Social Justice

Opening My Eyes To Enough: Awake Book Study, Chapters 3 & 4


Chapter 3: Eyes Glued Shut

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing. – Sarah Groves

I think I’ve lived my entire life with my eyes glued shut.  Not intentionally.  But perhaps out of fear of getting involved, or allowing myself to become moved so deeply emotionally that I would not be able to remove myself from the situation.  I am guilty of turning the channel, looking the other way and filling my life with so many distractions that I never have to face reality.  My eyes need a good flushing so that I can once again see what He desires me to see.

In Chapter 3, we meet Rani.  Rani was from a poor family in India.  Her parents struggled to provide the most basic of needs.  Approached by a relative who offered to provide Rani with an education, her parents agreed.  But the day Rani left her home was one of the last days her parents saw her.  Rani was sold into slavery and mistreated and abused until she was sold again.  But this time, she was sold into adoption to a woman who brought Rani home to America.

Today,  Rani, as founder of The Troni Foundation, is determined to save other children from the life she endured.  The foundation focuses on anti-trafficking eduction, policy change and restoration for trafficking survivors.  Every year, 1.2 million children are trafficked, and human trafficking has become the second largest source of illegal income worldwide, exceeded only by drug trafficking.

Noel shares that she knew about slavery and trafficking before she met Rani.  But after she met her, it became real and personal.  Noel saw her and she saw the need.

This statement strikes a chord in my heart.  Am I taking the time to stop, to listen, to see what is going on in the world? Sadly, I admit that most of the time I turn my head and shut my eyes, and my heart, as the task appears overwhelming.  How can one person with so little influence change the world?

I am realizing that changing the world is God’s Job.  My job is to allow Him to open my eyes to see, to truly see, and to partner with Him to change the world!

Chapter 4:  The Meaning of Enough

Once posed with the question, “What would be the reward for the person who knew the meaning of enough?”

Noel responds,

“If we really understood the meaning of enough, we would choose to live differently. We would use our resources to help more people instead of buying more things for ourselves.  We would be satisfied with what we have instead of always wanting more. We would lead a very different life.”

Here are some shocking statistics:

  • You need about $2,140 to your name (assets minus debts) to be counted among the wealthiest 50 percent of the world.
  • Worldwide, 1 out of every 2 children lives in the most desperate poverty conditions.
  • Over 925 million people worldwide suffer from malnutrition.
  • The world’s poorest 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day.

Noel shares about visiting a dump in Guatemala where desperate children and families come searching for food.  When they can’t find food, they look for broken pieces of glass to fill a bag which they can sell for a quarter.  Thankfully, World Help has been able to set up a feeding center at the dump each week to provide food for the families and children who live nearby.  The are fed a nutritious meal — one which costs less than $1 a day.

“One hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, how big my house was, or what kind of car I drove.  But the world may be a little better, because I was important in the life of a child.” – Forest Witcraft

How does one define poverty? We tend to define needs by things we want, not by things we need just to survive.  We feel “poor” when we cannot afford everything we desire. I have struggled with the feeling of poverty in my own life.  After losing our home due to years of unemployment, having to sell cars and other items just to make ends meat, I felt poor, hopeless, as if I didn’t have enough. Shame on me. True poverty has never come near my door, and most likely never will.  Absolute poverty is a “condition characterized by sever deprivation of human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information.”

Noel shares the story of the yellow purse.

There was a woman who just had to have a new purse.  A yellow purse.  Even though it was far more expensive than she wanted to pay, she convinced herself that she had to have it, purchased it, and brought it home.  A few months went by and she realized she had not ever carried the yellow purse.  It was actually too big and the shade didn’t really match anything she owned.  It ended up sitting on a shelf in her closet.

The yellow purse became a symbol for her of all that she had and all that she did not need.

I am realizing that even in my loss, I have enough.

Noel finally answers the question: “What would the reward be for the person who knows the meaning of enough?”  She says, “I think the person who knows the meaning of enough is rewarded by the feeling you get when you finally ask a new question: “Is that all it takes to make a difference?”

This post is part of the book study for Noel Yeatts book, Awake: Doing A World Of Good One Person At A Time. I would love to have you join in the discussion, even if you haven’t read the book.  Leave your comments and let’s discuss.  

13 thoughts on “Opening My Eyes To Enough: Awake Book Study, Chapters 3 & 4”

  1. Darlene Collazo @ {In Pursuit} says:

    Barbie, I can totally relate to keeping my eyes shut to a situation because I was overwhelmed by it all. It’s funny how situations like poverty, child trafficking, and the like have a way of instantly humbling us. We all of a sudden don’t feel so big and grand. We realize we are powerless in and of ourselves.
    Perhaps stepping up in faith and saying, “I’m going to ‘see’ you” is actually saying, “I’m going to ‘see’ you because I know God will make himself strong in my weakness.” It’s a declaration of faith I have to keep saying over and over. I can’t, but He can. I don’t have the resources, but He does. I’m so not courageous, but He is absolutely fierce and not intimidated by the situation. Thanks for sharing with us 🙂
    Darlene Collazo @ {In Pursuit} recently posted..Turning Off The Noise {“Like” What Really Matters}

  2. Michele-Lyn says:


    There is so much wrapped up in this post. You’ve done an amazing job drawing out great points from the two chapters. There is so much to think about. So much that can awaken us, change our perspective of our own lives.

    And I know there is so much more God has to work on in me. I believe it comes down to this; we are asked to by God to love Him with all of our lives, our strength, soul, heart, body. And when we love Him this way, truly love Him with all of ourself, then it looks a lot like living for the least of these. I’m convinced. He’s given us, here in America, so much wealth, not so we can be hoarders, but so we can be givers.

    Yet, I sit on it, day after day. May God help us to see our lives, and what we really have. Then may He help us live generously. I’m not sure I know what that looks like.

    Thank you, friend, for writing this. I know how tough it’s been for you. You are amazing.
    Michele-Lyn recently posted..Calm the Storm

    1. Barbie says:

      I want to be done with my own, “I don’t have enough” pity party. I want to fully surrender what I do have back into His hands, so that He can use it for His glory. Love you, my friend!

  3. Noel Yeatts says:

    What a beautiful post. I love how you reminded us that changing the world is God’s job! So true!!! So, let’s focus on our job … opening our eyes and letting Him use us. Both of these chapters are very special to me and you have so clearly captured the essence of them both. Thank you for being a part of this study and for being so open and transparent about what you are learning. I appreciate you and your words so much!!!
    Noel Yeatts recently posted..Awake Online Book Study Begins Today: A journey to live fully awake

    1. Barbie says:

      Noel, I am honored to share the journey with you! So thankful to be a part.

  4. amber. says:

    i’ve heard of this book several other places – it’s starting to really peak my interest!
    that first quote just totally slays me. convicted!
    and the meaning of enough – yes! if we truly knew i know it would revolutionize our living.

    1. Barbie says:

      AMEN Amber! So thankful you stopped by. Blessings!

  5. kaseyparr99 says:

    Barbie, Awake…how do we wake ourselves up? How do we wake others up? I don’t know, but I think a start is just getting the word out that “the least of these” need our help. Thank you for using your voice to get the word out to others. When is enough, enough? I’ve been asking myself that question lately. Everywhere we go, we are surrounded by the latest, greatest thing to buy. As soon as we purchase something that we “need” a few one comes out just slightly better and we think we “need” it too. When I begin to see the true in this world…I begin to question do I really “need” to purchase this. Are little can mean a lot to someone in need. Blessings to you, Kasey

    1. Barbie says:

      Thanks Kasey. I truly want the Lord to put this into my heart, this need to know that what I have is enough. And even then, it’s probably too much. Oh how I long to clear my life of clutter so that I can see with new eyes. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Beth says:

    This book is truly eye opening and I love what you have shared. I really wanted to be a part of the online study but simply can’t keep up right now. But I do love reading how it’s impacting others. I did get through the first four chapters and they inspired me to make a decision on what had been on my heart… to find a way to continue to support the ministries I visited in Guatemala.
    Blessings to you and much love,
    Beth recently posted..What is true today?

    1. Barbie says:

      Oh friend, I know your heart. God does, even more. Your heart is rich in giving, this I know! Blessings!

  7. dan king says:

    Barbie… I’ve just been catching up on the posts in this study, and I love your perspective. Especially the yellow purse thing! Opening my eyes to the scope of poverty in our world today and realizing my own excess has driven me to do some crazy things to try and bring change. It’s definitely a big battle, but also know that big change starts with small actions… like changing our buying decisions.

    Loved this post! Thank you!
    dan king recently posted..we exist to intervene

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