“Soul wounds,” often referred to as emotional or spiritual wounds, can manifest differently in each person. Here are some common symptoms associated with soul wounds. It’s important to recognize that soul wounds can be generational and passed down through families. While there’s an extensive list of symptoms, here are a few noteworthy ones:
What are the symptoms of soul wounds?
- Persistent sadness and emotional distress.
I recall a coaching session with a woman who couldn’t stop crying, her face marked by deep sadness. With the revealing power of God, it became evident that her grief and persistent sadness were generational, stemming from her grandmother’s suicide. Through a simple prayer, we broke the cycle of hopelessness, and now she thrives in her career and life.
- Anxiety and stress.
Anxiety and stress have become prominent topics, especially in the wake of the pandemic. Conversations around anxiety are not uncommon, even among pre-teen children and their friends. I recently spoke with a friend who works as a nurse at a Christian school, where her job has become increasingly stressful due to the rising number of children experiencing anxiety and stress. Melinda Smith, M.A., Lawrence Robinson, and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., offer useful tips for managing anxiety in their article “Building Better Mental Health”.
- Low self-esteem and self-criticism.
I must admit that this is an ongoing battle for me. I often struggle with feelings of unworthiness and work tirelessly to prove my worth, sometimes at the cost of my health. This struggle is deeply rooted in culture, generational influences, and personal experiences. Overcoming low self-esteem has been a journey of learning to see myself as God sees me rather than listening to my inner critics or the judgments of others, as I discussed in my book, The Lens of Love.
- Recurrent traumatic memories
Clinical Psychologist Dr. Sonya Norman’s article on “Common Reactions After Trauma“, explores the experience of repeatedly reliving traumatic events or memories, including intrusive thoughts and nightmares.
Mental health has become a prominent subject in media, with many people seeking ways to heal their souls. Common practices for soul healing include:
Common practices for soul healing
- Meditation and mindfulness
Harvard Health Publishing released an article titled “How Meditation Helps with Depression,” explaining how Meditation helps shift the brain and body out of the stress response and into a state of relative calm.
- Prayer and Spirituality:
Rob Whitley, Ph.d., explores the impact of prayer on mental health in his article titled “Prayer and Mental Health,” noting its positive effects on recovery from mental illness and also on the well-being of people. Engaging in prayer and nurturing one’s spiritual beliefs can provide solace, guidance, and a sense of connection with a higher power.
- Art and Creativity:
American Art Therapy Association published an article, “What is Art Therapy? Fact Sheet,” highlighting the effectiveness of art therapy during times of crisis, trauma, and grief. Research indicates that art therapy helps individuals feel more in control of their lives, relieves anxiety and depression, and aids in managing pain by shifting mental focus away from painful stimuli.
I started to engage in more art activities and found it liberating. Art helps me see my creative side. Creative activities like art, writing, music, and dance can be a therapeutic way to express emotions and promote healing.
- Nature and Ecotherapy:
Ecotherapy, or spending time in nature, has a profound healing effect on the soul. Research indicates that participants who spend time in nature experience reduced anger and increased positive emotions. A nature walk can alleviate symptoms of depression and promote a sense of interconnectedness with the environment.
- Self-Reflection and Journaling:
Licensed clinical social worker Andrea Rosenhaft explores the power of writing to heal in her article “The Power of Writing to Heal.” Citing the work of Pennebaker, she notes that writing helps individuals understand events in their lives, construct narratives to contextualize trauma and organize ideas. Self-reflection and journaling facilitate self-discovery and healing.
I used to have a journaling habit in my younger years, and looking back at those old journals, I couldn’t recognize my former self. Becoming a follower of Christ has profoundly transformed my life, and the old, depressed version of me is nowhere to be found.
While these common practices help alleviate the pain of soul wounds by addressing the symptoms, they don’t always tackle the root causes. So, let’s turn to what the Bible says about soul healing.
What Does the Bible Say About Soul Healing?
The Lord is close to those who suffer from soul wounds, and He is there to save them.
Psalm 34:18 (NIV): “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
There is a divine exchange from our soul wounds to the healing through Christ’s sacrifice and forgiveness of sins.
Isaiah 53:5 (NIV): “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds, we are healed.”
Psalm 147:3 (NIV): “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
God is our burden-bear, and He cares for those who have anxiety and soul wounds.
1 Peter 5:7 (NIV): “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Our hope and healing are in Jesus, our Savior, and our God.
Psalm 42:11 (NIV): “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
Soul Healing Examples in the Bible
The Samaritan woman arrived to draw water during the day’s heat when no one else was around. She was likely the subject of town gossip and faced rejection from the other women in the community. Her life was marked by a complicated past, including multiple failed marriages, and she was presently living with a man who was not her husband.
Her soul found healing through a conversation with Jesus. Her healing from shame, rejection, and isolation was complete when Jesus revealed He was the Messiah. He declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he” (John 4:26). This encounter marked a supernatural truth revelation from God: “He told me everything I ever did” (John 4:39). This encounter transformed her from a state of shame, rejection, and isolation to a newfound freedom – she went to share her testimonial to everyone in town.
Understanding God for who He truly is and His love marks the beginning of our soul healing. When we encounter the truth, we embark on a journey towards soul healing. The Samaritan woman experienced a transition from darkness to light, as Jesus identified Himself as the light, proclaiming, “I have come into the world as light so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness” (John 12:46).
Heal Soul Wounds Biblical methods
I have undergone extensive soul-healing in my life and have assisted many others in their soul-healing journey. Here are some of the methods I employ for soul healing:
- I practice waiting on God. It involves sitting and waiting on God while conversing with Jesus.
- In my effort to nurture an intimate relationship with God, I listen to His voice.
- As I wait and communicate with God, He reveals and assists me in eliminating distorted perceptions about God, myself, and others, guiding me toward a clearer perspective rooted in love.
- During my encounters with God, I entrust Him with my burdens, issues, and struggles, and in return, Jesus offers me a divine exchange – something redeemed, renewed, and sometimes surprising. I cherish these moments when I appropriate the finished work of Christ into my daily life.
- I firmly believe that the growth of our relationship with Jesus hinges on our willingness to relinquish our ways and let go of control, embracing confession, repentance, and forgiveness as essential pathways to soul healing.
What impedes your journey to soul healing?
- Unbelief is often a significant barrier. Without genuine belief in Jesus as their Lord and Savior, individuals may experience hurdles in achieving freedom and healing.
- Double-mindedness, as mentioned in the Bible, can hinder one’s progress. To experience breakthrough healing, one must fully align with God rather than straddling God’s path and the path of the world or darkness.
- A hardened heart, characterized by an unwillingness to forgive, is a common hindrance among those seeking soul healing. Holding onto offense, bitterness, and unforgiveness can obstruct one’s relationship with God and others and potentially leave lasting scars, even on one’s physical well-being.
- The inability to be transparent often poses a challenge. When individuals are unwilling to be open and honest due to shame, guilt, or fear of retaliation, they are less likely to attain the desired soul healing. True healing only occurs when darkness is exposed to the light.
In conclusion, soul healing is a journey we all embark upon, regardless of our past experiences or current struggles. While the symptoms of soul wounds may vary, the path to healing remains within reach, and it’s a path illuminated by hope and faith.
As we’ve explored, there are many approaches to soul healing, from meditation and prayer to the therapeutic power of art and nature. These practices address the symptoms and provide comfort, but true soul healing goes even deeper. It delves into the roots of our pain, seeking to mend not just the wounds but the soul itself.
The Bible offers us profound wisdom on soul healing, assuring us that God is close to the brokenhearted and that through Christ’s sacrifice, we find the path to true healing and redemption. The story of the Samaritan woman exemplifies how a single encounter with Jesus can transform a life, healing the wounds of shame, rejection, and isolation.
My journey and the journeys of those I’ve had the privilege to help underscore the importance of waiting on God, hearing His voice, and allowing Him to reveal the truth, which ultimately guides us toward the clear-sighted love that heals our souls.
It’s important to acknowledge the obstacles on this path—unbelief, double-mindedness, hardened hearts, and the fear of transparency. Overcoming these challenges requires a deep commitment to the journey, a genuine desire for change, and the strength to confront our darkness with the light of truth.
Soul healing is not just a one-time event; it’s an ongoing process of self-discovery and transformation. The symptoms may dissipate, but the journey continues, and the healing deepens. With each step, we draw closer to God, who is the ultimate source of our hope and healing.
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