Okay, I was curious. I’m an author and when a book sells over seven million copies, and a film company produces a movie on the subject of the book and it stars Julia Roberts, I simply couldn’t resist exploring why there was so much buzz about this project.
The subtitle reads: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. If you haven’t read the book, here’s a brief summary. Elizabeth Gilbert leaves an unhappy marriage in search of meaning. She spends four months in each of three different places. The first third of her trip was fun and entertaining. I found myself vicariously “tasting” the pizza, spaghetti, and other tantalizing Italian dishes.
By the time Elizabeth gets to India, we see a woman who is learning to meditate and repeat prayers from a book as she sits cross-legged on a mat. I sensed her desire to find her “center” and a purpose beyond mere existence. However, her distractions were major and it didn’t take long for me to realize she was looking for meaning in the wrong place. She finally makes it to Bali and learns to love again. In the end we view Elizabeth on a boat, sailing off with her soul-mate, and that’s the end of the movie version of the story.
The theme of the movie brought me back to several years earlier. I had come to faith in Christ as a child, but I remember as a teenager, getting on my knees and talking to God: “I don’t want an ordinary life. I want to live for you. I want to spend my life investing in people and projects that will outlast me. I want to lead people to personal faith in Jesus Christ. I am available to you, for whatever you want me to do with my life.” I had no idea that I would become a conference speaker and an author—I just knew that true purpose comes when we live our lives for God’s glory.
My life has taken an unexpected turn. The path has been hard and sometimes I wonder why God allowed my son to make a devastating choice that has thrust our family “between a rock and a hard place.” However, as Gene, Jason, and I continue to make ourselves “available” to Him, we are discovering the sweet spot of grace—and that makes life full of meaning, fulfillment, and purpose.
When was the last time you went in search of purpose and fulfillment? Where did your journey take you and what was the result?