Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In Other Words---Healing a Broken Soul


“For most of this century we have wrongly defined soul wounds as psychological disorders and delegated their treatment to trained specialists. Damaged psyches aren’t the problem. The problem is disconnected souls.”
by Larry CrabbConnecting:Healing Ourselves and Our Relationships

I have a lot of respect for Larry Crabb as a writer about psyche and relationships. And, I do see the point that he is making in this quote. Too often we jump on a bandwagon of the latest psychological fad and miss the underlying issues of where a person is hurting. Helping people find a connection between their deepest needs and the Creator who created those needs can indeed solve many of the issues out there.

Many of the issues. Not all.

And I feel compelled to say that we as the church are not always welcoming of people who truly have those diagnoses and truly need a trained professional's help in learning to cope with life. Of course, you might expect that kind of statement from me since I am a trained counselor. I am well aware that many of the people I've provided an ear and advice to over the years needed a relationship with Jesus more than they needed a relationship with me. But some of them needed a trained professional to help them see their way through.

Sometimes, even in the midst of our relationship with Jesus, we need professional help. I know that was true for me. I knew that the scars I needed to deal with were soul scars. And I first went to my church who could only give me the answer "just trust Jesus for that." And then I went to a Christian counselor, who could only say to me "just trust Jesus for that." It took a secular counselor who wasn't afraid to challenge "just trust Jesus" who helped me get to the source of the scarring, find a way through that pain and finally be able to "just trust Jesus."

It's true, many of the issues are soul brokenness. But we have to be willing to help people get to the broken place before we can expect them to heal. Sometimes it takes a professional to do that. I wish that more "counselors" in our churches could get past the fear of the messiness of what soul brokenness really looks like in order to help restore people. It is true that we need to "trust Jesus" but sometimes we need help in reaching that point.

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;
Psalm 34:17-19

Father God as I come along people in my every day routine, help me to recognize the brokenness of the soul that causes them to behave the way they do. Help me to be an instrument of your healing and connection in their life. Amen.

This week's hostess is Esthermay at The Heart of a Pastor's Wife. Come, visit, and be blessed.


Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

Thank-you so much for sharing your heart!! You are so right...it's easy to say, "trust Jesus"....but in the fog of the trial we are walking in, it's often hard to do just that..."trust Jesus"!

I'm so glad that you have found freedom, healing, and wholeness! :-)

Karen said...

Instead of being quick to judge we need to be more in a hurry to get people to Jesus. Thanks for today's post it was great.

mamas*little*treasures said...

Good morning MiPa ;o) You have always been so faithful to visit the other IOW ladies, even mine when I've simply been unable to return the gift. Thank you! I'm still struggling with so many things related to having the time to do what God has put in my heart to do, and the need to help provide financially for my family. But that's another story for another day . . . . today I have the gift of time to be able to visit, so here I am!

Your words today have also been a gift . . . . too often I also attempted to seek guidance from a pastor or other Christian in a church, and was given a condescending pat on the head, and told that if I would only read my Bible more, or pray more, oh, and, perhaps it was that I wasn't having my daily devotions often enough, or long enough, and on and on and on. So, in the end it was all MY fault that I was struggling. More brokenness - so I think the truth lies in a balance between walking with the Lord and following His lead as to our need for professional guidance along our earthly journey. I know that going to a Christian counselor following a 25-year marriage filled with verbal abuse and infidelity certainly helped me to see beyond the lies to the truth of who I really am and THEN I was able to reconnect with God in a more honest way - and that combination has enabled me to move on from that heartache. We learn so much from each other here at IOW!!! Thanks and have a blessed Tuesday - Nina

Laurie Ann said...

Brava! Awesome post! I believe in my heart of hearts that there are people who are equipped to help us understand and deal with not only the source of our brokenness, but who are learned people who are able to tell us how to just trust Jesus. It may involve setting boundaries, getting free from toxic relationships, accepting things we cannot change, taking medication for bona fide illnesses or whatever. God has gifted people like you to counsel others to help people like me walk the talk I profess. Most excellent post! I love it!

Sharlyn Guthrie said...

I agree that professional counseling is often necessary, and that within the church there is certainly a place for recommending it. You sound like a very caring counselor, and with your personal experience and background I am sure you are able to help many work through their soul scars.

Michelle Bentham said...

As I read your post, I remembered a season of our lives when Justin was spinning out of control... A certain, well-intentioned, psycho-analyzer who shall remain nameless had a young man with similar issues on his show.

My daughters watched in horror and disgust as this doctor exhibited all this young (17 years old) man's weaknesses and flaws on television for the world to see. He was literally disowned by his parents right there on the show, scorned by the audience and though his deeds were heinous... I could not help but feel great compassion for him.

My oldest daughter turned to me and said, "If you ever do that to our brother I will never speak to you again."

Mercy, Lord Jesus, Come.

thanks for sharing and making me think. You bless me always.


Denise said...

Such a wonderful post.

Esthermay said...

Excellent point.

Once that “connection” to God is made, then it is far easier to discern whether a person is experiencing soul-wounds or a damaged psyche. Some studies (endorsed -- of course -- by Christian therapists and disputed -- of course -- by secular therapists) show that the number of damaged psyches goes down once the soul-wound is healed. Many – by NO means all – damaged psyches are simply spiritual deadness.

In my counseling practice, I've found that as the secular field grows more and more hostile to the Christian field, "patients" become more and more resistant to addressing the spiritual and it becomes harder and harder to truly reach people on a spiritual level. That's sad.

There is, however, a lot of "spiritual abuse" going on in the field. Your experience bears this out -- although I don't know the whole story. . . .

Are you familiar with the book "The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse" by VanVonderan? Exellent read. I thought of it as I read your post.

Thank you for your post today.
Happy Tuesday!

Patricia said...

Thank you for sharing today. I agree there are times we may need others outside the community of Christ to help break open the deep wells inside of us. Ideally Christians should be able to do this, but so much of what is "Christian" today is not what God would have it to be. I think we are so afraid to step outside the box of our comfort zones.