It is God’s desire and objective that no matter where we are on our life journey, we have access to resources intended to restore us to His original plan for us. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth” (Gen. 1:26 KJV).
Everything we know points to God as the ultimate in power, knowledge, character, wisdom, emotional and physical health, and the ultimate in everything that is good. He is an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God. Since we are called to live in the image and likeness of God, we can be assured of restoration no matter the circumstances. In other words, when life’s challenges pull us away from moving toward God’s image and likeness, we can believe that He has already set in motion steps that will bring us back to His original plan.
Jeremiah 30:17 emphasizes God promises restoration: “For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,” says the LORD (Jeremiah 30:17). Believing that we can be restored to our healthier self can actually stimulate chemical changes in the brain yielding healing properties. Numerous studies suggest that hope, which involves both belief and expectations, is an essential catalyst for healing. In The Anatomy of Hope, physician Jerry Groopman describes the domino effect of hope producing a chain reaction that promotes healing.
From the time of our entry into this imperfect world, countless circumstances impact our lives, some hurting us and at times creating potentially life-crippling wounds — wounds produced by chronic stress, abuse, physical and mental health challenges, violence, situational setbacks and debilitating tendencies passed on from previous generations. These wounds can cause emotional deficits that threaten to interfere with our ability to live optimally. We don’t get to choose the families into which we are born, neither do we always have control over factors that hurt us emotionally. However, achieving emotional healing is within everyone’s reach.
The journey to healing begins with a belief that healing is achievable and expecting to experience evidences of healing along the way. Believing that we were created in God’s image and hoping to achieve God’s purpose in our lives provide us with an edge, setting us on the path to restoration. Steps to restoration include:
— Identifying factors contributing to the emotional deficits
— Seeking professional help
— Establishing healthy boundaries
— Surrounding one’s self with supportive resources
— Developing the courage to love and value yourself as a child of God created in His image and His likeness
— Nurturing the hope that healing is achievable.
Judith Fisher, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who serves as director of Psychological Services at Andrews University.