Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wide Awake

So I've been reading the book Wide Awake by Erwin McManus. I had heard a talk that Erwin McManus gave a few weeks ago online and was blown away. I was hoping that his book would leave a similar impression, and I wasn't disappointed.

The book contains many of Erwin's experiences, and much of what he's learned about God's very unique calling on our lives, and what we're to do about it. It's not that we're doing bad things, or the wrong things, we're just not doing exactly what we should be doing...we're just not doing the best thing.

He lays out 8 attributes that he believes are necessary to live out your greatness. To awaken the hero within us and to re-imagine our humanity, we are to:

  • Dream - The Artist
  • Discover - The Explorer
  • Adapt - The Alchemist
  • Expect - The Believer
  • Focus - The Seer
  • Create - The Activist
  • Enjoy - The Hedonist
  • Invest - The Romantic
This book hit me hard. And it cut me pretty deep. But at the same time it filled me with hope, expectation, desire, and surprisingly helped me with my first faith struggle in the better part of a decade.

I'd easily recommend this book for anyone who is searching for anything. Searching for meaning in their faith, searching for direction, searching for how they can make an impact in the world. I pray I can use at least some of what was mentioned in this book in my own life. What can I say? I'm selfish.

I'll give some excerpts from the prologue, it really sets the tone for the whole a good prologue should. To say that it resonated with me would be an understatement. If this resonates with you in any way, you should read it. Buy the book, borrow it, rent it from the library (that's what I did) but take some time, and digest what God has to say to us through Erwin and his writing.

David (To Elijah) This morning was the first morning I can remember, that I didn't open my eyes and feel that sadness. ...I thought the person who wrote that note had an answer for me.

Elijah (To David) That little bit of the sadness in the mornings you spoke of? I think I know what that is. Perhaps you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing.

-M. Night Shyamalan's film Unbreakable

Unbreakable is a fictional story about a seemingly ordinary person who discovers he is nothing less than a superhero. This clever film is wrapped around the premise that graphic novels --comic books--are based on the exploits of individuals who live and work among us. It has been years since I saw this film, yet these lines have remained with me. They resonated far more deeply than I care to admit.

For years, I woke each day with a sadness I couldn't shake, and then more sadness met me at the moment I crawled out of bed. Thankfully, it is not so today. My best dreams are no longer wasted on my sleep. I find myself closing my eyes each night, eagerly waiting for tomorrow to come. There is nothing like feeling fully alive and dreaming wide awake. I am living a life beyond my wildest dreams -- and I have some wild dreams.

Yet every day, I meet people who appear happy and are by every perceivable measure successful -- but in the mornings, just before they face the world, they are greeted by that little bit of sadness.


Earth's unlimited resource is the gifts, talent, passions, imagination, and ingenuity of its citizens. You would think we would know this by now, but we often seem to miss the gift right in front of us. The world needs you to find the hero within you. The real battle is not between good and evil, but between less and more. Most of us don't choose the worst life; we just don't choose the best. We can't afford for you to sleep through your dreams. It is my hope that this book can help you find your way to a life worth living.

But let me be honest with you: my motivation is much broader, must bigger than this. The world needs you at your best. This planet is made better or worse by the people we choose to become. If you live a determined life, it's not only you who loses, but the world loses and humanity loses. There is a story to be written by your life, and though it may never inspire a graphic novel, it is a heroic tale nonetheless. Though you may not recognize it, there is greatness within you.

Very few are meant for a life of notoriety, yet all of us are meant for a life of significance. We should never confuse fame with greatness. The former is about what you do for yourself; the latter is about what you do for others. It is in this way that all of us have heroic lives to live.

I am convinced if you begin to live wide awake, you will no longer be haunted by that little bit of sadness in the mornings...Your life may not be any easier, and you may not be wealthier or finally have that house in Malibu....When we live wide awake the world begins to reflect the kind of place in which God intended us to live...He placed us in paradise and expected us to take care of his creation. We need to step up and reclaim what was lost. Jesus came to bring out the best in us. When this happens we should expect that everything else will change for the better.


We need to live wide awake because there are diseases killing millions and we need to find a cure, famines leaving multitudes starving and we need to provide food, economies leaving families homeless and we need to create opportunities for work and wealth, genocide that must be stopped, slavery that must be ended, water wells that must be dug, children who need to be loved, relationships that need to be healed, elderly who need to be cared for, beauty that needs to be created, futures that need to be saved, and dreams that we must not let die or go unfulfilled.

There is a future that needs to be created, and it is waiting for you and me to wake up and get out of bed. The alarm has sounded, and it is time to shake off the slumber.

You know that little bit of sadness that greets you in the mornings? Maybe it's there because you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing. You're not living the life you're supposed to be living. You're not dreaming wide awake. It's your soul searching for its hero.