The need for certainty.
This is what messed with my head.
Still does sometimes.
Not near as often as it used to.
Growing up believing I needed to be certain.
Sure of my faith.
Believing without doubt.
The wise man builds his house upon the rock.
Not being blown by every little wind.
Maybe weak in my flesh, but never weak in my beliefs.
That was all well and good.
Until isn’t wasn’t.
When I stayed on the fringes, things were good.
Then I dug deep.
Started studying the Bible.
Learning theology and doctrine.
Reading book upon book.
Being taught about our total depravity.
How there is nothing good in me.
Nothing good in anyone, for that matter.
Oh, and that God chooses.
Some to go to Heaven.
Some to go to Hell.
For all eternity.
Let me say it again for the people in the back.
God may or may not have chosen me.
May or may not have chosen my children.
And there is nothing I (or anyone else) can do about it.
Written in the book before the foundation of time.
Not all babies would go to heaven.
Some to an eternal conscious torment.
And as I type, I wonder how in the world?
How did I ever believe this?
How does anyone ever believe this?
Who constructed this theology?
Can we not just stop and think?
I can honestly say I tried to believe this.
I tried to turn my brain off.
Blindly believing whatever the man up front was teaching me.
Don’t think, Karen.
Throw common sense out the window.
God’s ways are not your ways.
But, it just wasn’t working for me.
I would say to everyone around me, “Just think about it”.
I would beg them to “think about it”.
God is love.
That’s what the Bible says.
How could that ever coincide with an eternity of hell?
They would tell me not to forget about God being Just.
What is justice anyway?
Didn’t God make the rules?
Couldn’t he have made different rules then?
Or not created anyone at all?
I cannot imagine having a baby if I knew for sure that baby was going to be burned for billions of years.
Like, hot fire.
Never ending torture.
Just don’t have the baby.
And there is no way I love more than God does.
So, there came a breaking point for me in all of this.
After years of questioning and worrying.
I had an elder tell me I couldn’t know if a little boy who had died the day before was with Jesus.
I was grieving the tragic loss of this sweet little friend.
Trying to comfort myself and anyone else around.
Simply saying he was seeing Jesus right then.
We can’t know that.
We can only hope.
Hope that because his parents were “believers” he was chosen.
They were chosen, so hopefully he was too.
Ok, but even if he was chosen?
Other sweet littles ones aren’t?
How could this be real?
Why would I want to believe in any of this?
I remember wanting to scream.
With every part of my being.
I will never forget the pit in my stomach.
When the constructs of my faith began to fail.
The realization that my house was built on sinking sand.
Not on the love of Jesus.
Not on his teachings.
But on interpretations that have been made over 2000 years.
The blinders began to fall off.
My eyes began to see clearly.
For the first time, there was freedom to think for myself.
To trust the God-given reasonableness of my own thoughts.
To understand that the part that is not understandable is actually God’s love for us.
Deconstruction was happening in my heart.
Before deconstruction was cool.
And I’m not saying it is “cool”.
I’m saying it is necessary.
People have been tearing down broken systems and constructs since Jesus walked this earth.
He was the first deconstructionist.
Coming here to teach us about love and freedom.
Grace and inclusion.
Sending his Spirit to reside in us.
And give us the wisdom to know what is true and right.
Today, I am grateful.
For my own deconstruction.
For others who are on this path.
We aren’t who you think we are.
We are not just “trying to get away with sinning”.
Nothing in me wants to get away with anything.
I just want to know God.
Really know him/her.
I want to surrender myself to the Holy Spirit.
Be filled with hope.
Not with certainty.
Reconstructing for the rest of my days.
Built on the solid rock of Jesus and his love.
Being real about my questions and doubts.
And loving others along the way.
Oh, and believing God loves them too.
Karen R Shock resides in Fort Wayne, IN with her husband and their youngest son. She had three more children who are married and four beautiful grandchildren. Oh, and a dog name JT Barrett (Go Bucks). She is a retired homeschool mom and is now a high school teacher at a public school and cheer coach. Life is hard, but fun. Learning, growing, and leaning in