Why Pursue Soul Healing?
The Roots of People Pleasing - by Jenny Spontak
Often, when we experience anger, fear, worry, depression, anxiety, loneliness or stress – we shut down these feelings by distracting ourselves. Our flesh tends to shy away from things (or feelings) that cause us pain. However, this natural-born defense mechanism [ignoring our wounds] only keeps us stuck and in bondage. The truth is that “soul wounds” are exactly what keeps us stuck and from walking in the fullness that God intended for our lives.
In Isaiah 61, the Bible describes a prophecy that Jesus fulfilled when He came to earth. It’s also a legacy that He left for us to embrace, experience and share with others. The good news of the gospel of Peace results when we allow the Holy Spirit to help us dig up the “roots” [past pain] of our own soul wounds.
Many people ask me why I’m so interested in looking back at my past pain. They say, “That sounds awful. Why would I put myself through that?”
Here’s my answer:
When you walk in the beauty that results from giving up your “ashes” [soul wounds, past pain] to Jesus, you won’t be able to contain your joy about the healing power available to all who believe! Jesus died on the cross and rose again to forgive our sins and heal our broken hearts.
Isaiah 53:5 explains, “He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our guilt and iniquities [soul wounds resulting from sin]; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.”
Jesus not only sacrificed His life (saving us from the punishment of sin) so that we could live eternally in Heaven, but also so we could receive healing now – from the devastation and destruction that remains in our souls!
By seeking the Lord and growing in the knowledge of His Word, I’m realizing the importance that God places on healing our soul wounds. He desires to work in us (and through us) to reach the hurting souls we encounter through our relationships. God also knows that wounded healers are at the highest risk of enemy attack. Satan tries to prevent them from thinking about difficult things from their pasts for one colossal reason: healing means freedom (and we know that the devil certainly doesn’t want us to experience that!) You’ll also find that the enemy works overtime to keep us from seeking God in the first place – warning us not to be vulnerable about our brokenness. So then, how do we dispel these lies of the enemy? Through God’s Word.
In order to positively affect others for Christ, we must fully embrace the healing process for ourselves. We need to keep in mind that the number of people we can help is the same number of people we can hurt! Isaiah 61 is a great chapter to study about soul healing – it helps us to understand the healing process as a whole and that peace that is available to all of us. As I observe Christians (myself included) trying to minister to those who appear far from faith, I often notice that it’s the wounds from the past getting in the way of the future.
For example, if you carry a root of rejection (which I did) when you feel rejected by others, the emotional pain takes control and you might end up saying something you regret in the moment. The devil is a master at working through people to push their buttons and wants ruin their witness! This is why Jesus took the punishment – to heal that root of rejection [soul wound] – so that we can regain power over our emotions – becoming the true witnesses He died for us to be!
Personally, the root of rejection that I subconsciously carried in my soul led to a pattern of people pleasing in all my relationships. The fear of being rejected drove me to constantly keep people “happy” so that they would think well of me. I didn’t realize that by doing this, I was actually seeking love through the acceptance of others rather than God! I would go out of my way for others in order to gain their approval – creating one-sided friendships that would eventually fall apart. In these relationships, I struggled to understand why I was met with anger or jealousy when I sought their support. It took some time for me to see that I was contributing to this pattern by putting the other person on a pedestal. When I needed something, they just weren’t able to reciprocate and then I would get very hurt and upset because that’s not how I was treating them.
When I finally turned to God for answers, the Holy Spirit showed me that my motivation to please people was actually rooted in selfishness. How? By sacrificially pouring into these relationships to gain love and acceptance for myself, not purely to bless the other person. By subconsciously attaching “strings” to my giving, I would ultimately sabotage the friendships. Because the dynamic of my relationships were one-sided, I was attracted to friends who were not able to give back. Unknowingly, the fear of rejection (manifested through my people pleasing) was what was leading me directly into the very rejection that I was fearing! By spending time with God [receiving His love and acceptance], the wounds in my heart have been healed. Now, I’m able to have healthy “give-and-take” relationships without expecting so much in return. Since I know I’m loved by God, I am free to love others!
When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, He gives us a helper, the Holy Spirit, Who comes and lives in our spirits – revealing the “roots” of the emotional soul wounds we’re carrying in our hearts. As we continue to allow the Holy Spirit to uncover the roots of our pain, we are healed through the blood and resurrection power of Christ, and we know the joy of our salvation!
Isaiah 61:1 tells us that Jesus came to “preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He was sent to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives, and open up the prisoner’s eyes of those who are bound.”
Isaiah 61:3 goes on to explain that when you “give up your ashes” [sin, guilt, shame, selfishness, self-pity, fears, anxieties, disappointments, rejection, soul wounds, hurts, trauma, stress, etc…] and “receive God’s beauty” [gift of righteousness, see 2 Corinthians 5:21]; you’re able to let go of the heavy burdens, despair, failing spirits, soul pain, generational patterns of wrong thinking, negative habits, character flaws]. It is then you will be called “oaks of righteousness,” the planting of the Lord [Jesus] in your heart and He will be glorified.”
You’ll be full of the joy and peace that accompanies freedom from soul wounds.
Isaiah 61:4 uses the words “rebuild, raise up, and renew the ruined cities – devastations of many generations.” The Holy Spirit accomplishes the rebuilding of our foundation when we allow Christ to be the anchor of our souls [soul-mate]. We must permit the Holy Spirit to raise up the former desolations – the pain from our past – so that Christ’s blood can clean up the soul wounds. Through the healing process, the Holy Spirit renews the devastations of generational curses in our blood lines.
And that, my friends, is pretty big deal. Now, let’s examine some more of God’s promises:
The remaining verses of Isaiah 61, (5-11) drive home the benefits we experience after engaging in the healing process. “You’ll find favor with people you don’t even know.” (61:5). We will be called “priests of the Lord” (61:6) in the same way that 1 Peter 2:5 refers to us as a royal priesthood. Isaiah 61:7 says, “Instead of your former shame you shall have a twofold recompense, instead of dishonor and reproach, you shall rejoice in your portion.” Isaiah 61:8 goes on to confirm that the Lord loves justice; He makes wrong things right! Then, God promises in Isaiah 61:9 to “take care of you and your offspring. All will recognize and acknowledge that the Lord has blessed you.”
The gratitude you will feel is then expressed in Isaiah 61:10; “I will rejoice in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God, for He has clothed me in the garments of salvation – He continues to deliver me and restores my soul as I walk with Him daily. He has covered me with the robe of righteousness.” This verse tells me that my new identity, value, and right standing with God are found in Christ. Isaiah 61:11 concludes with, “as surely as we sow our ashes as seeds, the Lord will cause rightness and justice, and praise to spring forth before all people.”
And that, is a pretty giant promise my friends and precisely why we all need soul healing ….so that we’re able to experience more peace, enjoy everyday life and continue witnessing to the others that God shows us we can impact.