Despite what most of us believe, and as much as we hate to admit it, our faith, no matter how strong, will bow down if there is a force strong enough to do so.
It doesn’t even have to be a single force. In fact, it is very rare for a singular force to break our belief system. Rather, it is the small aggressions that chip away at our faith. When compounded, they might become forces our belief system could not withstand.
Then we lose our faith. Our whole belief system is turned into one big mess, and we are confused about what to do and where to hold on to. Sometimes this loss in faith can be so profound that some of us will also experience a loss in direction or even disillusionment. Many will do things that they wouldn’t have thought they would do or do something that they are sure to regret. Such a catastrophic experience will often lead to depression, loneliness, or anger. One could even say that losing faith is almost precisely the same as a breakup or a death of a loved one.
In God Cares, But Do We? book on find your faith by Kwaku Mensah, there is a part that details how people can learn from their mistakes and understand life better. This loss of faith can be one of those challenges. In such challenges, how we adapt to our new situation will be vital in finding out our identity. It makes us see the world with fresher eyes; with some distance, we can see and learn from our mistakes.
Then we realize that the loss of faith does not necessarily mean losing it forever. Instead, it is a chance for our beliefs to evolve or mature. It is a chance for a mature reappraisal of our faith. It is also a chance to reevaluate our faith with a more realistic standard.
Sure, it is complicated to reconcile our belief in a loving all-merciful, and all-powerful God when we have just suffered a tragedy that can be life-altering. In such situations, it is very easy to let go and walk away from everything we believe in.
Even then, that choice would be the wrong one to make. Just as in a breakup, where it is not advisable to find a rebound partner when the event is still fresh, it is also very in times of weaker or loosening faith to find another belief system and to try and carry on with life. This approach is not advisable. Instead, it would be much better to give yourself time to think things through and take stock of everything that has happened so far.
Self-reflection is the name of the game whenever these things happen. With proper self-reflection comes change. Most of the time, the person who comes out from this change is more capable than before. He might be capable of building stronger foundations that can last a lifetime.
So how do we cope with the loss of our faith?
Well, the first thing to do is to do the usual of acknowledging what happened. This acknowledgment that something is wrong should always be the first step. Patience is key when figuring things out, especially when uncertainty hangs over the head for such sudden disbelief in the things you once believed in.
Allow yourself to grieve. It might sound weird, but what you are experiencing right now is similar to losing someone close to you. In fact, you can even consider that it is something worse than that. It is the loss of self, a loss of personality. One can compare it to a part of you dying. And it is for this very reason that you should allow yourself to grieve, including the significant stages of grieving: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Sharing your thoughts can also help alleviate the pain that you are suffering. However, sharing your idea with not just anybody but with the right person is essential. Talk to someone compassionate and trustworthy. Most of all, talk to someone who is willing to listen and does not impose their own beliefs on you.
The loss of faith is nothing new. Thousands of people experience this dilemma every day. This doesn’t mean that your situation is relevant. In fact, it is the opposite. It means that you are one of the brave people who are undergoing a considerable challenge that may have a very profound impact on their lives. It is important to know that you are not alone in this fight.