Eat, Pray, Give Me a Break! (The Christmas Blog)

Very few movies I watch aggravate me as much as last night’s viewing of “Eat, Pray, Love.”

At one point, my daughter cautioned me that she would turn it off if I couldn’t just be quiet and watch.

I know it’s supposed to be about this one woman’s romantic and courageous exploration of herself and the world but it just felt to me like one long self-indulgent justification for narcissism and endless fruitless searching for a truth that can be found without the need to touch a mystical elephant or sleep with every hunk with an accent.

OK, I know I just angered some of you – if I did, just spend some moments in your meditation cave, renew your balance, eat a plate of pasta and look up a photo of Javier Bardem and it will pass.

There were flashes of truth in the flick. It is important for a person to be a person and not leech their identity from the one they love. There is more to life than acquiring possessions and achievements. And Americans do have a grave weakness in their inability to experience the daily joys and pleasures of life. We miss so much.

But this is why Jesus came.

Jesus didn’t miss anything while he was here.

His arrival was like a great cosmic pause button inviting us all not to miss the adventure.

John, known as the disciple Jesus loved, quotes Jesus as saying this: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

Are you experiencing the fullness of life?

Jesus didn’t come to make pruney followers – sucked dry of the juices and rich flavor of life. He didn’t come to reduce our lives but to expand them. Following Jesus should not shut us down from life’s pleasures but open us up to them in ways unavailable to the rest of humanity.

In Eat, Pray, Love, a woman travels the world and experiences art, culture, nature, and humanity but her experiences boil down to “what does it all have to do with me?”

Yeah, okay, I get that.

But I speak from experience when I tell you that Jesus opens up the world to you right where you are and it isn’t all about you!

Even if you spend your entire life in one country, one square mile, one neighborhood, one marriage, one wheelchair, one hospital bed, one prison cell, one apartment – even then, the presence of Jesus Christ in your life can explode the parameters of your universe and bring you a fullness of life beyond what anyone can imagine.

The truth is not out there somewhere. The truth does not need to be sought with a plane ticket or a passport or a love affair with a buff bodied foreigner.

The truth is that fullness of life is available to you right now where you are through the coming of Jesus Christ into your heart.

If you know Him already, stand still this Christmas and let Him open you up to the fullness of life where you are. Don’t be a freeze-dried believer! Let the Living Water fill you and ripen you and expand you so that life oozes from your pores! Exhale, for Pete’s sake! Laugh. Eat. Forgive with abandon. Sleep deeply. Make love to your spouse like it’s the last night on the planet. Say yes to some crazy idea your kids have about staying up all night or playing football on the lawn at midnight. Greet the neighbors like they’re long lost relatives. Hug the crabby woman at church you always think is judging you and tell her she’s beautiful. Take a risk. Actually taste your food. Actually see your family. Actually hear God’s voice.

If you don’t know Him yet, don’t wait. He has been waiting for you and loving you and willing you to seek Him.

Jesus Christ. Emmanuel.

He came that we should have life, and have it to the full.

His arrival was the laughter of God rippling through the waters of eternity and washing up onto the shores of our waiting hearts.

Eat. Pray. Love. Enjoy your Christmas and don’t miss the adventure, loved ones. It’s here.

God bless us one and all.

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4 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Karin says:

    I tend to say the same thing every time I come here – “I just love this!” Have been having conversation with myself about hugging ‘the crabby woman at church you always think is judging you and tell her she’s beautiful. Take a risk.’ God is with us and will show me how – again and again – to love those who to me seem unlovable – who are frigid and frozen, I don’t how many layers deep – and He will melt their hearts one layer at a time! Thanks and have a blessed Christmas!

  2. Nice thoughts. But I also think there’s another point, and it’s why I enjoyed the book and parts of the movie (though the movie couldn’t captured the journey as well at all).

    I guess I don’t expect a film that isn’t about discovering Christ to have the elements that are only found by discovering Him. It doesn’t frustrate me, because I’m not expecting it, though I understand your thoughts. But what do we expect from someone still searching for Him?

    The movie was about seeking deeper and more, going after the meaning of life and eternity, wanting more than the mundane, the discontent of having everything and not knowing why we’re still lost, looking at our own faults and making a bunch more. Through that, the author was honest about the good and bad of herself. She gets to escape real life to go on this journey (that would rarely ever happen, most of us must do this search while dealing with life – that part felt unfair). There are truths found there – as you noted — as there are universal truths that God put into this world whether we discover He was the one behind them or not. I guess too, I just like it when someone tries to go after something beyond the mediocre existence, even if I don’t believe she quite “found it,” but only saw glimpses of the Eternal One. I know too many complacent people — many are Christians and I can be one of them — so I end up liking people just out there seeking God (whether I think they have found Him or not).

    Do I think she is still seeking the truth and continues on the journey – yes, certainly. And for that, I pray her search will lead her to the one true Christ. And I believe it is for us who know Him to encourage, pray and support all those seeking God, no matter what part of the journey they are on.

    Just tossing those thoughts into the discussion.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  3. I agree that I like the idea of the journey deeper and, of course, I hope the writer finds Christ on the way. The thing is, as beautiful as the world is – and I want to see it all – the answers are not found in a place but in a person. We can travel the world and miss the adventure or we can be confined to one small space and experience it in its full. Jesus. He’s what we’re all seeking no matter where we’ve been looking. Have a wonderful Christmas! Thanks for adding to the conversation.