I recently read Eat, Pray, Love. First, let me say if you have seen the movie, know that it doesn’t come close to describing the intensity with which Elizabeth Gilbert goes after God, peace, reconciliation, and forgiveness in her spirit. I have often marveled that one of the great evidences of the reality of God’s presence in the world is the revelation of truth he makes available to the Christian and the non-Christian alike.

I do not think Gilbert would label herself a Christian (other than perhaps that she comes from a “Christian” nation). She practices yoga and eastern meditation.

In our ministry, my husband and I have done a lot of transformative renewal work with individuals based on the truth that our battles are first and foremost in the mind. It’s not enough to just know the truth; we have to also align our thoughts with those truths: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (NIV 2 Cor 10:6).

One of the turning points in Gilbert’s spiritual life is when a co-participant at an Ashram in India tells her, “You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control” (Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love).

Even though Gilbert does not write from a Christian perspective, she well captures what it means to wrestle with the spiritual self. As we live in an emergent era, we would all do well to gain some insight into spiritual self battles from perspectives other than our own heritage.

~Lisa G. Yoder