Tonight I took myself on a date. I’d had other plans that fell through, and I refused to stay in and mope. So I went to the movies and saw “Eat Pray Love” Now, don’t be hatin’ and start ranting on the dangers of entertainment in our society, because I believe God has used it to prompt me in some inner places. I went expecting the normal escapist reality that Hollywood has begun, and got a Balaam experience instead. What was meant to be a tool of deception in to spiritualism and eastern mysticism, God used to prick my heart and draw me a little more closely to Him.
Two years ago at this time, I was in Romania begging God to take me out of this world. I didn’t understand why I existed. I felt unloved and unlovable. Like Elizabeth at the beginning of the film, I hit a wall and just begged God – “Help me.” Life had gotten so beyond me, I wasn’t living my life, I was surviving it. Gracious God that He is, kept me on my knees and brought people into my life that could speak the encouragement that I needed. And so I began my own journey out of the darkness, and deeper into Him. It started with a book (When the Heart Waits) and how appropriate that once again I’ve been prompted by another book, well sort of.
In the “eat” portion, Liz learned to appreciate all the little wonderful things that surround us daily while she was in Italy. It was the idea that God has given us life to fully enjoy it. Instead of rushing from one appointment or meeting to the next, being driven by others ambitions and expectations, enjoy the journey instead. See the flowers along the road, the tears of joy or grief, taste and savor all that is offered. I am learning to do that, I hope. I want be able to see all the things that He does daily to show me that truly He does “richly give me all things to enjoy” All I have to do is open my heart to trust them and eyes to really see them and arms to embrace them. I have been so privileged to experience so many blessings of God, to see Him at work in people and places all over the world, how can I leave them in little compartments instead of allowing God to weave them into the fabric of who I am?
Next, in the “pray” portion Liz travels to an ashram in India because of a boyfriend. He’d devoted himself to a guru when he was “looking for God” and because Liz loses herself into her relationships, she too tried this guru to find God. Yes, God has created within all of us a desire for something larger than the world around us. We want to know that this isn’t all there is, because that is too depressing. Truly God has implanted eternity into our hearts and until we find Him we will remain restless. Toward the end of her time at the ashram, the movie shows her sitting on a bench while some others are in a meditation and she comes to a couple of revelations. Here is what I took away from her revelations: First – we each have our own individual relationship with God. Not one of us has the same make up as another, and if we try to conform ourselves into what others claim as pious then we have simply become actors in a play and do not have an authentic relationship with God. He calls us to worship Him in spirit and in truth. Acting is not truth. Secondly she says “God is in me as me.” I believe that “I am me, when I am in God” The divine creator formed me and knew every breath I would breathe before the world began. When I identify myself with Him and die to my fleshly desires, seeking His purposes instead, it is then that I truly become myself.
Last is the “love” part of the movie. Liz returns to a medicine man in Bali where she believes her journey truly started. He tells her that she needs balance in her life. To live at the intersection of heaven and earth. She is to meditate in the morning, enjoy Bali during the day, and in the afternoon to visit him and meditate for an hour being quiet and just smiling – with her mouth, her mind, her heart, and even her liver. She sets out to do this and seems content until she meets Filipe, a wonderful Brazilian man who has also learned to be cautious with love due to a divorce. Yet she runs from him because she can no longer find her balance, which to her means following the ritual laid out for her. In the end though she learns that you cannot run from love. Truly, real balance is not performing the ritual but living life and allowing love to knock you out of balance. I need to find the faith to believe that His grace is for me, just as He loves me. His love – how I can receive it unless I believe that I deserve it? It is the biggest love of all – can you describe the feeling of an artist toward his masterpiece? Knowing that you have taken an idea from inside of yourself and turned it into something tangible for all the world to experience with you. That now not only can you imagine it, but you can interact with it? This is His love for us. And I can only begin to take it in when I believe that I am the masterpiece and not just the rough draft.
In the end, Liz sails into the sunset with her love leaving you to imagine that like Cinderella, she lived happily ever after now that she has spent this year learning to eat, pray, and love. And it brings me back to my fairy tale dreams from childhood, when I believed it was all possible. And once again, I want it all. I want a passionate love affair with God that is so rich it steals my breath away, and a fulfilling ministry that brings others to Him flowing from that place of love and grace, and I want to love a man so deeply that I begin to get a taste of the divine connection that makes two people one and shows us just how much God intended for us.
Now the question how do I get it? Is it really possible? I don’t know, but I hope so and I’ll hang on for the ride.