Soul Restoration

I always like those animal rescue video clips where a neglected dog, covered with sores and starving is picked up, fed, healed, and the next scene is a wildly happy animal with a shiny coat running after a Frisbee. If this is what some love and attention can do for a pet, what can God do for the suffering soul?

The Lord promises us in Psalm 23 that it is He who shepherds our soul. Each soul is unique and in a very individualize process. He sees what we need at any given time. Our souls are alive and subject to the bruises of life and His promise is for continually restoration. The Hebrew word for ‘restores’ has its roots in the verb ‘to return’. It is He who imparts the grace to repent, receive comfort, and change direction. So what does soul restoration entail?

It begins with believing you are beloved, blessed, befriended and highly esteemed. In other words, you are under grace, not the law. Believers can fall into the trap of thinking they have to be perfect to please God or always perform at peak. But as author Brennan Manning declares, “God loves us as we are, not as we would like to be’.

Another element of soul restoration is facing stifled emotions and allowing the Lord to penetrate deeply into the hidden caves of the heart. The emotions we bury alive can overwhelm us when triggered, and this is where addictions are born. If we allow the foe of injustice, rejection or humiliation to surface and face it, then real forgiveness and healing can begin. Like David before Goliath, you come in the name of the Living God. Sharing these painful places with God and a safe friend in prayer is a wonderful way to fell this giant.

Soul renewal is becoming aware of the misbeliefs we learned in childhood such as ‘Everyone must like me so I can feel good about myself”. Or “I only have value if I work so hard I burn-out”. Or “Nothing I do will matter anyway”. These are lies that weigh us down. These need to be challenged. What is the evidence that we will “always’ fail. Do these thoughts line up with scripture? Do they produce a sense of well-being?

As the Lord promises to rebuild the ancient ruins of Jerusalem, so it is with our devastated souls. And if you go through the process of healing both the heart and mind, you will be equipped to be a “Repairer of Broken Walls” in someone else’s life. (Isaiah 58:12).

This article originally appeared on Anchor of Hope Family Counseling Center, June 9, 2016, and reposted with permission.

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Dr. Snyder is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with an MS in Education and Fuller Theological Seminary with a Ph.D. in Marital and Family Counseling. She has over 10 years clinical experience. Her work experience includes Chaplaincy in the National Institutes of Health, Clinical Research Center, Bethesda Maryland, Assessment Supervisor at the Psychiatric Institute of Washington, D.C. and Employee Assistance Consultant in the Federal Government. Dr. Snyder holds dual citizenship with the United States and Israel. She became an Israeli citizen in 1983. Her vision for a Messianic Counseling Center began in the 1990’s, and is seeing fulfillment in the Anchor of Hope Counseling Center and Lay Counseling Training Program.