The thread

“It’s like I’m hanging onto my faith by a thread. I just don’t know what to do anymore.” 

It’s a powerful image, isn’t it? A hand desperately clinging to a tiny thread connecting him to the Eternal. A weary hand outstretched, tearful eyes, and a gravitational pull towards a threadless life.

When someone says that to me I wonder if their soul is literally dangling over a faithless abyss separating them from the faithful life they know? Are they really thinking that the afterlife in hell, separated from God, would be better than the hell they are living in the present? Maybe. Sometimes. Yes.

Most often, pain or frustration brings them to this place. Maybe they suddenly lost a loved one? Or maybe their vocational dreams just evaporated? Or maybe their marriage is over? Or maybe they just can’t stand their church anymore?

The circumstances, there are always circumstances, are what has pushed them to this place.

Whatever it is– it brings them to the edge of their faith. A person says that phrase, “I’m hanging on by a thread” as a warning. They are really saying… “I’m thinking of letting go of my faith.

I know that because I’ve been there. Too many sorrows, too much crap, too much annoyance has pushed me dangling over that abyss more times than I’d care to admit. Hanging there by a thread the most honest thought in my mind is– “I just don’t need this anymore.

Want to know a secret? 

In my experience, it takes letting go of that last stupid thread of faith to find faith.

That’s my sympathetic advice to friends who say that to me. Let go of the thread. To paraphrase Alice in Wonderland, let’s see where this rabbit trail goes.

It’s positively illogical, isn’t it? Sometimes in order to find faith you need to let go of faith. But that’s exactly how it works.

When you let go, when you fall down the abyss and land at the bottom. There a new reality emerges for you. Your journey might reveal that the thread you were holding onto wasn’t even faith in God at all. Maybe it was faith in your job? (Or your faith WAS your job) Maybe that thread was tied to an abusive organization or person? Maybe that thread was tied to your family history? Or your child-like dreams? Or you never really asked yourself what your faith was because you just got so busy being a faithful person you never took the time to discover who you actually had faith in?

And the crazy thing is that in that abyss of letting go– God is still there. He is still faithful. He is still good. He will find you. And you might just find a brand new faith.

So that’s my advice. Just let go. 

Discover just how omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God really is. I’m not saying put Him to the test. I’m saying put you to the test. 

My experience has shown me time and time again: When I let go of the thread of faith I’m holding onto, I discover newfound freedom in faith I never knew existed.

Photo credit: Stephen Montgomery via Flickr (Creative Commons)

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7 responses to “The thread”

  1. Josh Cole Avatar

    Always enjoy reading your blogs.  This idea of lettign go is one that I have also found true in my own life expereinces.  As a youth pastor now though I think part of the fear in Church in America is that if people let go they will never come back to their faith.  That is at least often my fear. 

  2. Mike Nagel Avatar

    Great post… I just shared Exodus 14:14 (The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.) with our group.

    Sometimes we just need to stop fighting for ourselves, let go, and find that we have faith in a HUGE God after all.

  3. Timbaker1 Avatar

    Many of us live in that space of having just let go, but having not reached the bottom yet. That’s sometimes a very long fall, happening over a number of years. This is a good post Adam. 

  4. Robb Gossen Avatar

    Thanks Adam, needed this reminder today that letting go of the thread was the right thing to do.  Been wrestling with the question did I do the right thing? This continues to confirm that God was definitely moving and pushing me to let go.

  5. A Drive-by Toga Avatar
    A Drive-by Toga

    Hmmm….faith
    unraveled for me upon inspecting the inadequate methodology within
    Christianity, coupled with weak evidence. 
    It wasn’t dissatisfaction with events or people or places; it was the
    gradual impossibility of maintaining belief. 
    When I cried out for help—when I said my faith was hanging by a thread—the
    Christians were unwilling and/or unable to address my intellectual concerns.  

     

    Upon
    letting go, I did leave faith behind (as Josh Cole fears), although I find
    myself in a far more contented position as a deconverted Christian, so perhaps
    Adam McLane’s advice works out in the end.

     

    Although
    recently, in discussing with other deconverts and reflecting my own history, I
    notice how terribly unprepared Christianity is to deal with deconverts.  Family and friends abandon them; they become “pariahs”
    and lose their entire social circle. 

     

    If
    one does let go of that thread, and does leave the faith—are you prepared to
    handle it?

    1. Adam McLane Avatar

      While I don’t think we’ve ever met face to face… I meet “a drive-by toga” 3-4 times per week. I believe God is big enough to be OK with us letting go. Whether or not people who work in churches think so is another question altogether. 

  6. Brandon Pachey Avatar
    Brandon Pachey

    So very well said, I think churches as a whole need to be preaching this very same thing. Well said and worth a share Adam.

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