Waking the Dead: John Eldredge. Part I: Who are we?

A quote from the movie, Akeelah and the Bee, which I learned was spoken by Nelson Mandela:

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, fabulous, gorgeous, talented? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. You’re playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that’s within us. It’s not just in some of us. It’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we automatically give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.
-Nelson Mandela-


Think of Frodo, “a mere Hobbit”, who had no idea that upon him hinged the fate of Middle Earth. Think of the Ugly Duckling, on which the fact of “duckling” was only in his brain. Think of Neo in the Matrix (the one), Peter and Lucy in Narnia (a king and queen), and so many other stories. We are not what we think we are. We are more. We have been made in the image of God. We are glorious, so much so that satan cringed when he saw us, and knew he had to do something. This is one of the points that Eldredge makes early on his book, Waking the Dead.


Let me deal quickly with the phrase above, “…the glory of God that’s within us. It’s not just in some of us. It’s in everyone.” Every human ever born is made in the image of God, a fact hotly disputed by the theory of evolution, which is just one in a myriad of things lucifer has designed to blind us and place us in a spell such that we can’t see reality for what it truly is. We were made to be sons and daughters of God. I don’t think that fact can be disputed by any thinking Christian. Of course, this phrase can be used to espouse more of a New Age belief in the ability of us all to be “divine”, to become like God Himself. So I think Mandela’s statement, and Eldredge’s thesis, needs to be balanced off with a healthy dose of humility and assurances that we are not God, and never will be.


But I do believe that we have spent far too long lingering in a woe is me, life is too hard, I can’t wait to get to Heaven, mentality. And until we repent of our sin, and accept Christ’s sacrifice ALONE as the payment for our sins, that “spark of divinity”, that image of God in us, will lie dormant, sleeping, under the spell of the fall of Adam in an eternal winter.


When we do wake up, and see that our heart has been ransomed from the grasp of the serpent, that the Silver Chair can no longer bind us, then we will truly see what Mandela is saying: We are incredible. We are not to shrink back. We are made in the image of Almighty God, and need to express that a little more fully.



This book is really amazing. I look forward to writing more about it.


7 comments on “Waking the Dead: John Eldredge. Part I: Who are we?

  1. I’ve been trying to discern my discomfort with this topic. Then I figured it out. On the one hand, we Christians are told that we are great and full of power and authority, that the devil is afraid of us, that we are destined for great things. On the other hand, we Christians are told that it’s really not about us at all, that seeking greatness is the wrong emphasis and we should be submitted to God’s will humbly, even if all He wants us to do is sweep the floors and change diapers in the nursery.

    Are we incredible? or are we insignificant? Does the fate of the earth hinge on us? or will we end up disappointed when the earth keeps right on rolling, rolling, rolling?

    I know you mention humility, that we are NOT God in either the Buddhist or the Luciferian sense. But if it’s not about me, the message I get is that I need to aim a lot lower, I need to be content with small little acts of service and not expect to do anything great.

  2. That’s a hard one to answer. I think the biggest thing to remember is that we are adopted, adopted into this incredible family of God. In the process, we have had a major do over – our hearts. Our heart is now clean and fresh, “a heart of flesh, instead of a heart of stone.” In being this new person, we are not seeking greatness, and we are not making it about ourselves. We submit humbly.

    Are we insignificant? I think not. God doesn’t see it that way. Does the fate of the world depend on us? No. But if we do nothing, then we are not BEING who we are.

    Small acts of service ARE great.

    Eldredge’s point in his book is to live from our heart a lot more. I was walking around today, thinking, “Live from my heart. Move from my heart.” And what it felt like was a heart that has gunk stuck to it, but is pure inside, because of the blood of Jesus. And moving and breathing and living from my heart seems to make life a whole lot more REAL. I’ll try to elaborate on that later.

  3. “a heart that has gunk stuck to it” – I like that.
    To live from the heart … is that a combination of going from the gut , paying attention to instincts – and “walking according to the spirit,” which I don’t think is so much by instincts as by the Word and by the voice of God.

    Okay, honestly the cynic in me is like this. As a person, I dream of doing certain things, I have goals I would like to accomplish. However, as a flawed human (or perhaps as a church goer) some of those hopes and dreams don’t seem to be happening. Or I am told that they will not , cannot happen. I am frustrated in the pursuit of those goals, and furthermore I am told that my life is not my own (I agree) and that it’s not about me… that my purpose is to love God by serving others. So, then, as a Christian (as a church goer?) I am told that the small, immediate accomplishments are significant. It seems like a crust thrown to me, to make me satisfied with a lesser thing.

    No, you cannot have the dreams you once desired. But buck up, because your day to day service is really just as important as those dreams. I know it doesn’t look that way, but why not at least PRETEND that it matters whether it does or not. Because by pretending it matters, then you won’t feel so bad about giving up your actual hopes and goals.

    Isn’t that a cynical view?
    But I think it’s often what we (Christians? churches?) tell people so that they will FEEL more significant.

  4. I was having a really hard time figuring out if you were being hypothetical above. I’ll assume you were……

    If we have dreams or desires that rivet us, that stoke us up, that get the embers glowing and flaming, then why should we be waiting, if we don’t feel God id saying wait? Does service to an organization = service to God? Serving PEOPLE is what the Kingdom is about, not a program, and serving out of love for God should be the root.

    AND, I think there is totally a time (at least there was for me) where it is time to say “No” to everything, serve no more, and simply learn, once again, what it means to wait on God, bask in His glow. Doing should never take the place of being, and if we have forgotten how to be, then what does the doing really mean?

  5. Hey there Hi there Ho there. (xtra points if you know who said that). I just realized that I can comment here without being part of something. Much better than Xanga. (Maybe you should move your Blog, Krista, to WordPress.)

    Anyhow, I don’t think that Krista was being hypothetical. Regardless, yes, there are some things that are in our hearts to do that we may NEVER do because of our choices in life. Our station. Our situation. Our spouse. Our leaders.

    But I do believe that God can give us beauty for ashes. When the dream dies, crashes and burns, and all is surrendered to God, out of the ash can rise a mighty Pheonix. (My metaphors might be all screwed up here, but bare with me. Patience, my literary friends).

    What I am saying is that we are NOT insignificant. I do not believe it. I don’t think that it is scriptural. It may be “Christian – Cultur-al” but I don’t think that God gives us the crusts and tells us to get over it. Our time is not His time. And sometimes He can take a Very Long Time, (just ask Abraham and Sarah), but if we are patient, I believe that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it.

    I spent many years not coming forward because I didn’t want to appear Prideful. I mistook humility for poor self-esteem. Sit in the back and be quiet and wait for someone to point out how great you are. That’s just not going to happen. “The great saints of old” did what God called them to do, regardless of what anyone thought, even the Church.

    I’m with Darren on this one. My thoughts are jumbled. But the book sounds good. Don’t let the dream die, my friends….

  6. And I guess the cynical view, Nic, would be the person who -when you were sitting in the pew being “humble” and “quiet” and waiting for someone else to make the first move – comes up to you and says that you are such a blessing just by smiling at newcomers and helping with the toddlers, that your efforts at home and your prayers in private are “just as good” as those other dreams. The person who says, yes, well, let those dreams die and just serve God where you are — it’s ALL significant.

    I don’t think it’s all significant.

    It doesn’t all have to be public.

    But there is a difference between bumbling through a sketchy Christian life, hoping that we might randomly do some good, versus girding up myself and praying purposefully. Or when some kid wants to chat with me, setting aside my personal relaxation time to listen to them AND point them to Jesus. Or choosing to read the book I need, rather than the fluff novel that’s “easy.”

    The significant things, I believe, are things which take our energy and focus our attention. They don’t happen by accident – they happen because we are purposeful. Which doesn’t need to be public or important, but they are not casual or mundane.

  7. I think you can look at life in a way that is glorious for both God and man. Yes, God is greater than man, but that does not mean man is shameful or evil. Being lesser in glory does not mean you have no glory or that you cannot realize being fully alive.

    Every part of the journey is significant, even the times when we are lost, sick, and tired. God loves us the same at all points in your life. God is determined to heal our wounds. A healed person does not have to do a unique job to be accepted by God. But if he is healed or is becoming healed, i believe he will find more and more purpose that is unique to his heart’s desires. ( i am tying other themes of john’s books together, Journey of Desire, Wild at Heart and this book.)

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