Comfortably Numb

Disclaimer: this post is not about Pink Floyd, as awesome as that might have been.  But it should still be a good one!  For proof, just keep reading:

I have a new book on my reading list, as well as a small announcement.  I'm glad to say that I'm a part of a bigger blogging network for the organization World Help, a humanitarian organization that provides necessities for people around the world that are affected by poverty.  Affected isn't even the right word, they're stricken, unable to provide for their basic needs such as food, water, shelter, healthcare, and education, simply because of the part of the world they happened to be born into.  The fact is, even members of the poorest 5% of our population is still richer than 75% of the rest of the world.  The book I'm reading touches on that subject, and speaks to the relative unawareness and lack of action in our culture towards tremendous needs, in a world broken by sin.  The title of the book is "Awake: Doing a World of Good, One Person at at Time," by Noel Yeats.  I actually haven't had a chance to read the whole thing just yet (my copy just arrived in the mail today!), but I did read the first two chapters, available for download on Noel's site.  The book is being re-launched this week, so the World Help bloggers were asked to give a review.

I haven't even finished it, but I would definitely recommend this book!  I found it kinda funny, Noel brings up on a few occasions in her first chapter that certain situations might make you tear up a little, such as watching movies like "The Blind Side."  Now I don't know about you guys, but I'm a crier.  Like a "messy cry, doesn't take much, cry if the wind blows wrong, I should buy stock in Kleenex", crier.  The holiday season, especially all the Hallmark commercials, is brutal on my tear ducts!  It was even worse when I was pregnant (darn hormones)!  All that being said, I may have cried quite a bit while reading.  I had a few moments where I had to stop reading in order to clean the 'splashback' of my tears onto the lenses of my glasses so that I could see.  And that's just in the first two chapters!  Noel speaks of her experiences with children in countries around the world, like Nildo, Margarita, and Jamira, and the impact she and others with her were able to have in their lives.

"[they are] a living reminder of the words that well-meaning Brazilian pastor spoke so many years ago. I now know that I can’t save them all . . . but I can make a difference for one. Mother Teresa once said, “If I look at the mass I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.” "

She talks about our tendency in our culture to inoculate ourselves against painful circumstances, to make ourselves 'comfortably numb.'  When I turn on my computer and see the incredibly huge refugee crisis in Syria, or other tragic news stories, it is so much easier to just scroll through pages and pages on Pinterest for an hour to distract myself.  When my mom was battling cancer, it was the same thing.  I retreated into my 'fashion bubble' and looked at pages and pages of clothes and fashion blogs and accessories and stuff because it was so much easier to think about "what am I going to wear tomorrow" than "will my mom still be here tomorrow?"  The problem with that is, my refusal to acknowledge my mom's cancer didn't make it go away.  The infected cells didn't go, "oh, Grace is refusing to admit that we're here, so we might as well evaporate and just go on our merry little way." The fight that my mother had to face still went on, and the pain and sickness that went along with it.  (My mom is fine by the way.  She underwent a treatment plan, and actually had an appointment with her oncologist today that has declared her cancer-free!)  And our world is infected in the same manner, with brokenness and sin that can only be cured by Christ.  As a follower of Him, I am called to be a vessel of His mercy, and to be fully aware and awake to the needs, both physical and spiritual, of those around me.  "22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. 26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:22-27)"

What this means for me, and what I'm sure will be echoed in Noel's words is this: I cannot claim to follow God, and ignore the needs of those around me.  God has always advocated the needs of those who are oppressed, hurting, and poor, and with the resources available, those people are relatively easy to find.  We live in such a digitally connected world, where if a disaster happens in a country that may be geographically distant from where I live, I'll probably still hear about it in the news, possibly minutes after the disaster has happened.  The interconnected-ness of our world holds us to an even greater responsibility than ever before, and there are only two responses (one wrong and one right) for Christ's followers: apathy (numbness), or action (awakening).  Which one would you choose?

"Awake: Doing a World of Good, One Person at at Time," by Noel Yeats is available for sale on her website, for only $10 with free shipping!  Also, for a limited time, the e-book is available for only $2.99, and you also have the opportunity to preview the first two chapters for free.


  1. Thank you for sharing this post - such wonderful news about your mom!!!

  2. Love this..."I cannot claim to follow God, and ignore the needs of those around me. God has always advocated the needs of those who are oppressed, hurting, and poor..." It is so easy for me to get busy, and wrapped up in my own needs, and forget those around who truly know need. Sigh... May God have His way in us.

    Thank you for being part of the team!


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