The Blessedness of Numbness [Podcast]

You’ve heard me before say that being numb to the pain of the world is something to beware of. Pain causes numbness, a lack of feeling — we all know this. But is being numb always bad? Maybe not, argues my friend Matthew.

Wrecked Sessions

Maybe sometimes, this is the only way we can do any good. When we dry the tears and stop feeling bad. When we pull up our sleeves and get to work.

Of course, we need an experience to begin this work of making a difference in the world, but it certainly doesn’t end there. Or at least, it shouldn’t.

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You can view the complete transcript of this session (courtesy of Eva P. Scott) by clicking here. Right-click and select “save as” to download it to your computer.

About our guest

Matthew Paul Turner
Matthew Paul Turner

Matthew Paul Turner is a full-time writer and author who also works with World Vision. He travels the world, facilitating trips for bloggers to help others learn about the work World Vision is doing in the developing world.

In this episode of the Wrecked Sessions, we talk about why being numb to experiences can sometimes be a good thing when our responsibility is to lead other people into having paradigm shift.

Because it’s not enough to be shocked or stunned, asking ourselves, “How can people live like this?” We need to take action. The world doesn’t need your tears; it needs your hands and feet and heart, too.

The emotions can be helpful, but as Matthew says, they need to drive us towards something. Otherwise, they’re useless.


  • You can’t stay wrecked. You have to move past the emotions and do something.
  • Awareness is not action. It’s the beginning of making a difference.
  • Truly being “wrecked” requires us to commit to a cause bigger than an experience.
  • We are not only responsible for our own subjective experiences but also for objectively helping other people get “wrecked” and have their lives changed.
  • We must be present to our experiences but also consider what happens next.
  • We have to work towards staying compassionate.

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Do you think being a little numb to the pain of the world can be a good thing? Why or why not? Share in the comments.

18 thoughts on “The Blessedness of Numbness [Podcast]

  1. Being numb may allow the author/writer to become more of an observer. That said, one can debate the levels of numbness that reporters have in broadcast media and whether hearing a voice break in reporting of the bad news makes the audience pay attention more. In our writing, we have the opportunity to cry in private, and then put our words to paper to destroy the numbness that has become prevalent in our world today.

  2. Being numb can be a good thing, temporarily. I think numbness against major hurts in life is natural and healthy, but not forever. At some point, in order to feel and live fully again, we have to face the pain and deal with its causes and results. Otherwise we stay fearful and do not grow as completely as we could. I was a kid in a cult. It was only by facing the pain of my past I was able to begin writing books. Opening up those old wounds was hard, but magical in regard to my creative writing. Now I’m publishing my second book and writing my third. Learn more @

  3. No, numbness is the wrong word. The disease is called acedia. It was first described by the desert monks in the first centuries after Christ. John Cassian writes of it in the 4th century AD. The 20th century definition is the inability to feel. It is the perfect diagnosis for Columbine, Aurora, and Newtown. It makes the persistance of poverty understandable. Its antidote is in liturgy, prayer, tears and work. To follow the Way is to get up each morning and work for God’s mission in the world. Do not be dismayed that might mean you should be the best garbage truck driver you can be. I learned of acedia in the book “Acedia and me” by Kathleen Norris.

  4. I’ve found it’s a lot easier to be numb when you’ve never traveled and seen what the rest of the world goes through. It can be rough everywhere but you go to a third-world country it’s hard to be numb!

  5. “The world doesn’t need your tears; it needs your hands and feet and heart, too. ” I like this statement of Matthew Paul Turner

  6. I started listening skeptically; not sure if I agreed with the idea of being numb. But I get it now! Being engaged isn’t at all about being desensitized — it’s about harnessing our emotions for the purpose of doing work. (We can’t just let them run around yard while we stand with our hand on the plow.)

  7. Been following your blog for a few months now and love every single post. I’m learning so much about myself as a writer and I thank you for that. This post in particular just really had me nodding in agreement because I’ve been writing a bit about what it means to genuinely be the hands and feet of Jesus and Matthew’s words really hit the nail in the wall. It’s definitely not enough to be stunned or shocked. The world NEEDS our hands and feet. I plan to read your book in the coming weeks and giveaway a free copy on my site 🙂

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