I wanted to share an article that I was interviewed and quoted in about deconstruction and deconstruction coaching. You can find that article at The New Republic here if you would like to read it, but I wanted to share a little about why I am a deconstruction coach.
I am a deconstruction coach.
Really, I’m a certified life coach.
My purpose in becoming a certified life coach was just to help people. I saw too many people trying to trudge through each day’s struggles with no grace, guidance, or tool to help them do it well. I became a life coach to help people be healthier, happier, and more helpful versions of themselves.
Then something happened.
People started deconstructing.
Now, deconstruction is nothing new. The term has been popularized for the last few years and was coined in the 60s by Jacque Derrida, but deconstructing itself has been around for centuries upon centuries. As Richard Rohr at the Center for Action and Contemplation taught me, Deconstructing is simply a stage of faith development where one challenges the theology, beliefs, and paradigms they were raised with. This is CERTAINLY not new.
However, it is problematic.
In our heavily evangelical-influenced culture, challenging or questioning our beliefs is akin to backsliding, apostasy, treason. So when people start deconstructing, they often face ridicule, slander, and isolation. A modern form of exile, if you will.
So, when all the community, leaders, and friends you have known either abandon you or attack you,
where do you turn?
I have been deconstructing for over a decade, so I’ve been through quite a bit of this before there was a term, a large social media presence, or a hashtag #exvangelical. I’ve been through the frustration, the pain, the isolation, and the nagging fear that I really am one of the one’s that Jesus said would “be led astray” from my faith, all while feeling like I was being genuine and authentic to the message of grace that Jesus had instilled within me.
The difference for me was…
I had a mentor that had been through all of this himself.
He saved my life.
Because of this, and because I have always been a sucker for people who are hurting, the more I saw people from 17 to 60 years old wrestling with an authentic and evolving faith, I felt compelled to care for them in any way I could.
So, I became a life coach.
I have written several articles on and around the topic of deconstruction, but sitting face to face with someone deconstructing faith opens a whole new world.
I had no idea SO MANY PEOPLE were going through the very same things I experienced in my faith. I had even less idea that so many were dealing with things I never could have imagined happening in the church.
I know from my time with these incredible people that I have learned more than I have taught (a good deconstruction coach or life coach should really guide more than they teach anyway).
Ultimately, what I have learned is that we are all the same. We are DEFINITELY each unique with entirely unique experiences, emotions, and responses to what life, faith, and deconstruction throw at us, but at the core of every person I have spoken with lies. very similar longings.
We all want to feel connected.
We all want to feel a sense of purpose.
We all want to feel loved.
We all want to be seen…for who we are, exactly AS we are.
And we want that to be enough,
no matter where we lie on the spiritual or religious spectrum.
Deconstruction coaching has been one of the best things I have ever done.
I get to meet incredible people. I get to join them in the vast and beautiful world that is their life. I get to be a welcome presence in the face of doubt, fear, and pain. I also get to celebrate alongside them as they begin to discover their own way through the woods. I get to see them step into their true selves, selves that I believe are formed by God, loved by God, guided by God, and never abandoned by God.
At the end of the day, a good deconstruction coach helps them walk their own path.
I have no intentions of making anyone “stay” a Christian, stay in a church, or even believe in God. What I hope and work toward for every client is health.
I work to help them find a healthy way to navigate their deconstruction, a healthy way to engage their friends and families, and a healthy way to continue maturing as they change, evolve, and grow.
I myself am never quite sure where I stand with God, faith, and the church, but I do know that I am healthier and happier than I have ever been. And when I am healthy and happy, I tend to be more open to anything God throws at me, and I tend to be more helpful to the fellow human beings around me.
That’s what I hope for my deconstruction coaching clients.
If that is something that you think could benefit you or someone you know, whether you are deconstructing or if someone you care for is, I am here to help in whatever way most benefits you.
Thanks for letting me share, my friends.