My neighbour recently threw out an old white, broken, mouldy bench. It wasn’t pretty to look at, but you could see it had been lovely in it’s time. I passed it four or five times and as I passed the bench I found myself wondering if I could restore it.
Restoration is the process of returning something or someone to it’s intended state or status. It is the process of refreshing and cleaning up; of applying a little tender loving care, and gently renewing again.
And so I asked my neighbour for the bench. He was happy to have been let off taking it to the dump, where most old benches end up, and I was happy to carry it home.
I wonder, do you ever feel like life has just left you in the dump?
Do you ever feel you are no longer valued or respected or able to do what you were previously able?
I think most of us feel that way at some point – at many points! If you haven’t been there, keep reading, because one day you may feel that way.
So I took the bench home. I cleaned it with warm soapy water (the equivalent of TLC for a bench) and I removed the mould, dirt and dust. I replaced the broken piece of wood. The bench looked much better.
Restoration looks like this: tackling the pain, the hurts, the habits that destroy us. It is an internal washing of the heart and soul that prepares us for what is yet to come. Restoration itself can be a painful process because it means letting go of what is in the past in order to move forward in the present towards the future.
How do you restore your soul?
For some of us it is in the faith we hold. The Old Testament scriptures have a poem with the lyric “He restores my soul” (Psalm 23:3). Millions of people across many centuries have found that God can indeed restore (heal) and refresh the soul. The soul is that part of us that cannot be seen. It is the invisible, internal aspect of being human. When we experience heartache, loss or hurt it can scar and wound our soul. When we experience joy, kindness and love our souls are refreshed and can be healed. This is one reason finding joy, sharing kindness, and experiencing unconditional love are so vitally important.
The Psalmist is saying that restoration of the soul ultimately comes from God. Now that doesn’t mean that restoration can only come to a person who has faith in God. In the Bible God is presented as pouring grace, love, forgiveness and mercy upon ALL humanity – in grace he provides friends, family, therapists, colleagues, sunsets, creativity, activity, etc. All of which can help to restore our souls.
So, how will you see your soul restored?
Will it be through activities or sports that reinvigorate the body? Will it be through intellectual pursuits that can restore the mind? Perhaps it is in being creative? (that works for me!) Or in drawing closer to God? Perhaps it can be found in being surrounded by the natural beauty of the world? For some of us restoration occurs through interaction, while for others it comes through introversion and solitude.
If you are feeling like my broken old bench, in need of some tender loving care, take time to consider how you might restore your soul. If we neglect to care for the soul everything else can eventually unravel. Look after your ‘inner person’ in order to keep functioning effectively in your work, relationships and pursuits.
For me it is back to the bench. It needs another coat of paint, and then it will have a lovely space in my yard among the flowers and plants we are growing. It will allow us to sit, rest, reflect, and restore as we watch sunsets, eat, and talk together – just as it was created to do.
May you find restoration for your soul so you can live as you are created to do.
Enjoy the journey 👣