Recently released Pixar animated film, Soul, is probably the first movie I’ve seen where the main character dies at the beginning of the film.
Actually, this isn’t even really a spoiler, because the entire film is premised on the character’s life after his life ends.
But anyway, what’s interesting is that the protagonist, Joe Gardner, winds up in the beforelife instead, in a place called the “Great Before”. It’s basically where unborn souls are prepared for life on Earth.
Somehow, Joe is mistaken as a mentor there and gets tasked to help an unborn soul named “22” find her “spark” – the last thing a soul needs to start life on Earth.
And as I watched Joe and 22’s adventure through the movie, I couldn’t help but reflect on life.
WHAT’S YOUR “SPARK”?
In the movie, a spark is the thing that inspires or motivates a soul’s desire to live.
But throughout the film, I kept thinking a soul’s spark was the same thing as their life’s purpose, such as being a musician or an athlete.
This got me thinking: how many of us live our lives thinking what we do or achieve is what gives our life meaning?
This can potentially be a harmful thought, for or as soon as we end up not doing or achieving what we believed was our purpose, we can spiral down into thinking our lives no longer have any meaning.
This was precisely what 22 went through.
Despite even being mentored by the likes of Gandhi and Mother Theresa, 22 just couldn’t get her spark.
She was neither passionate about anything nor particularly talented, so she had no achievements to boast about.
This led her to conclude that she had no purpose and thus no reason to live on Earth.
But I believe true meaning in life doesn’t come from what we do or achieve, but what – or who – our purpose is based on.
Like 22, I’ve similarly felt lost about my life at times.
Compared to peers who’ve gotten married and promoted, I have yet to find a full-time job and seeing others around me move forward makes me feel like I’m stuck.
But unlike 22 who became a “lost soul”, thinking she was worthless and that life was meaningless, there’s something different in my life.
I know that I’m perfectly fine in the hands of my Creator. Rather than allowing achievements and goals define my reason for living, I have found peace and assurance in surrendering my life and its purpose to God.
As I watched Soul, I was reminded that it’s okay to feel lost at times but we shouldn’t believe that our lives no longer have meaning when we’re feeling lost.
Jeremiah 1:5 reminds us that God knew us even before He formed us in our mother’s wombs! We have been lovingly and intentionally created.
And as we walk with God, He will guide us in times of insecurity.
LIVING WITH THE END IN MIND
In the movie, more focus was placed on what happens before life begins. Indeed, the bulk of Joe and 22’s adventures in the movie don’t even take place on Earth!
But back to reality for a second. As Christians, we have the privilege of knowing what happens when life ends!
Some people may run away from the idea of death and the afterlife, as Joe did in the movie. But I, for one, find comfort in it. Being able to live life with the end in mind motivates me to live my best life for Jesus!
Whenever I feel lost, not only can I find assurance in knowing who my Creator is, but I can also find hope and look forward to the great eternity He has promised.
After all, it’s hard to feel lost when I know my destination.
Sometimes our daily troubles can consume us and we can become “lost souls” too, obsessing over failures or past hurts.
But seeing these daily troubles in light of eternity is like taking a step back to see the bigger picture God is painting over our lives.
22 didn’t want to begin life on earth because she saw what living on earth would mean. She saw how messy and pain-filled Earth was compared to the “Great Before” where there was no stress and hunger.
It was the total opposite of how life on Earth would be.
And honestly, 22’s not wrong.
Life on Earth is messy and painful, and lots of things can rob us of our motivation to live. But our ultimate hope lies not in what this life can offer us, but in an eternal life with God.
Philippians 1:6 reminds us that amidst the ugliness of life on Earth and sin surrounding us, God promises to see us through!
And if it’s not eternity with Jesus, it’s eternity elsewhere without any hope or chance for a redo.
Living our lives with the end in mind can motivate us to live closer to God and to spread the Gospel more fervently. We can be there to help others who feel lost and guide them to God.
The movie, Soul, personified souls to be lovely and adorable, and I believe that’s also how God sees us too. Every soul is precious and this film helped me realise that.
Joe came away from the entire experience wanting to live his life to the fullest. I want to do something similar – living my life knowing just how loved and treasured I am by God!
THINK + TALK:
- What is the “spark” of your life?
- Is it something that you might fail to reach, or could possibly lose?
- Examine your life in all of its aspects. Have you ever asked God what His purpose is for you?
- What is one thing you must change about your life to begin fulfilling God’s purpose for you?