I recently had the opportunity to talk with counselor Kristin Clouse on an episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast. During that episode we discussed healing from abuse and trauma and walking in the fullness of who God created you to be. One of the ways to heal from sexual abuse, trauma and other painful experiences is to address soul wounds. Kristin shares what they are, 30 common signs of a wounded soul, and what steps can be made toward healing.
Be sure to read to the end for a book giveaway!
Soul Wounds: 4 Steps toward Healing from the Wounds of Abuse and Trauma
By Kristin Clouse
At twenty-one years old, I began my personal relationship with God. Life up until that point was full of great pain, trauma, abuse, heartache, rejection, and addiction. I didn’t know what it was to be loved, truly loved. I was the farthest thing from being a whole and healthy individual. At that moment, when I asked Jesus into my life, I was wounded and broken. I viewed myself as damaged and beyond repair. Within the first few years of my life-changing encounter with God, I realized that I carried a lot of baggage and past wounds. I desperately needed healing, and it was then I started the journey of restoring my soul.
In Psalms 23:3 (AMP), we read, “He refreshes and restores my soul (life); He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
Here God is giving us a promise of restoration, specifically restoring our soul. In my own journey, I realized I had soul wounds. I needed the Great Physician, our Lord and Savior, to heal and restore.
What are soul wounds?
For someone who has experienced abuse, trauma, hurt, rejection, abandonment, pain, or betrayal, their soul becomes wounded. Sadly, we frequently overlook these wounds. Family and friends question when we are moving on emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. These words can add more wounds to our souls, and often, we hide our pain deep inside.
We put all our wounds in a box in our hearts and lock them up for no one to see. We put masks on our faces to show that all is well. We deceive ourselves into thinking it’s over, but the truth is our wounds are still there deep within us.
When we have soul wounds, the full connection we are intended to have with God becomes damaged. Now, this isn’t a salvation issue, but a growing in Christ need we have when we have soul wounds. God’s plan for each of us is to have a healthy relationship with Him. However, we struggle emotionally, mentally, and spiritually when we have soul wounds.
Finding healing for our soul is vital to a deeper relationship with Christ. Our souls need healing; otherwise, our flesh is in control, and we become tainted by fleshly opinions, perceptions, and perspectives. We’re not being spirit-led but led by the flesh, and that is what comes out and is seen in us, not Jesus.
What is our soul?
Our soul is our mind, will, and emotions. The Hebrew word for soul is nephesh and the Greek word is psuche. Both of these words are widely defined as life. Our soul is our minds, wills, and emotions— the life within us.
Our soul is like a lamp.
An illustration I like to use to better understand our soul wounds is to imagine a lamp in front of us.
The parts of the lamp include the lamp base, the cord, the plug, and the light bulb. The lamp base represents our body, our flesh. The light bulb is what comes out of us based on what source we plug into. The cord represents our soul – our mind, will, and emotion. The plug is our spirit and when we become followers of Christ, the plug connects to God, who is our source of life.
You may be thinking, “What happens to our connection when we have soul wounds?”
When we have soul wounds, our cord gets damaged. Maybe something heavy has sat on it, like a big piece of furniture, and sometimes the lamp works, and sometimes it doesn’t because there is a short in the cord. Other times a cord can get cut, so the source of power can’t get to the lamp at all.
Our soul is this cord. When things happen in our lives that cause soul wounds, we sometimes react from our wounds instead of responding as God would have us in a given situation. Sometimes the light of Jesus shines through us, and at other times no light shines out of us – that’s when we are reacting from our wounds in our flesh.
To be healthy and have the FULL CONNECTION of the Holy Spirit moving through us in our lives, we need our soul – our power cord – to be healed.
Our wounded mind, will and emotions.
Soul wounds are emotional hurts that we have yet to deal with in our lives. The root of these hurts are past trauma, abuse, or life difficulties that have not been resolved within us emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Over time, these deep wounds that are under the surface, if not resolved, become soul wounds.
We tell ourselves, “I’m over that. It happened so long ago; that couldn’t be what upset me. I don’t understand why I’m struggling with life so much.”
In truth, the root of our soul wounds goes back to the trauma, abuse, or life difficulties we experienced. Each of us has felt deep hurt, pain, and more due to the various life difficulties we have faced, and those have impacted our souls.
When we don’t deal with the hurts within us, we collect more hurt and more wounds, and eventually, we struggle regularly with our lives.
Our wounded minds or thought process becomes distorted and we don’t see situations in our lives through a clean filter but through one that is wounded. We then react to our wrong thinking and create a vicious cycle of unhealthy thinking patterns and reactions.
Our wounded will struggle with control and trust. The concept of trusting God with our lives and allowing Him to work in us is challenging for one who has soul wounds. Giving up control becomes a regular battle within.
Our wounded emotions become unmanageable and we may feel uncomfortable with our feelings in general. We struggle to understand, discuss, work through, and face them. Our emotions tend to be a chaotic mess and we often react in unhealthy ways in life situations.
What are the signs of having soul wounds?
Here is a list of just a few of the signs of having soul wounds:
- Shame-led thoughts
- Damaged goods thinking
- Safety and security have broken
- Fear-led thoughts
- Frozen emotions
- Trust issues with God and others
- Fearful of life
- Anger towards God and others
- Struggle surrendering to God
- Difficulty discerning will of God
- Low self-esteem
- Your identity is that of a victim
- Chaotic life
- Difficulty or struggle relating to God
- Distrust of self and decisions
- Emotion-driven instead of God-led
- Guilt over abuse
- Concept of God damaged
- Surrender of control difficult with God
- Struggle with loss of control
- Difficulty with God’s grace and love
- Disconnect from God and others
- Distant from God
- Worry and anxiety driven
- Faulty core beliefs about self
- Feeling of unworthy of God’s love
- Reactive emotionally
Steps for healing soul wounds
First, challenge your negative or shame-led thoughts. Too often, we allow our thoughts to drive our bus – to take control – and they lead us down a dark path of destruction. For many, these thoughts are the beginning steps of spiraling into chaotic and harmful ideas, leading to destructive behaviors. Our pasts can tell us one thing, but God says something different about our lives. So how do we challenge these negative thoughts? Scripture tells us to grab every thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. The Bible tells us we are God’s children and part of His family, as well as numerous other scriptures that speak of our value through Christ. When negative thoughts come, we challenge them by saying, “The truth is…” and then fill in the blank of the truth, not what our negative thoughts are telling us.
Second, pray God’s Word over our lives. Take scripture and turn it into a prayer for our lives. Scripture tells us to remind God of His promises, so we take His Word and turn it into a prayer. We pray God’s “truth” over our lives as we pray God’s Word over every situation.
Third, we bind our minds to the mind of Christ. When we think of a mother who wraps her baby up with a cloth until the child is bound to her, I mean this type of binding. When a cloth binds the child to its mother, the child hears the mother’s heartbeat. This is the same concept for us. When our minds are bound to the mind of Christ, His thoughts become our thoughts. His truths, His Word, and His understandings of us and who we are in Him fill our minds. Praying this daily begins to transform and restore our thinking, and no longer does our past experiences tell us our value or worth.
Finally, let us remember that nothing or no one is beyond restoration with our Jesus. Jeremiah 30:17 tells us, “For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds, says the Lord.” The Lord is faithful as we invite God into our pain to heal our soul wounds.
What impact have soul wounds had on your life? We’d love to hear in the comments below.
About Kristin Clouse
Kristin Clouse is a speaker, licensed professional clinical counselor, pastor, published author, podcaster, and life, trauma and spiritual coach. She is an abuse survivor who helps hurting individuals find freedom, healing and restoration from trauma, abuse, and life difficulties by helping them recognize their soul wounds so they can grow closer in their relationship with Jesus. She is the author of Healing for our Soul Gardens: Restoration and Wholeness After Sexual Abuse and contributing author to She Writes for Him: Stories of Resilient Faith.
God has a purpose for each of us and Kristin is passionate to see women living out the FULLNESS of who God created them to be. Kristin can be found at: www.FullyRestored.love
In conjunction with this post and the podcast interview, Healing from Abuse and Trauma to Walk in the Fullness of Who God Created You To Be – Episode 166, Kristin is giving away a free copy of her book, Healing for our Soul Gardens: Restoration and Wholeness After Sexual Abuse.
Leave a comment below sharing with us one thing you learned about healing soul wounds caused by abuse, trauma and other painful experiences and you will be entered into the contest for your chance to win a copy of her book.
You could also share this blog post on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter then comment here to tell us where you shared it and you’ll also be entered into the drawing.
The winner will be selected at random and announced next Monday, June 27, 2022. Continental United States only.