I bought myself a Christmas present this year. It is an original drawing by David Hayward, Naked Pastor. If you follow me, you know I am a fan of his work and messages. He is a pastor-turned artist that helps people through their deconstruction and spiritual journey. He helps people find their true authentic selves. His work titled, Light, captured my heart. At first glance, I couldn't take my eyes off it and added it to my cart without hesitation.
This one simple drawing represents the complex emotions surrounding my deconstruction. The complexity of these emotions runs deep, especially around Christmas. But instead of pushing my feelings aside, I wanted to give myself another gift and put into words why this art means so much to me. Hence, why I am writing this.
I spent the majority of my holiday break wondering why this image captivated me so much. While pondering, I came across something Lizz Enn Petters wrote. If you're not familiar with Lizz, she has a popular podcast called Deconstruction Mamas and helps people navigate through deconstruction. Like so many, I can relate to her story! Her quote that captivated me said,
"Deconstruction is a buzzword. What we really mean is a reconstruction of the spiritually that toxic religious systems boxed out. A reconstruction of our sense of self, our love of who we were created to be. A reconstruction of our relationship with others, of healthy boundaries, and knowing when to walk away. A reconstruction of what was there before any of the noises of the world drowned it out."
Another quote that struck a chord with me was from one of America's most popular writers on issues of faith and culture, Jonathan Merritt. He says,
"When you think of faith as a war to be won, you will see people as enemies to be conquered. When you think of faith as a world to be explored, you will see neighbors to be loved."
Yes. So much, yes. It's like they took the thoughts out of my head and wrote them down before I could! Both of these quotes sum up why I believe deconstruction is important. It causes us to reconstruct, and reevaluate, and it shines a light on what universally matters most - loving ourselves and loving others. Period.
In a previous post, I talked about the evangelical culture being a box that I was stepping out of. Light beautifully captures that. It is a picture of me finding myself and embracing what life is, and it clearly articulates me giving myself permission to ask the hard questions and dig a little deeper. It is me stepping out of what I knew and stepping into what I now know.
The light of truth.
The light of peace.
The light of pure acceptance.
The light of unconditional love.
The light of freedom.
The light of simply being human.
Like David's artwork mesmerized me, so has the process of stepping into the light of becoming me. My hope is that everyone is brave enough to step out of the box of whatever is hindering them, and into the light of who they truly are and what truly matters most.
Our hearts and souls are full of beautiful, colorful, vibrant threads, and we deserve to shine. - Jamie Edelbrock, Tangled Up