Time Can Heal a Loss of Faith
If you’re new to your faith disappearing or deconstructing, I want you to know time heals.
I remember a year ago as if it was yesterday. I woke up one day, and my faith didn’t wake up with me. I opened my eyes one morning and realized that the god I had believed in all my life was gone. He left me. And when he left, he left a huge gaping hole in my heart and a vast numbness in my mind so deep and intense that I couldn’t even think to try to process what was wrong with me.
I just knew that my ability to have any faith at all had disappeared into thin air, without any warning that it would be doing a complete disappearing act.
To say I was devastated would be an understatement.
There are not adequate words to describe the torture I underwent in my mind trying to figure out what happened and who I was now without my belief system. My faith was my entire life. It was my entire identity. It was what defined me. It was who I was.
Without my faith, I had no reason to exist. No purpose. No meaning. So now what...
I held out hope for months. I searched for god with everything I had. I looked for him high and low. I reasoned that this was a phase like depression, and he would come back. I waited. And searched, and waited and searched some more.
I KNEW I was not the one that had left. I had no doubt. That was impossible because I was seeking him with all my heart. Where was this God that promised, "you will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart?"
I watched in horror, almost as an observer, as my faith continued to stay so far away I couldn’t even see a hint of it to grasp at anymore.
I felt like a mentally handicapped person, lacking the inability to think a specific thought, and according to my belief system, because of my limited ability, this god was going to punish me in hell forever for something I was totally incapable of...because I was still responsible. He was going to punish me for a thought I couldn’t think. This terrified and devastated me.
Hadn’t he promised me that “you will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart?" And all those verses about ask, seek, knock...and the promise to answer. Where the heck was he? And if you have faith the size of a mustard seed you can move mountains? I’m certain I had that much faith and more with the size of my search party going on in my head.
Then there’s the story of Job. God allowed him to be tested even though he did nothing wrong. Maybe I was like Job. Even my parents turned out to be Job’s friends when I tried to tell them the dilemma I was facing. Labeling me a prodigal. Telling me I wouldn’t go to church because I was afraid god would speak to me. (My response time that was I sure wish god would speak to me! Why would I be afraid of something I’m begging and craving for!?) They also told me god was going to get me good and judge me harshly if I didn’t come back to him.
I tried to tell them I didn’t leave and I didn’t want this. They wouldn’t listen.
They couldn’t hear me because they had their own formulations in their heads from the church teachings of what an unbeliever is thinking. And something like this had never happened to them...I realize that they genuinely cannot understand what happened to me. And I accept that. But it makes me sad because I know they're hurting. They don't realize I am okay.
After fighting for my faith to come back, even just a glimpse, for several months, I realized it was not going to happen. I finally surrendered to the unknown (those of you who’ve seen frozen 2 know how many of us can fully relate to Elsa lol). In March 2019, I walked away from the church building completely. What they offered there was taken from me. It was no longer a part of me. I still loved the people very much but I could no longer be a part of their belief system, and I had no idea why. All I knew was it had left me.
My heart was gaping wide open with the biggest wound I had ever experienced in my entire life. I didn’t know how I could ever recover from this. I didn’t know who I even was anymore. I lost my entire belief system, my entire identity, my sense of belonging, my community, my passion of playing in worship band, my joy in leading people to Jesus...all of it, everything I was, everything that mattered - was gone.
It hurt so deeply I remember collapsing on my bed over and over for days and months just drowning in emotions and tears for everything I had lost and couldn’t find or get back no matter how high, low, deep, or wide I searched. In fact the harder I tried, the stronger the resistance seemed to get.
I established a new identity online. I created fake social media accounts on twitter and fb and joined secret ex-Christian, exvangelical groups where I found a whole community of people like me. These communities were life savers for me. These people got me. They encouraged me like no other. They were beside me in my deepest pain ever. They would message me and even call me when I was at my lowest. There are people before me, with me, and behind me in this journey. And it’s a beautiful thing how we are there for each other, each of us encouraging, grasping, embracing, and holding space for the ones behind us who are struggling. We are a community of true friends like I had never known.
A year ago, when it all disappeared, the ones ahead of me always told me it gets better. That I would be okay. I desperately wanted to believe them. But my mind kept telling me, “it might get better for them, but not for you...you’re gonna be tortured for the rest of your life in this hell in your our mind.”
I am relentless when it comes to searching. I don’t give up until I find answers...one way or another I will find peace. My stubbornness and desire for wholeness comes in handy in so many ways. In my exhausting search, in summer of 2019, I realized my resistance to what was, and my constant striving to still bring back what had died in me, needed to be over. Beating a dead horse is not going to bring it back to life.
So I opened my hands...and I let go of trying to hold on to anything anymore.
I released my desire to have all the answers, figure it out, and bring my faith back to life. I accepted where I was. Picked myself up. Stopped looking behind me... And moved forward with my life. You can’t keep move forward while constantly looking backward. And as I turned my face toward my future instead of staring at my past, I felt a glimpse of freedom in my heart. I felt a lightness and an assurance that I was going to be okay.
And this is where my healing began.
They were right...life does get good again. It can get better. I am healing beautifully...in ways I never imagined. I am daily creating what I want my life to look like. I am the artist. I have the brush. And I have all the freedom in the world to make this life the best life possible, for me and for others.
And your healing is possible too.
Reach out. Shoot me an email or DM.
You are not alone. I’m here for you.
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