In Others’ Words: Wake Up (Guest post)

Today I’m at the MOPS Convention in Dallas, teaching a workshop on cyberbullying. So writer Susannah Friis shares a favorite quote with you.

Photo by smoro/


“I wake up every morning determined to both change the world and have a [heckuva] good time. Sometimes that makes planning my day difficult.” ~ EB White (1899-1985), American writer


I love this quote because it sums up so succinctly how I feel about life.

I am passionate about the changes that need to happen in our world โ€“ like the sex slave industry, racism, poverty and starvation.

Yet, I also have a great passion for art, music, good wine and especially having a laugh and fun with family and friends.

Sometimes, I feel twinges of guilt when I am enjoying myself, dogged by feelings that I should be doing something “useful” instead of having fun. Or feeling it insignificant to buy a piece of art simply based on its beauty.

As I grow older, I am slowly learning to reconcile the two and realise that God made me the way I am โ€“ with passion for both the “big” issues and the “small” pleasures, and that with Him, there is room for both.

In Your Words: Do you ever feel the pull of two worlds? How do you reconcile them?


Raised a pastorโ€™s kid, Susannah Friis is first and foremost a follower of Jesus, as well as a wife and mother of three children aged 22, 15 and 9. She is also an aspiring writer who currently owns and runs four community publications with her husband. When not working or writing (or having some sort of other fun), it is not uncommon for her children to find her singing and dancing in the kitchen, always off key and out of time. She also likes to look at life sideways and enjoys speculating on the “whys” of how we behave as humans. You can join in the speculation by stopping by her blog at or follow her writing journey at


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  1. August 10, 2012, 3:50 am   /  Reply

    I love this little post, Susannah! I agree with you about the difficulty of reconciling the two forces in life. I believe that they work hand in hand, and that the best route to changing the world is through taking pleasure in the little things. Those of us who smile at the sound of children laughing or birds building a nest are best cut out for the challenges of taking on the big issues like starvation.

    That is a wonderful quote; I hadn’t come across that one before. Thanks for sharing it!

    • August 10, 2012, 4:29 pm   /  Reply

      I think you might just be right – those who do the ‘big’ things are often the ones who appreciate the small things too. I hadn’t really put the two together, so thanks!

  2. Karen S. Elliott
    August 10, 2012, 6:14 am   /  Reply

    While there is great suffering in the world, I don’t think God intended for me to take care of it all. I do help where I can – spread the word about our servicemen and women overseas, write my representatives, extend a helping hand to a friend when needed … And sometimes I just smile and say, “Hi” to a stranger. Lovely post, Susannah. Nice to see you “in” America. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • August 10, 2012, 4:32 pm   /  Reply

      Yes, that is so true. When I was in my teens, I very much felt I needed to do all the ‘saving’ that needed to happen in the world. As I grew older, I, of course, realised that was impossible and although my heart still breaks for all the things that need changing, I am able to just pick a couple of causes closest to my heart.

      And saying ‘hi’ to a stranger is one of the most wonderful things someone can do for the world ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Beth Vogt
    August 10, 2012, 7:03 am   /  Reply

    Welcome, Susannah!
    Thanks for leading off the conversation today with E.B. White’s quote — and all the way from Australia too!
    I love the days where I can do both: change the world and have a good time. Doesn’t always happen. I also value the days where God changes me — and throws some fun into the mix at the same time.

    • August 10, 2012, 4:33 pm   /  Reply

      Thanks for having me here, Beth!

      Ah yes, when God changes us, now that’s when the real fun begins….and often it’s the beginning of other changes too.

  4. Jeanne
    August 10, 2012, 7:40 am   /  Reply

    I do feel the pull of two worlds, when I take time to look beyond the urgency of the moment. With two school-aged kids my days are full with responsibility. I loved the idea of buying art simply because it’s beautiful. That mindset is one I’d like to adopt more.

    • August 10, 2012, 4:36 pm   /  Reply

      Yes, sometimes it’s tricky to look beyond our immediate responsibilities and ‘to do’ list, isn’t it? But it’s so worth it when we do.
      I challenge you to buy something this month, simply because it’s beautiful ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. August 10, 2012, 7:47 am   /  Reply

    As Christians, we are aliens in this world, so we’ll always be pulled in two directions. At night when I go to bed, if I can remember one kind deed I did that day, I feel like I’ve had a successful day. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • August 10, 2012, 4:39 pm   /  Reply

      Yes, I suspect it is a struggle that will stay with us as long as we are here ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like you, a quick inventory before sleep ensures I wake up refreshed and ready to make a difference – either big or small – again the next day.

  6. August 10, 2012, 8:42 am   /  Reply

    Yes – my husband took a trip to Africa and worked with a third-world nation and a few years later I went to France. He wants all of our children to go on a missions trip before they leave our home and I want to take all of them on a tour of Europe – both, I believe, are important to help them see that this world is diverse and the physical needs of the people are different everywhere you go – however, their need for Jesus remains the same.

    Beth, I hope you’re having a blast at the MOPS Convention! I wish I could be there. ๐Ÿ™‚ I enjoyed the two years I attended – but had I known you back then, I would have enjoyed it even more!

    • August 10, 2012, 4:43 pm   /  Reply

      Oh I so understand that! My daughter and I are going on a mission trip to Thailand in January but there is a ballet I want to take her to in October….two worlds collide again!

      As you said, the need for Jesus is everywhere, regardless of whether the people are wearing haute couture or rags.

  7. August 10, 2012, 9:45 am   /  Reply

    Totally get where you’re coming from. I work in a homeless ministry–yet, I love to shop, wear cute boots and am an Apple fanatic. Reconciling those is, yeah, sketchy. But I don’t think God created us as one-dimensional people, yeah? I love what you said–with Him, it’s possible to respond to both pulls. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Beth, thinking of and praying for ya during the convention!

    • August 10, 2012, 4:46 pm   /  Reply

      You are so right – we are not one dimensional and that is exactly how God created us ๐Ÿ™‚

      My daughter and I laugh together because one of our first questions in regards to our mission trip to Thailand in January, was “What clothes do we take??” And discussing whether we would be able to adequately wash our hair ๐Ÿ™‚

      There will always be that juxtaposition, I guess. And that’s okay ๐Ÿ™‚

      PS. I love Apple too….iphone, imac, ipod….I love them all!

  8. August 10, 2012, 9:50 am   /  Reply

    Love this post, Susannah. It’s refreshing to read there’s room for both! Thanks for your wise and fun words.

    • August 10, 2012, 4:47 pm   /  Reply

      Thanks Kim, glad you enjoyed it ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. August 10, 2012, 11:03 am   /  Reply

    Great words for thought, Susannah! Yes, the pull is there because God has set eternity in our hearts. But in those pulling moments, I remember Jesus at the wedding in Cana and countless other moments where He focused on relationships. He was all about relationships and community, because there we find the army to help change the world.

    • August 10, 2012, 4:50 pm   /  Reply

      Yes, I often think that in amongst all the teaching and miracles, Jesus was probably starting water fights and having a good laugh with all the disciples.

      And I am right with you regarding relationships and community. We have nothing without other people – that is the beginning of change. God is all about relationships and I figure, if that’s what He’s about, then I surely should be too!

  10. August 10, 2012, 5:37 pm   /  Reply

    How lovely to wake up this morning to all these wonderful comments ๐Ÿ™‚ So nice to be here Beth – thanks again for having me ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. October 1, 2012, 7:04 am   /  Reply

    Wonderful question and post!
    One thing that has helped me reconcile those two pulls is to remember Helen Keller’s quote: “I cannot do everything, but I can do something.”
    It has been freeing for me!

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