Psalm 23:3 “He restores my soul…”
Heart – Soul – Mind
Why do our souls require restoration? Once the Holy Spirit comes alive in our hearts, shouldn’t we be good to go? What even is our soul that it should require such care and concern?
Think about your life as being directed by three different streams – Heart, Soul, and Mind. Our hearts represent the core of our being, the part of us we surrender to God when receiving salvation. Our mind determines the thoughts we think – positive/negative, encouraging/destructive, loving/hateful, life/death.
In between rests our soul. The soul provides a filter between our heart and mind that determines whether we are living as Jesus lives and enjoying abundant life, or not.
Most agree that the soul primarily represents a person’s emotional hub and forms our beliefs about life. Feelings and desires flow from the soul. Our soul can fuel our thoughts and influence our behaviors. A healthy soul tethers the mind to the Spirit in our hearts to keep us in sync with Father God. A broken soul leads to internal fragmentation, making it difficult to hear God’s voice and walk in obedience and purity.
A Story of a Broken Soul
Unfortunately, I learned these truths about the soul the hard way.
While a great wealth of back story could be shared, I’ll jump to the middle. As a 15 year old girl, I found myself crumbling beneath the weight of eating disorders and toying with suicide. I stood a feeble 5′ 7″ and barely 80 pounds, disillusioned and cynical with life.
I had a broken soul.
Fear and insecurity, false comparison, and, as a result, a perfectionist personality had totally ripped to shreds any semblance of my identity in Christ. I knew I was a Christian. The Bible was my book of choice. However, all the truths lay stuck in my mind and were not seeping into my heart.
I knew God the Father was supposed to love me, but I didn’t feel it. Lies had erased any sense of personal value I had once possessed, and I wasn’t sure I could ever be enough to earn God’s favor. While I desperately wanted to please God (and others for that matter), I was too self-centered to see anything but my own flaws, thereby ignoring the work of Jesus to cover over those flaws with His blood.
Fueled by the brokenness of my soul, my mind felt trapped in a cage of negativity and lies. Soon I grew overly sensitive and easily angered by practically anyone, especially those closest to me.
Healed Heart, Healthy Soul
The beginning of my restoration came when God provided a personal revelation of what it meant for Him to be my Father. One night in my bedroom, I looked up into the mirror and truly saw for the first time how broken I had become, physically and emotionally. However, instead of seeing a vision of what I could “become,” I saw myself as I truly was and heard a whisper from God, “You are broken, and I love you anyway.”
Related Post: God Did It | My Testimony of Healing
Once we realize that even in the midst of our brokenness we are loved, we are cherished, and we are still adopted into the family of God, our restoration begins. The Father delights in us and pours out His love to us even in our darkest places, and we can’t gain more or less of it depending on how “good” we think we’re living the Christian life.
Without a healed and adopted heart, our souls will inevitably remain orphaned and broken.
How Jesus Restores
Once we’ve experienced a healed heart, Jesus steps in to complete the work of restoring our souls.
Jesus even now is standing before the Father interceding for us (Romans 8:34). He is able to sympathize with every single emotion, temptation, and betrayal because He experienced them on earth. God has only ever completely forsaken one person: Jesus (Matthew 27:46). Because of Jesus’ endurance, the Father can can say to us “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus now holds the key to our restoration.
Soul restoration is often arduous work. In order to recognize the restoring work of Jesus, sometimes we must walk through pain and feelings of being forsaken. But slowly and surely as we seek His power in our lives Jesus transforms anger into gratitude, bitterness to love, cynicism to hope, and depression to joy.
I imagine Jesus standing before the Father discussing current restoration projects like, “Father, ____ is crumbling beneath the betrayal she feels from her ex-husband, and she needs the strength to forgive. I’m going to help her!” or “Father, ____’s rejection from his Father has left Him feeling unworthy and invaluable to you. Let’s show ____ how much you truly love him!”
Jesus is able to do this because of His death and choice to take on ALL the evil of all mankind on the cross. This provides us the opportunity to live free from evil’s power. Jesus came to not just provide a path to a future heaven, but to grant us access to the abundant life of the Kingdom now (John 10:10).
A restored soul is the key to experiencing the wealth of promises given to us as God’s children.
Healthy Soul, Transformed Mind
When reflecting on my own testimony, the first step that led to my restoration was that I stopped focusing on myself and began to focus more on Jesus. My number one worry was no longer how to crawl out of the pit. Instead, I thought more on how I could bring others out of the pit with me. Father God, through the work of Jesus, restored my soul. Soon my mind realigned with the Holy Spirit, and truth replaced lies, love replaced negativity, and hope replaced cynicism.
Healed Heart – Healthy Soul – Transformed Mind. As our feelings and emotions align with the Holy Spirit, our thoughts transform and strength increases to live obediently before God.
I encourage you to ask yourself these “soul check” questions:
- Do I approach life from a place of peace, hope and gratitude? Or do I feel everything is an uphill battle?
- Am I constantly struggling with fear, insecurity, and intimidation? Our do I walk with humble confidence?
- Do I feel God’s presence and hear His voice? Or, do I struggle with unworthiness and doubt regarding what God says?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any areas of brokenness in your soul and invite Jesus to complete the restoring work needed to experience abundant life here and now.