Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pray, Eat, Live

I read the book Eat Pray Love twice before the movie came out.  I saw the movie in the theater and only loved it because it was a condensed version of my favorite book.  And because Julia Roberts is in it and I love her.  I had a couple of friends who were impacted by Liz Gilbert's insight the way I was.

And then I studied the book with a class who took the stance of most of the world - a rich, white lady decides to travel the world and masquerade it as spiritual and personal growth.  Really she just had an awesome vacation.  Well, someone has their knickers in a knot.

I found that everything she went through was relatable to me.  If it wasn't a pattern I already saw emerging in my 20-year-old present, I could imagine it in my future. I could say it's because she's a writer. But that would go against my fundamental belief that it is because she was right.

As I struggle a little with self-love and I meditate on ways to "fix" my problem, I think I would change the order of her verbs.

  1. Always pray first.  Pray as soon as you wake up, before you go to sleep, and at every turning point throughout the day.  Thank God for being big enough to handle anything you will ever go through.  Thank God for loving you enough to work all things together for your good.  Ask God for guidelines, answers, inspiration, opportunities.  Ask God for help not being afraid to take those opportunities, help loving others the way He loves you, help seeing what might be getting in the way of your progress. 
  2. Then eat.  This probably seems ridiculous, but give me a chance.  First, "[hu]man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).  So "eat" God's words from the Bible, from the mouths of preachers, and from inside yourself.  Secondly, understand that physical eating can be a spiritual practice. There's a reason we pray, "Give us this day our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11).  That one was talking about actual food.  Make sure you are nourished, not hungry, but also not overfull or full of the wrong things.  Be careful what you enjoy and why.
  3. Learn to really live.  Understand that "God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3).  I really appreciate the phrase from a popular mega church - "Whoever finds God finds life."  Find what God intends for your life - for me it's writing and teaching - and do those things as well as the actions that support those things.  I am a better writer the more of the world I take in, the more I build relationships with people.  I am a better teacher the more I do things the right way. Kids need to see adults succeeding.  Also, if I want to live whole and healthy for longer than 40 more years, I have to exercise and keep nourishing rather than deadly habits.  

So many think the majority of humans have nothing to learn from Elizabeth Gilbert's journey.  I think they fail to see that she was simply giving us an example of what it might look like to go against people's expectations and strike out on your own to find the life God intended for you.

There will be more discussion on "eating" and on "living" in the coming weeks.


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