are in the ‘detox’ process but very few who are enjoying the healthy alternative of a new ‘diet’.
God is truly doing something remarkable at this point in history but the cost of collaborating with Him seems high, so its not something to be embarked upon lightly.
Partnering with Holy Spirit (He is always in charge not us) to see His blueprint for reconstruction is wildly exciting, mind-bendingly ‘spirit’ based and not like anything we have seen before. Thus it’s impossible to second guess what it will look like which leads us to a place of dependence on Him for every step – it’s so liberating once you get used to it!
There are some hallmarks of this new paradigm which are common to those on this journey of reconstruction which are helpful to note:
There is a realization that it’s a journey of spirit more than of intellect. Our mind is renewed from the spirit rather than our spirit being shaped and suppressed by our theology. Our eternal and profound spirit connection to God feeds and renews our mind and may well alter our beliefs which are no longer set in religious concrete. This creates the ‘space’ for God to reveal what was previously ‘outside’ our theology and therefore not something we were open to.
Mystery is embraced and ‘not knowing’ is no longer troubling – there is a learning to live with loose ends/ unanswered questions that is really freeing. Dogmatic opinions, fixed theological boundaries, the need to be right and judgmental, destructive criticism are ‘starved’ and recede.
There is dying to self, forgiveness and new perspectives that lead to a different way of living. It really is about following Jesus rather than operating from a set of beliefs – this is radical (for the twenty-first century church), scary and costly (just like Jesus said it would be). It is extraordinary to realise that revelation is God’s plan for us as His children, but it’s a ‘clanging symbol’ if it’s not nurtured in a heart full of love. Love trumps everything!
Intimacy with Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit is a reality. Living like Jesus did in communion with His Father is the ‘norm’ that is in God’s heart and plan for us – really it is! This is probably the key that unlocks many doors as it holds us in a place of adoration, amazement and passion with God.
There is the discovery of others on the same voyage where the ‘connection’ is based on spirit to Holy Spirit recognition and has virtually nothing to do with common theology or practice. Progression through the wilderness leads eventually to finding others emerging from the same experience and situation.
The new paradigm, whatever it will look like, does not look like the old one – there are very few similarities. Don’t be tempted to carry over the bits you like from the old as it will not work and you will have start to begin again at some point. The structure man has overlaid on following Jesus does not have the capacity or flexibility to accommodate what He has begun to do. Be sure not to ‘dis’ what God has blessed in the past but don’t get trapped in it.
The sense many have of ‘there must be more than this’ is replaced with a wide eyed wonderment of ‘Oh this is what He meant’. It’s costly but exquisite!