“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores (refreshes) my soul.” Psalm 23:1-3 When we talk of restoring the soul, 2 questions come to mind;
1. What does it mean to restore or refresh? &
2. What is my soul? Re: question 1. The word “restore” or “refresh” comes from the root “to return”. In the Bible to restore something means to take it back to the best of what it once was. But it means more than that. Being a well-adjusted-gender kind of guy, I watch two kinds of restoration TV shows, car restoration shows and house restoration shows. I both show the owner wants the car or house to be returned to what it once was at its best. But have you noticed that they often want the car or house to be built up to modern standards? They want the charm, but they want the new technology as well. In other words, they want the best of what it was but also the best of what it can possibly be. This is God’s goal in the soul restoration project he has for you.
Re: question 2. When the Bible talks about the “soul” it is talking about our deepest desires, emotions, passions, and thoughts. It often refers to our soul as our “heart”. It is all about a person’s inner being. It is where our sense of well-being comes from. Before we get into the means of how this restoration takes place, we need to understand that restoration occurs in two ways, as an event, and as a process. Here is my story of a restoration event. These events are wonderful but most of the time restoration takes place as a process. This is what Psalm 23 describes. “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores/refreshes my soul.”
Psalm 23:2-3 When you hear these words, what words come to mind? For me, it’s “stillness”, “quietness”, and “rest”. And you will note that it is our shepherd God who is making this happen. He is restoring our souls, but He is doing it through stillness and quietness. This is a theme in the Bible. “Be still, and know that I am God;” Psalm 46:10 “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;” Psalm 37:7 “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength,” Isa 30:15 “My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have stilled and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.” Psalm 131:1-2 “Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Exodus 14:13-14 All of us have “Egyptians” in our lives. Those problems, situations, lies, negative emotions, and thoughts, that steal our peace and joy. These are the things that corrode our souls. What are your “Egyptians”? What are the thoughts and emotions, & situations, that keep you awake at night? Remember, it is God who restores your soul, you can only anesthetize it with temporary distractions.
You cannot heal your own soul. Only God can do that., but you have a part to play in the process. It has to do with ruthlessly creating and protecting a time of encounter with God in stillness. Your part is to show up, be still, and let Him restore your soul. The only problems in your soul He will fix are the ones you bring to Him. Let’s try it… What are the negative thoughts, beliefs, emotions, or circumstances that are damaging your soul? Read, Psalm 131:1-2…. Bring the negative emotion to Him now – tell Him about it. Now, wait… what is He doing? What is He saying? How is He here for you now?