Hey, all! Recently, I saw Disney/Pixar’s newest film, Soul, and I thought I’d take a shot at spilling a couple thoughts about a certain aspect of it. If you haven’t seen Soul, just a heads up that this review does contain minor spoilers (by means of an indirect mention…you’ll see what I mean).
Let’s get to it!
Right from the get-go, Soul‘s focus is clear. They zone in on what they call a “spark”—that thing that makes you want to live life. For Joe Gardner, the protagonist of the film, it’s music. But for others, it might be baking, boating, or, heck, writing. Something that you love to do—that you love to love to do. Whatever it is, doing it makes you feel alive, like you’re doing something good and pure. Like you’ve just become one with the world.
And let’s get one thing straight: that’s fantastic. To find a hobby—especially if it becomes more than that, if it becomes your talent, your gift, your calling—is a beautiful feeling unlike any other.
But that is not where we find our identity.
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.—1 John 4:4, ESV
We were made for so much more than pursuing a mere earthly hobby. We were made to glorify God—to act as messengers, beacons, mirrors of the Holy Spirit. To be in the world, but not of it. We don’t need to find a “spark” to give our lives meaning. We’ve been imbued with the greatest spark of all since the moment our hearts first beat—to reflect the holy image of our Maker.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.—1 Corinthians 6:19-20, ESV
As I was watching Soul, I found myself saddened by the idea that there are people out there who think their main purpose in life is to find their “spark” and pursue it for the rest of their lives. That this “spark” is the only thing that gives them identity.
When you really think about it, doesn’t that sound so unbearably hopeless, to put your individuality and purpose into the hands of your own physical and mental capabilities? Into a crumbling material world bound by time? When we die, everything—our mortal abilities, our accomplishments, our legacy—will eventually decay and fade. But our soul in Christ, the true manifestation of who we are, will remain.
And it will not just remain, but endure.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.—Jeremiah 29:11, ESV
Granted, Soul does have something good going. It certainly has its moments, and if you turn off the TV feeling encouraged after watching it, that’s great. But also know that it doesn’t end there. It doesn’t end with the individual revelations of a passionate, musically-inclined New Yorker and a snarky bucktoothed soul. It doesn’t end with what Disney has chosen to tell you. Because the truth is that there’s only so far you can take the concepts of “soul” and “purpose” without incorporating God. You have to palpably feel that wall.
As C. S. Lewis said, “Christ died for you individually just as much as if you’d been the only man in the world.” If you feel that God is calling you to pursue something, then listen; but remember that He delights not in your calling, but in your simply being. Whether or not you ever find a “spark” does not and will never affect His love for you. He is thrilled with you simply as you are, because you are made in His image.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them.Genesis 1:27-28, ESV
Doesn’t that knowledge in itself make you want to really live your life? Doesn’t it make you want to summit a mountain and fall on your knees and pray at the same time? Life is a gift—a gift from God; and that, at least, is something Soul seems to tune into. At the end of the film, Joe is asked by one of the Jerrys how he’s going to spend his second chance at life. Thoughtfully, Joe replies, “I’m not sure. But I do know I’m gonna live every minute of it.”
Well, that turned out a bit briefer than I intended, but it’s short and sweet, I guess. XD Thanks for reading! Have you seen Soul? Do you agree with my assessment of its values?