She grew up with strong religious beliefs. All her life she knew she believed in God. Her parents raised her “in the faith” and she had “walked with God” all her life. As a child, that faith came easily. She went to Sunday School and learned all about her favorite Bible stories. When she entered her teen years, she went to Youth Group at church and Bible Club at school. She put Christian stickers on her notebooks, put a Bible on her desk, and shared her faith with others.

Are You Wrestling with God about Spiritual Beliefs?Her faith was rock solid. There was no shaking it. She was certain she would follow God all her life. She was certain her spiritual beliefs would stay firm and grounding throughout anything she encountered. There was no doubt in her mind she would always believe in God and would always call herself a Christian.

Until one day, a question slipped into her mind. She found herself embarrassed, and even ashamed, about questioning her faith, so she kept her questions to herself. Was this the “slippery slope” she had been warned about? What would happen if she voiced this question to other Christians in her life?

Unsure of what would happen, she kept quiet. Then another question came. One day something the pastor said didn’t quite make sense. She encountered a challenging time in her life, and she did not find the comfort in her faith that she used to.

Does this sound familiar? What happens when we start questioning our religious beliefs? Have you found yourself wrestling with God, questioning your beliefs, or trying to understand why you believe what you believe in the first place? In this article, we’re going to talk about these questions and more.

Deconstructing faith when wrestling with God

There is a new term called “deconstruction” used to describe the experience of people going through this kind of crisis. Most often it is used to refer to those with an evangelical or fundamentalist religious background who are wrestling with their beliefs.

Are You Wrestling with God about Spiritual Beliefs? 1These individuals may be questioning why they have been taught something one way when another Christian denomination teaches it a different way. Or they may be on a journey of exploring the Bible differently and are trying to make sense of the things they believe in light of a different interpretation of Scripture.

Wrestling with beliefs often arises after a time of crisis, suffering, pain, or trauma. Suddenly the lens through which we viewed God becomes different. We may wonder why God allowed us to go through this situation in the first place. Perhaps God feels absent, distant, or disengaged.

The God we once knew no longer seems to be the God we know now. This can be a confusing time. Christians are usually unsure how to approach deconstruction, or wrestling with beliefs. Many churches do not welcome these conversations and it can feel incredibly lonely.

This process produces a deep emotional impact. It can be painful and bring great sorrow, it can also be liberating and bring great joy. Unfortunately, many people have suffered abuse and mistreatment in church. This process can bring those experiences to light and have a profound emotional impact. Counseling has proven to be an excellent tool for countless people going through this process.

There is also an impact on family, friends, and other relationships. How do we navigate these relationships in light of our beliefs? So many of our relationships are tied to our faith. This adds another layer of confusion that must be confronted and evaluated.

There may also be an impact on one’s church community. People may choose to leave for a different denomination or walk away from church altogether, either for a season or forever.

Is God okay with our doubts and questions?

We have discussed how disorienting and confusing this can be. For those who were raised not to question or doubt God, it can even feel scary or sinful. God can handle our questions. There is nothing wrong with questioning your beliefs.

Are You Wrestling with God about Spiritual Beliefs? 2Think of it this way, children ask “why” all the time. They may even ask “why” to a question they already know the answer to. They do this because they are trying to confirm what they know and figure out what they don’t know.

Far too many churches don’t give their members a safe space to ask “why,” when this can strengthen faith and heal wounds. Stuffing it away and acting like it’s not there can cause harm. Everyone has questions, everyone has parts of the Bible that don’t make sense to them, and everyone has had experiences that are confusing to them considering their faith.

God can handle it all. God is big enough for it all. Hopefully, people will come out on the other end of their deconstruction with a much deeper and richer faith. There can be beauty, growth, and blessing in wrestling with God.

Tips for working through times of wrestling with God

These times can be disorienting and difficult, however. Here are a few tips we hope will help.

Let them come. Do not try to run from your questions or run from your doubts. That can make the problem, and the emotional repercussions even worse.

Explore meditation techniques and spiritual practices. Ancient Christian practices such as meditation, centering prayer, Lectio Divina, and more are becoming widely practiced in the last couple of decades. These can bring you closer to God in a different way than you have experienced before. They are a way to engage with God using different parts of your mind, body, and faith.

Journal. There’s great power in writing. Write prayers, do free association writing, write out your questions and wrestle with them, write therapeutic letters, or sit down and just journal. Our brains process information differently through writing than through any other form of processing. It can be a great way to work through questions and doubts.

Are You Wrestling with God about Spiritual Beliefs? 3Lament. Throughout the Bible, we see examples of lament. These are written expressions of grief or sorrow. Many of the Psalms are Psalms of Lament. In a lament we share with God our pain, ask God questions like “how long” and “why,” praise God for God’s goodness, tell God what we’d like to see God do, and pour out our pain.

Try other denominations out. This is often a natural part of the journey for people. Visiting churches with a different background than the one we are in can be a helpful part of the process. You may even want to find one of their services online first before heading to attend in person.

Find an online community. There are many online communities, blogs, and forums. It’s a helpful way to talk about what you are wondering about in a safe space. Especially if your church is not supportive of your journey.

Support for wrestling with spiritual beliefs

Counseling. Your counselor can help you explore any of the above activities. A counselor is also a safe, non-judgmental person to share your questions with. They can help you navigate this process in safety and peace. A counselor can also help guide you into difficult conversations with those in your life who may not understand what you’re going through.

Online groups. This was mentioned above but is worth mentioning again. Online groups have been helpful for many people. Your counselor can also help connect you to an online community.

Spiritual direction. A spiritual director helps individuals explore their faith. They can help you learn ways to engage with God that resonate with you, teach you spiritual practices, and help you to understand what God is doing in your life. You can talk to your spiritual director about the questions you have about faith and explore the aspects of faith that you are evaluating with them.

We hope this article has been helpful for you if you are deconstructing your faith or wrestling with spiritual beliefs. If we can help you on this journey, please let us know.

“Sunbeams Over the Mountains”, Courtesy of Chris Flexen,, CC0 License; “Holding the Bible”, Courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez,, CC0 License; “Praying at Dawn”, Courtesy of Aaron Burden,, CC0 License; “Cross at Sunset”, Courtesy of Samuel McGarrigle,, CC0 License


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