It all started yesterday. I was in the loft of an apartment in Guatemala saying out loud how much I regretted not bringing with me a copy of Eat, Pray, Lo---
It all started last March when I watched Eat, Pray, Love for the first time. I was so captivated by frames of Julia Roberts depicting this free-spirit traveling all around the world. The film, based on a book about and written by Elizabeth Gilbert, fed my soul in a seemingly-silly but thorough way. Elizabeth (called Liz in the book and film) and I share more than a name. Her life of reckless abandonment, her spiritual and self-sufficient joy, and her fearless adventure was a life that I knew my heart was made for, at least for a season.
Two months after, I graduated from Southeastern University with a Bachelors of Science in Journalism/PR and Graphic Design. Only two days after my commencement ceremony, I packed everything I would need for at least four weeks in one suit case, and I moved to a country I have never been to before. I moved to Guatemala.
Four days into my trip (yesterday), I decided to google "eat, pray, love quotes by elizabeth gilbert" and the results fed my soul in a way that surprised me. I read and was touched by lines like:
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it.”
“When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person's body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.”
“I'm choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I'm making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.”
"I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential."
I read things like this and felt like I could have written them myself (and not just because my name is Liz).
So today, as I was walking through the markets in Guatemala, my eye was caught by four towering-tall book shelves. Being a writer, reader and overall book lover, I naturally walked over to there. As soon as I reached them, I heard God say, "Eat, Pray, Love is in there."
What? A chick flick, American best seller is in these dusty bookshelves in the middle of Guatemala? I don't know...
"No, I'm telling you, it's in there, Elisabeth," He said again. He's so patient with me.
So I looked under the G section for Gilbert, and I looked under the E section for Elizabeth. It wasn't there, and I wasn't surprised. I looked under Biographies/Memiors. Nope, but still He spoke to me, "Eat, Pray, Love is in here. You wanted it, and it's in here." I looked under Travel. Nothing. I was just about to give up when I turned around and saw it just like this:
My. Heart. Dropped. I thought it was a wishful-thinking-mirage. But after a few breaths of staring, I (snapped a few photos and) touched it. It didn't disappear or disintegrate. It was real. Miracles are real. Faith is real. Trust is real.
He spoke to me again, "See?! You KNOW My voice, Elisabeth, daughter. Never question it again. You know My voice. You knew My voice before. You knew it just now when you searched through old bookshelves in Central America for a book you've been wanting. And you will know it in the future. Never question again if you heard My voice in the past or if you will know My voice in the future. You hear Me."
Wow. So much more than a silly, girly, border-line-heretical book -- God used the seemingly insignificant desire of my heart to read that book (a book I believe He will use in my life in a myriad of ways) to comfort deep places in my heart that was wondering: do I know His voice? Yes. Have I misheard Him? No. Are our hearts as close as I think they are? Yes, perhaps even closer.
Everything is grace. Everything is His generosity.
This life I'm currently living is so crazy. I'm constantly uncomfortable -- living out of a suitcase, soaking in a very different culture, not knowing what my life will be like 10 minutes before it happens. This is very different for this girl who used to be a planner and control freak. I'm scared and I'm in love with it! I'm so thankful for it. This life I'm living, it would not be what I would have ideally wished for myself. But God wouldn't let me settle for my ideal. I always knew my heart was able to live an adventure like this of abounding trust, minimal belongings, and absolutely without a care in the world. Ever since I was 12 years-old, I toyed with the idea of living in a developing country for a season. At 20 years-old, here I am. And while I have no idea where I'm going, I do know so much:
Now I know what kind of woman I am, what kind of woman I am when my heart gets broken. I am not the kind of girl who calls him 1,000 times in a row and cries her heart out to his voicemail. I am not the kind of girl who tries to fill herself with men, alcohol or denial. I am not the kind of girl who victimizes herself, tries to make others look bad, or sulks in disappointments.
I am the kind of woman who feels it all, healthily works through every emotion, at the feet of Jesus. I allow Him to come close to me and feel it with me. I am the kind of woman who can recognize God's voice and is emotionally capable to follow it. I am the kind of woman who spontaneously moves to a country she's never been to before to find herself again. To pour herself out to show others that even when the world feels so bleak, there is always more light, always more love, always more hope in the world! There truly, truly is. And you know what? That may not mean much to many people, but I like that. I like that woman. I like God's generosity and grace. And to this woman who is losing herself in the many cultures of this world for this season, that's more enough for me right now.
Thank you so much for following whatever this thing is God has me on, for praying for me and encouraging me. For those who are interested, more details of my adventures will be photographed and scribbled here. And probably definitely tons of Eat, Pray, Love quotes in my Twitter feed. (: