It amazes me to think about this, but Erwin McManus has been an influence in my life for nearly a decade. I first heard him at the National Youth Leaders Convention in 2003. Since then I have read the majority of his books and have listened to his sermons via podcast.
So as I start this new venture of live blogging a book it seemed like a good idea to begin with one of his books. I will be blogging through Wide Awake, which is the one book of his that I have only read once. This is an experiment, the idea comes from Jeffery Tucker, which means I am making this up as I go along. The plan is to read a chapter and interact with the thoughts immediately. This should be very stream of consciousness, as something catches my attention I will take some time and jot down my thoughts. Since this is an experiment, one that I hope will be beneficial to you, I would appreciate whatever feedback you can give to me as I go through this process so I can produce something that is enjoyable for you to read.
The book begins with a few lines of dialogue from the movie Unbreakable. These lines are used to get us to examine our lives so we can identify with the problem the book attempts to answer: waking up with sadness in our hearts. The conclusion is that this sadness is the result of us not doing what we are created to do.
”There is nothing like feeling fully alive and dreaming wide awake" (p. xi). Rather than waking up with sadness in our hearts we should be waking up excited because we are able to live the lives of our dreams.
I wonder if this type of thinking isn't counterproductive. There is no doubt that many of us live far below our potential. I know that I do, but I also know that such sentiment can be very demoralizing to a person who has worked their tail off and still find themselves trapped in what seems to be a mediocre life.
”...even the best of us can find turning our dreams into reality elusive and overwhelming” (p. xii). As my wife and I begin to pursue our dreams this is the reality that I need to remember. Just today I told Jenny that I felt overwhelmed with all that is before us. It is good to be reminded that this is normal.
”The world needs you at your best. This planet is made better or worse by the people we choose to become” (p. xiii). I think this is an important truth to remember. It lines up perfectly with the fact that God created us to be stewards of His creation. As we choose to follow Jesus and to influence those around us through love, truth, grace, and holiness we begin to usher in God's Kingdom and make this world a better place.
”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” (p. xiv). In our fame addicted culture this is crucial to remember. Even though I am an introvert I still long to be able to walk into a room and have people recognize me and thank me for the positive difference I have made in their lives. I want to be famous, yet being known by thousands of people does not equate into truly influencing people. It is through influencing people that we can truly bring positive change to the world.
”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” (p. xv). In the immortal words of Van Halen:
Don't wanna wait 'til tomorrow
Why put it off another day?
One by one, little problems
Build up and stand in our way, oh
One step ahead, one step behind it
Now ya gotta run to get even
Make future plans, I'll dream about yesterday, hey
Come on turn, turn this thing around
Hey! It's your tomorrow
Come on, it's everything
Catch your magic moment
Do it right here and now
It means everything
Right now is the time to act! If our dreams are going to become a reality we cannot put them off until tomorrow, we need to start taking the steps today that will turn them into a reality.