When we embrace our God-given purpose, He takes the focus off ourselves and onto a much bigger story.
Sharon Hodde Miller – “Free of Me”
Do you ever read a book and don’t realize how applicable it is until some time after you read it? That happened to me with “Free of Me” by Sharon Hodde Miller. In fact, the application from each chapter of this book hit me with a clear and present “THIS IS JUST WHAT I READ!!” moment after each chapter I encountered.
Take a look at this book trailer from Miller, illustrating exactly how relevant this book’s focus is:
“Free of Me” works to identify self-focus in life and love and calling and faith, eventually moving toward a Christ-like view of all of those things and a life free of the pursuit of false hope. I think Miller does a great job at identifying what can trap us in self-focus and shows us how to pursue a freeing Christ-focus in all those things I mentioned above.
“The one true God responds to our insecurities with reassurances about himself. In doing so, he releases us from the source of our paralysis, shifting our gaze from the “can’ts” to the One who can.” – Chapter 3, “When You Make God About You”
I was surprised at how easy of a read “Free of Me” is but also how profound it is at the same time.
Taking on this topic, especially in this day and age, is no easy task, yet I came to see that instead of explaining every little nuance of this subject, Miller gave a practical lead-in, developed a biblical case for her points, and is letting the Holy Spirit handle everything else on the individual application (and conviction!) end-of-things.
Here are a few examples of my experience with this book:
Several of the chapters are titled with the phrase “When you make your —- about you.” One of the chapters examines what happens when you do self-focus your friendships. And let me tell you, it was immediately applicable.
We move so much that my social insecurities and anxieties are often fed by the fact that I have to go through the friendship cycle again and again. This chapter helped me remember how God provided already by giving us a church community, kind and generous neighbors, and nearness to family all in our newest relocation. So that was an easily recognizable application.
“Friendships are for us, but they are not about us. They exist primarily for the glory of God.” – Chapter 7, “When You Make Your Friendships About You.”
The next chapter is about calling. Hey, I’m a stay at home mom, and when do I ever get to make that calling about me? Oh, any day I want, I realized! But what if that calling isn’t all that I am? That’s something I struggle with because I’m lazy with my talents outside of mothering, so reviewing this chapter was a true kick in the pants.
“Remember what your calling is for. It’s not about you, and that is great news.” – Chapter 8
And then I read the chapter about making church about you, and let’s just say that Miller’s introductory story is my introductory story, so this hit me both on the head and in the heart.
“Over time, [Jesus’] disciples grew into intimate friends, and that model of friendship is a basic function for the church. Our call is not to gravitate toward people like us but to gather strangers and turn them into family […to] gather enemies and turn them into friends.” Chapter 9.
In an age where popular Christian women leaders are tempted with an end-goal to focus on self (whether that version of self is proud or pitiful), something like “Free of Me” is a true breath of much needed fresh air.
I don’t know that I’d say this book would make someone feel happy, but it may make them feel free, and that’s worth more than all the temporal validation that this world can offer.
Because in order to be “Free of Me,” one has to be free through Christ.
Wherever you are in your journey with God, this book will bring value to you. And yes, it is pointed toward women and doesn’t apologize for that, but like the Truth of God it proclaims, it’s full of great stuff for everyone. I highly recommend it.
A final p.s. :
I received this book for my honest review. If I hadn’t liked it, I’d have said so (ask me about my other reviews!), but I did, and I’m saying so just the same.