Engaging the senses…

We are created in the image of God. As humans, we have unique sensory perceptions. Animals can feel, see, taste, smell, and touch…but we interpret and engage our senses in ways no other creature does. 

So why do we so often ignore them? And why do we ignore them in the healing process?

“To be alive is miraculous. To truly appreciate life, we need to perceive, to feel -to sense our world.”…  “It truly is astounding that we can communicate so intimately and accurately with the world by means of our senses. Yet we tend to take our senses for granted.” … “In modern urban life, we suffer from both sensory deprivation and sensory overload. The deprivation comes partly from the narrowing of our physical environment: we ride the same bus or subway every day to work; we sit at a desk, staring into a computer screen. At night, we go home and often stare into more screens. It’s no wonder we crave sensory experiences, seeking out the best coffee, vegetables, or olive oil while we take up gardening, knitting, or cycling, or we head to the gym or the bar after work. On the other hand, we are bombarded by the excessive sensory input that is part of urban life. Construction noise, bad air, traffic jams, crowds everywhere – we’re so busy going nowhere. No surprise that we all dream of a beach vacation with no agenda or drink ourselves into ablivion on the weekend. Politics, money, relationships, parenting, and jobs all create stress, and stress tends to deaden us and dull our perceptions.” – Carolyn Gimian

As humans, we NEED beauty and the rich sensory experience of our wide world.

I am fascinated that the world is talking about this….  We, as believers, have a unique perception in understanding we ARE created, and in engaging creation with our senses we engage with our Creator. 

Have you ever wondered why we send flowers when someone dies? Flowers are beautiful – and there is healing in beauty. My recommendation: don’t wait for a reason – give yourself some flowers. Today. Just because they are beautiful. See what it does for your soul….

What practical ways can we engage our senses in worship and in soul-restoration?

Sight: Color, nature, the beach, trees and flowers…. there is so much to look at – but do we really SEE?  Pick out one thing around you right now and really LOOK at it. What does it show you about God? About the creativity of God? About the LOVE God has for you?

Sound: I have long believed that because sound waves go through bodies instead of bouncing off us like a wall, that maybe worship is a powerful weapon in the spirit realm. Find a private place – maybe even put on headphones, close your eyes, and tune out everything else while really listening to worship music. Let yourself really experience the words and music as your heart sings along.

Taste:  When we get to Jesus – whether through leaving this world or when He returns – we are going to FEAST. There will be wine, amazing food, and incredible conversation when we finally see Jesus face to face.  Don’t wait til then. I’m not advocating overindulgence, but invite your besties over and sit for hours around the table with healthy and DELICIOUS dishes that bring you joy.  Eat a piece of chocolate today – just one – and really TASTE it. What a beautiful gift it is.!

Smell: smell and memory are closely related as they are processed in the same region of the brain; and smell is unique in that it can affect us physically – a whole science surrounds aromatherapy. Lavender relaxes the body, citrus and mints energize; burning a scented candle or diffusing essential oils can affect our mood, concentration, and physical stress levels.  The Bible says we carry the aroma of Jesus… What does that smell like for you?  Light a candle and let the aroma wash over you as you pray.

Touch: without touch we can actually die. It’s called “failure to thrive” and it happens to babies in orphanages who never get touched. It can also happen to adults. Next time you hug a family member, really hug them; you both need it! But touch in worship can be paying attention to how your bible feels, feeling a piece of wood or a stone or a blade of grass and contemplating its texture, wiping away a tear, or the feel of the rug under your knees as you pray….

Be mindful of your senses today. Write your observations in your journal. How did you experience God through your senses today?

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