Wow, this movie made my brain swirl. I knew beforehand what I was going into... or had an idea anyway. A woman on a yearlong trip through one european country and two asian countries (Italy, India, and Bali) to "find herself" essentially... Even so, I just wanted her to get it. And by it I mean an answer. Well, not even just an answer, but THE answer. Probably because it was Julia Roberts. I don't know "Liz" at all, (speaking as if I know Julia Roberts... lol) but what American woman can't identify with at least one character Julia Roberts has portrayed in her sensational career... people just love to watch her on the big screen, and this definitely leaves nothing to be desired as far as her acting is concerned. ReMARKable performance. Two thumbs up, absolutely. Obviously if you're not as a big a fan of her acting as I am then you'll feel differently, but the sole fact that she was the lead role in this movie was all it took to get me there to see it. Needless to say I'm a fan, and speaking from a spiritual point of view- whatever quest her character was on... I found myself wanting Julia to find the real answer to what Liz was looking for.)
From a Biblical perspective, any effort to give any good answers to the purpose of life or the idea of “finding yourself” was sorely wasted. (Not that I was expecting anything different.) The movie pretty much bombed in giving anybody any real answers, let alone the right direction to head in. Well, I’ll take that back- she set out on a quest to find herself, and she at least started by seeking to find “God”, though he is never defined as the God that I know my Savior to be, but rather leans more towards the idea of everyone being their own god... something is actually quoted as saying once he dwells in you, he becomes you, or some kind of nonsense along those lines. (The scene where she kneels in her bathroom and cries out to Him regarding her failing marriage- wow. The veins were popping out of her head as she anguished with tears flowing from her eyes.) But since this quest didn’t lead her to Jesus, well then... bomb. Liz can’t seem to be happy, no matter what she does... divorce, an extramarital relationship before the divorce is finalized... nothing gives her “peace” or gives her fulfillment... she’s not satisfied. Positive- she seeks out something “spiritual” to help her achieve it. Negative- nowhere near finding the one and only God who could truly satisfy what she’s looking for. (Let me pause for a moment to say that I absolutely could relate with this woman in this aspect of being constantly dissatisfied... and I very much disliked the horribly selfish person that it was making me to be. Not as if I'm working to change it because of something I decided that I liked or dis-liked. It's the amazing hand of God who will not let those that He calls His own be any less than everything He wants to make them... not and be happy anyway. Life is miserable outside of God's plan. I’ve been on a similar journey, but unlike this poor girl, I knew immediately where the Answer lied... I just had to make the effort to own it for myself and make the effort to be obedient to His word.)
From the perspective of one who still endeavors to see the world... wow again. Especially the scene where “Liz” is taking a taxi through India. It maybe lasted a minute to a minute and a half, but the way the videographer captured the chaos of a busy city in this crazy country was incredible. I instantly felt like I was in the backseat of one of many Chinese taxi’s I’ve ridden in, except the chaos was times 10. My spirit was instantly oppressed, however, and burdened by what I saw in this country, and remained that way until her time in India was complete.
Message behind the title... find these three things and you’ll achieve balance and peace in your life.
Eat- (Italy) Seek and experience pleasure... fill yourself up with things that make you feel good, and nourish you, body, mind, and soul... whatever those “things” are. Here, in the end, they
were family and relationship. And great Italian food. :)
Pray- (India) Find yourself... meditate... understand who you are
Love- (Bali) Relationship; intimate human interaction and connection
Obviously the middle one is what has thrown me into such a conundrum. Like I said earlier, I’ve battled a similar battle. I used to write off any notion of “knowing yourself” as some kind of new-age garbage, but I now whistle a slightly different tune. (Only slightly, mind you...) What I’ve discovered is that “knowing yourself” needs to be about asking God to identify your weaknesses... the places you are most prone to fail Him and dishonor His name, many times bringing the consequences of sin onto yourself and many times your loved ones... and then asking Him to make you acutely aware of ANY and EVERY time Satan rears his ugly head to try to use these things to attack you so that you are ready to defend yourself. (ie, using the Armor of God as found in Eph. 6.) Therefore, knowing yourself, isn’t about knowing yourself at all... but rather knowing God, and more specifically Jesus Christ, who YOU are in HIM, and the power that is available through Him to live victoriously. It’s the ultimate security. I am HIS... when you can truly own that for yourself, the security that takes over your mind is indescribable. It takes over every decision, every emotion... everything. I’m a daughter of the Most High, forever under his protection, and LOVED in the most COMPLETE possible way I could ever need. Nothing that any person could say or do to me, no matter who it is, no matter how closely knit my relationship is with that person, even if they hurt me in the worst possible way, can ever change my worth to Him or my place in eternity. This was indeed the missing message that burdened my heart for this woman.
I actually really loved this movie. In many other places it made some really great points, and I’m dying to see it again... hopefully soon. Being able to see all of the places in the world that you’re able to see is really exciting to me. And Julia’s famous fun laugh and beautiful smile resonate in several different places... you catch glimpses of pretty woman and the runaway bride a couple of times... :) But it leaves an ache in my heart. It speaks SO closely to the heartstrings of what just has to be hundreds of thousands of women, if not more, in regards to the emptiness that they must feel when their life is void of a Savior... (though they misinterpret that void for something else... something more tangible.) They’re going to relate to this woman, whether through their own divorce experiences, or maybe a myriad of other addictions or heartaches that Satan has used to wreak havoc on their lives, and since this movie seems to leave you believing she’d “found herself” or her “inner peace”, then in an effort to fill that emptiness, so many are going to follow her example. I want to grab them all by the shoulders and invite them to know my Jesus. I’d probably ask them to redefine the title a little something like this...
Eat- Seek God’s Word. I Peter 2 tells you to study it as if you were eating it up just like a newborn baby craves milk. It will fill you up and nourish your mind and spirit.
Pray- Talk to God. Pour out your heart to Him. Ask Jesus to be Lord of your life, and ask Him to bring people into your life that will help you know Him better and how to live for Him. Then spend quiet moments listening to His voice. The Holy Spirit will speak to your heart and give you guidance.
Love- Do just that... Love Him. With all your heart, soul, body, spirit, and mind.
I’ve found then that the peace of God that is absolutely impossible to describe, will set up a guard around your heart and mind. The security you’ll find is so freeing. A victorious life is inevitable.
Hmmm... my brain feels better now that all of those thoughts are on “paper”. But my heart still wishes the message of this movie would direct people to Christ...