Awake Study: Boring, Safe, Or Significant {Let’s Roll}


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Noel Yeatts has invited us on A Journey To Live Life Fully Awake. For the past 5 weeks we’ve dug into her book, Awake: Doing a WORLD of Good One Person at a Time.

We’re confronted with truth pointing us back to the heart of God. We’re finding that many times our pursuits look nothing like God’s pursuits. We’re opening our hearts and minds as we allow God to give us a heart that beats at one with His- a heart that overflows with compassion, mercy, justice, and love.

Today’s my turn to share on chapters 9 & 10. Then meet us next Friday (10/25) for our final session hosted by our very own, Noel Yeatts. We can’t wait to hear what she has to share!  (If you’ve missed any of the earlier posts, be sure to check them out below.)

Won’t you join us on this incredible journey to live life fully awake?

And now, let’s jump right in…

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Chapter 9: Boring, Safe, or Significant

Yes. Yes. Sign me up for significant of course! Because that’s always our response, right?!

We want to live significant lives. We want our time to count for something.

Yet what of that significance when it means we have to show up and move beyond our conformity? What of significance when we’re the Levites walking past a battered and bruised Samaritan? What of significance when it means we have to sacrifice our time and resources?  What of significance when saving him requires putting me in danger?

Noel writes, No matter what you want out of life, you can achieve it in America in comfort, style, and in the end, safety… we cannot be safe and take risks at the same time, (p.119).

And so we walk past the injured, the hurt, and the broken. Fear paralyzes us and turning our heads we quickly move past the scene. The risk of getting involved is too high. We’d rather be safe.

I’m challenged by Noel’s question, “Do you want to be safe, or do you really want to change the world? The conflict is that we want to be brave, we want to take risks…but we also want to be safe. The problem is, we can’t have it both ways.”

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In her book, Awake, Noel shares story after story of her missionary journeys. There is great evil and pain in this world and she’s no stranger to it. Looking in on Noel’s life I would say she’s the perfect picture of brave. Yet she confides, “I wish I could say that I am fearless, that I am one of those people who does not worry about anything. But I’m not. I do get scared and I do worry… When I am feeling scared to do what I believe God has called me to do, I don’t let the fear hold me back. I just do it scared,” (p. 119-120).

Boring, safe, or significant- what will it be? Can we go {In Pursuit} of significance by “fighting the battles that are on God’s heart?” (Vernon Brewer). Will we do it scared?

Going Deeper:

  • Throughout Chapter 9, Noel describes the tension between remaining comfortably numb and choosing to live a significant life, concluding that the key is being willing to take risks. What fears keep you from taking risks to live “significantly”?

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Chapter 10: Let’s Roll

Let’s roll was the courageous cheer given by Todd Beamer on September 11th.  With his now famous “Okay, let’s roll”, Todd Beamer took a decisive  step against the evils of this world, and he stood up to the terrorists on United States Flight 93.

In her book, Awake, Noel Yeatts reminds us of a similar call to action, “The book of Amos says that justice should “roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream,” (5:24 NIV). So justice should continue always and never disappoint, grow tired, or weaken. Justice should roll (p.129).”

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Tucked into this chapter is the story of a Rwandan girl, Josianne. Her life was dramatically turned upside down as she experienced her father and relatives killed during the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Josianne’s mother was raped, leaving her pregnant and infected with HIV. Her momma soon passed away and Josianne was left to raise her two sisters.

Josianne doesn’t have a storybook childhood.

Even as I share this story with you, it’s hard to imagine a 12-year-old having to experience such trauma. Yet it’s real. It happened. Thousands of people tortured, slaughtered, raped, and left to die. Years later, children still suffer the consequences this evil left behind. Orphans. Children with AIDS. Trauma. People without hope.

Let It Roll

Some of us are so disconnected to injustices like that of Josianne. It’s difficult to relate to such horror. Yet if we dare open our eyes and see, we will find injustice all around us. Noel challenges us to respond to that injustice.

“If justice is really all about making things right again, then justice is all about restoration. You don’t have to look far for a place to let justice roll: a hurting neighbor, a homeless man outside the grocery store, a couple going through a divorce, a friend mourning the loss of a loved one, a hungry child halfway around the world, or an entire country nearly destroyed by genocide. Opportunities for restoring hope through justice are all around us,” (p. 136).

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“As people of faith who have experienced the unexplainable gift of God’s grace lavished upon us, justice should be a natural outpouring from our lives. We are giving out of what has already been given to us,” (p. 136.)

Our response becomes a vehicle by which the love, mercy, compassion, and justice of Jesus Christ is outpoured. What would it look like if we stopped standing on the sidelines in fear? If we “move from guilt to action“?

So let justice, the kind that restores hope to an otherwise hopeless heart, roll.

Let it roll on and on and on “like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”

Up for it? I hope so!

Standing with Noel, inviting you on this journey to live life fully awake. Let’s roll.

Going deeper:

  • How do you define justice? How does the world define justice? How does God define justice?
  • Do you consider yourself to be a “restorer” (pages 135-136)? What do you think would happen if more Christ followers took up the cause of restoration?
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Posted on October 18, 2013, in AWAKE BOOK, BOOK CLUB, LIFE. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. “Do you want to be safe, or do you really want to change the world?”

    I just read these two chapters after reading your post and these words really hit me this morning. I want to display this question all around my house as a constant reminder to live brave. I am so tired of living numb and being motivated by fear. I wonder what would happen if I learned this art of living brave even when I am afraid? This idea of not being paralyzed by fear but stepping over it into justice, compassion, and love.

    I am ready to “roll”. Thank you for inspiring my soul this morning and for relaying Noels message so beautifully and perfectly.

    • Kelli, thank you so much for stopping by {In Pursuit} and sharing your heart so beautifully. 2 Chronicles 16:9 is my verse for the year. It talks about God’s “eyes going to and fro, searching the whole earth seeking hearts that are fully committed to Him.”

      I believe these questions of “I wonder what would happen if…” are an indicator of what God places within us. If you’re wondering what living brave is like, then it’s already in you. When we take our pursuits, our desires, our thoughts, our emotions, our endeavors, and passions and we go back to ‘God, these things I want to commit to you. What’s Your heart?’ I believe He answers.

      So get ready to hear the answer to those questions. Get ready to experience opportunities to live out ‘brave’. Get ready to find yourself in situations that will allow you the privilege of walking in justice, compassion, and love.

      It’s a process I’m very much in. (And I believe will continue until the day Christ comes back for the His church.)

      I’m so glad you joined us for the online study. And even more excited to hear you’re ready to “roll”! Blessings on your journey to live life fully awake.

  2. Thank you for capturing the essence of these two chapters so beautifully. I love hearing my words come back through your eyes! Thank you for using your incredible gift of writing to be a part of this Awake study. And thank you for investing your time in something that is bigger than all of us!

    I love so many lines above, but here is one that sticks out to me: “Some of us are so disconnected to injustices like that of Josianne. It’s difficult to relate to such horror. Yet if we dare open our eyes and see, we will find injustice all around us.”

    Amen! May we all find ourselves living our lives AWAKE!

    Blessings to you Darlene!

    • Thank you for your kinds words, Noel. And thank you so much for the opportunity to share in this Re-Launch. Not only has it been a blessing to my family, but I am sure it has served to open the eyes of everyone on the team and all our readers.

      You encourage us to ‘do it scared’, and to do it for that one person in front of you. Although there’s so much growth that needs to happen for me in this area. I’m thankful God has used your ministry and the stories you’ve written to open my eyes to the need.

      Praying God would continue to lead you and protect you as you live life fully awake!

  3. Darlene,

    Thank you for being a part of this journey, for your heart, and for your commitment. God is honored. We are grateful!

    You are living your life brave, first as a wife and mama standing on the front-lines of the fight for the family, raising Godly seeds and leaving a Godly heritage.

    And here, with your voice online, so full of passion for God and compassion for His people.

    I am not sure I know how to define justice, but I do want to know fully, how God does. It may take a life-time of living it to truly understand. But, I’m willing.

    And though, I’ve never considered myself to be a “restorer”, I have learned and witnessed first hand, from Noel and World Help, what it means to a work that brings whole-life transformation. And I believe that God is in it, and how He brings restoration to His people, through His people.

    • Michele-Lyn, thank you for your kind words. They’ve encouraged me in more ways than you know. 🙂

      I absolutely loved these chapters. I think that’s why I had such a hard time writing this post. How do you condense so much goodness? There’s just not enough space or time to share all I would have wanted to share. {People, GET THE BOOK!!!}

      I haven’t seen what Noel shares about. I haven’t experienced it first-hand. And so, I read through the stories and I’m opened up to a world I’m not familiar with, one I’m challenged to look into. I’m reminded of the verse in Psalms 38 that says, “He is close to the brokenhearted.” I know the despair that can come from lack, and I also know the hope that comes from knowing God cares about us and He’s our provider. If I can encourage others to find that hope in Jesus, then I’ve done my piece.

      For this introvert, writing is God’s amazing gift of grace. A big THANKS to you and Noel Yeatts for the opportunity to share on this journey. This book has been such a blessing.

      As I continue to soak in the stories of these precious children and people, and as I continue to find my place in all of this –
      I pray God would help us “do it afraid” anyway…

  1. Pingback: A Journey To Live Fully Awake {Online Book Study} |

  2. Pingback: Awake Study: Do Good Now | Noel Yeatts

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