In my early twenties I began noticing an underlying battle in my mind and emotions. I would pray, but felt my prayers were not getting through this unexplainable invisible barrier. My mind was a battlefield of thoughts ranging from a simple lack of focus to a devastating loss of identity. My emotions were so suppressed that I did not and could not process any of this in a meaningful, productive way. My soul was wounded. I carried with me an early childhood abuse and it after-effects, and worse, I hadn’t told a single person. I was quickly coming to the realization that buried secrets get louder and louder until we deal with them. My mind became a nagging movie reel, daily flashing before me images of the abuse. This was not an attack from the enemy. This was the Holy Spirit illuminating something from my past that needed to be properly dealt with. I had no choice...I became vulnerable and told someone.
Every one of us has gone through significant life challenges that, if unresolved, can greatly affect our soul. Our souls can become wounded through our own sin, the sins others commit against us, and traumatic experiences. If you have a wounded soul you are simply not going to birth the fruit that God longs for you to manifest. 3 John 2 tells us this very thing: we prosper in every realm of life only as our soul prospers. Soul healing, then, is the process of working through and finding closure to wounded emotions as they come up (Romans 12:2, 1 Peter 5:7, 2:24,25). This "healing of the brokenhearted" (Luke 4:18 New King James Version) is part of the larger journey of sanctification. I think of it as tending to my inner garden with the Lord daily.
There are several practical steps in healing the wounded soul. I'd like to touch on three: vulnerability, the resurrection, and fasting. Vulnerability can feel like pulling off a band-aid too soon, but it is necessary for deeper healing. Suppressed emotions from the past need to be processed and cried out vulnerably to the Lord (1 Peter 5:7). Find someone safe and sufficiently equipped to talk with about your situation who will love and pray for you and possibly provide insight (James 5:16). Because Jesus rose from the dead, he gives us the power to be raised from the dead, too, in every part of our being--body, soul, and spirit (Ephesians 1:19,20). Paul says there is power still emanating from the resurrection (Philippians 3:10). The word translated "power" is the Greek word dunamis. This words means "thepower to perform miracles and excellence of soul." Spend time with and pray for God to flood your wounded places with dunamis resurrection power. It will happen. Fasting looses the chains of injustice, sets the oppressed free, and breaks every yoke (Isaiah 58:6 NIV). Picture your soul as a garden; fasting manifests dramatically increased power to remove the weeds, till the ground, and fertilize the soil. Old bondages, idols, false senses of security, pride, legalism, and suppressed emotions become obvious for uprooting. This process sounds painful, but if we are earnestly seeking the Lord we will be rewarded (Hebrews 11:6). As you pray and feast on the word of God through this process you become broken before His feet. The Master Gardener of our soul can then lay new seeds in healthy soil that will sprout and bear much fruit. What sweet fruit can you expect to bear? A better understanding of the Scriptures, emotional and mental freedom, a healthy fear of the Lord, a richer prayer life, a new power to create, etc. A healthy and whole new you will emerge, a prosperous soul bearing much fruit.