Restoration of the Heart: A Conversation with John Eldredge

This week on The Allender Center Podcast, Dan sits down with his long-time friend, John Eldredge, to share the story behind the upcoming Restoration of the Heart Conference, a joint offering from The Allender Center and Ransomed Heart.

Dan: “It is gorgeous to see the beginnings of restoration.”

Restoration of the Heart, March 4-5 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is born out of decades of experience and years of conversation about the nature of healing and restoration. It’s a conversation that integrates therapeutic story work with an understanding of spiritual warfare and inner healing. Dan and John approach this integration from those two different directions, which so often fail to intersect.

Dan: “How can we not believe that this is what God celebrates, rejoices in, and is committed to? He wants the brown, burnt portions of our lives brought back to life. […] Why is it that I can see this in the plant life before me, but somehow I’m a bit more surprised that He wants this on behalf of my own heart? […] I trust the work He does in the soil better than I do the work He does in my own soul.”

John: “We fall back to management. We fall back to, ‘Well, restoration would be lovely, but I don’t really expect that. So let’s just figure out how to manage my brokenness.’”

For Dan, the journey toward restoration always begins with truth—about who you are, who God is, and what the world is like.

Dan: “Truth is always calling us into a relationship. Truth isn’t just an abstract set of propositions, it’s a person calling us into relationship. […] And if truth calls us to beauty, to the face of Jesus, then beauty must change us as well. […] Truth and beauty are absolutely central to the change process.”

John: “I think that God gave us beauty because it speaks beyond all arguments—beyond all your theology, beyond the wreckage of postmodernism, beyond the collapse of conviction that anything is stable, reliable, absolute, eternal. Beyond all that, beauty still speaks.”

Pursuing restoration requires confronting truth and beauty in a way that leads to surrendering to the kindness of God and God’s work. These are not abstract realities removed from our day-to-day lives, but rather core ways in which we live with our brokenness, our pasts, our relationships, and everything that makes up our daily lives.

Dan shares his own story of learning that rich, meaningful therapeutic work, diving into the particularities of story, was not enough for him to find restoration.

Dan: “The burnt ground had become like a memorial—a place of honor, but not restoration.”

John: “As people get into their stories, as they begin to discover the truth, it is not sufficient. There are at times dark forces that are blocking the way to restoration, blocking the way of beauty, blocking the way of surrender.”

When all of this—truth, beauty, desire, story work, inner healing, spiritual warfare—is integrated, we find ourselves invited into a richness and fullness of life that we have never experienced. That’s what Restoration of the Heart is all about. It’s for pastors, therapists, healers, leaders, and anyone interested in diving into the possibilities and the promise of restoration. Learn more and register here.

John: “The offer really is restoration. […] I know sometimes it feels like the enemy is winning, it feels like destruction is winning, it feels like the best thing we can do is cope and find management strategies. But I just want to say: The offer is restoration.”