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©2019 by Makayla Jo. Proudly created with Wix.com

Tyler, Texas * USA * 903-948-2701 * kjmc0223@gmail.com

  • Kayla Jo

Religious Deconstruction & Identity Crisis

There are so many hard things that I went through when my faith deconstructed into absolutely nothing, and it's really hard to say there is one specific thing that was the absolute hardest. But definitely, right there, at the top of the list would be the intense identity crisis that I faced when my faith fell away and didn't come back.


I always knew who I was growing up. I was taught that my identity is in Christ!

I was a Christ-follower. A child of God. My mission and purpose in life was decided for me - by God - I was called to be his ambassador. I was called to live a holy, blameless life, and to tell other people that Jesus saves and invite them to pray the sinner's prayer to receive their one way ticket to heaven too.


I took a lot of pride in my God-given, Christian identity. I was special. God had chosen me. I served him fervently, whole-heartedly, with reckless abandon. I worked harder than anybody else I knew to live my life for God with my ENTIRE existence. I knew that if my life was ever threatened in the name of Jesus, I would take the bullet, because that was the ultimate sacrifice.


So when my ability to believe in ANYTHING fell into a black hole last January, I majorly freaked out and panicked inside. I couldn't believe in God anymore. I couldn't interpret the Bible literally. I couldn't pray. I couldn't sing. I couldn't even think. I would try to process what had happened to make my whole mind go blank in relation to everything, and it literally felt like my brain was fuzzy and I was staring into a black hole. Nothing left to go in - and certainly nothing coming out.


EVERYTHING I knew and based my entire life, purpose, and identity on was gone.

I kept waiting for it to all just come back. Surely this was just a temporary thing. Right? I mean, I had had doubts before, and I always managed to push them back down with "If we could understand God, God wouldn't be God..."


My therapist kept trying to encourage me by telling me, "you're still a Christian. You need to reconstruct. It will come back." But he didn't know. He hadn't been there. And I kept insisting....


"NO I'M NOT A CHRISTIAN ANYMORE! YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN MY HEAD AND THERE IS NO WAY TO GET BACK WHAT I'VE LOST BECAUSE I DIDN'T MAKE IT DISAPPEAR IN THE FIRST PLACE, AND I CERTAINLY DIDN'T WISH FOR THIS!"


It was utterly and completely beyond my control. It's like when a kid stops believing in Santa Claus - you can't convince them that Santa is really real...Even if they see him at the mall, there's an inner knowing that it's just a story that people find joy in. That's how it felt with the whole God thing - I didn't choose to not believe - but there was no way to process that any of it was absolutely true anymore...I could not even pretend to believe that it was literally, absolutely 100% true.


To say I was devastated would be an understatement. After a little over a month of waiting for God and my faith to return to me, and having nothing happen other than a deeper sense of loss. I realized that my identity was not coming back. My God, my faith, my way of living in this world, my world view, MY ENTIRE IDENTITY WAS GONE.


There aren't adequate words to describe this intense, inner turmoil I felt. WHO the heck was I now? and what is even the purpose of being alive? and how can I ever be okay again?

I listened to deconversion podcasts, browsed hashtags such as #exvangelical & #exchristian on twitter, lived on secret exvangelical groups on FB, listened to youtube channels relating to what I was going through, searching high and low for how to make it through this deep nothingness that I now lived in all by myself in my real-life community. Nobody understood the depth of my loss. Some tried...but you cannot know what it's like to completely lose your faith and identity ON ACCIDENT unless you've actually gone through it personally. We're not talking doubts here.


We're talking about being robbed when you're least expecting it, and having the criminal take EVERYTHING but your life itself.


Days went by, weeks, months...and still no return of what I once held so tightly. Not even a smidge.


Never in my life did I ever imagine myself here. I always knew I would be a Christian and serve God forever. Like I said I didn't choose this. It just happened.


And along with it came the HUGEST IDENTITY CRISIS EVER.


About mid-summer, I realized that I could either accept where I was, or I could keep fighting what I was powerless to change. Fighting it was hard. It produced a lot of suffering. It was draining. It was emotionally unbearable.


So, July 2019, I decided that I was going to stop freaking out and embrace where I was. I couldn't change what had happened, but I could take control of my life from here on out. I decided that my purpose would be to just love people, non-judgmentally, hold space for them, and pour value into them.


And that was where life got easier. When I quit resisting what had happened, and accepted that my belief system wasn't going to hold up for me anymore, I became free and experienced more peace than ever before. I started to become excited again to create my life from scratch.


Did I say it was easy? NO! But I worked on focusing on what I could control - and that was accepting what was, and creating what I wanted to be.


It can still blow my mind sometimes. I think back to a year ago this month when I was still a Christian - having no idea that it was my last month that I would maintain my life-long identity.


But I look around now and I realize, hey - I'm okay. Life is good. I have a purpose. My purpose is to encourage and pour value into those who need it and come into my life for healing and friendship. My purpose is to accept people where they're at. My purpose is to love deeply and non-judgmentally. My purpose is to accept every person on my path as human and in need of love, acceptance, significance, value, appreciation. People want to be seen, heard, & understood.


Being alive, just being human, can be an amazing experience. It's what we create it to be. It's what happens when we learn to accept where we're at. We can heal from an identity crisis - there is life after deconstruction.


I've got this. You've got this. Reach out to me if you want to share your story. You don't have to walk this path alone ♥.