Book Review: Free of Me

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Do you need to take a deep breath?  Are you ready to be relieved of the need to do everything perfectly?  Pick up a copy of Free of Me by Sharon Hodde Miller and settle in for a great read that points straight to Jesus.  Miller really speaks to me as a wife and mom who highly values theological education.  The best part is that she is really sharing a simple message…God’s got this.  Take a deep breath and get over yourself.  I read this book this past week sitting at the beach and it was a great read to refocus on what really matters…the truth of the gospel being lived out in the way that I approach loving my family, living my calling, and caring for those that God has put in my path.  I’m so grateful for Miller’s commitment to using the platform of this book to point straight to the truth of Scripture.  God has a plan and He is faithful.  As Miller shares, “life really is better when it’s NOT ABOUT YOU!”

I highlighted several things while reading and have posted those notes below…

  • People-pleasing is a funny thing, because it seems “others-focused,” but it’s not about others at all.  It’s about you.  You want other people to think well of you.  You want people to say nice thing about you.  You help and you do favors and you struggle to say no because you don’t want people to be mad at you.  Yes, your self-confidence hinges on the well-being of others, but at the end of the day people-pleasing is really in service to yourself. p. 24
  • “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and uno way anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24 p. 27
  • “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2 p. 32
  • “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” Proverbs 4:25 p. 38
  • How you respond to God when your plans don’t work out, or how you respond to Scripture when it challenges your lifestyle—these responses are a litmus test of the kind of god you follow. p. 48
  • Our desire for glory is a desire given to us; God created us to seek praise from him. p. 49
  • “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 p. 53
  • Our God rejoices over us with singing (see Zephaniah 3:17) and lays himself down to make us whole, not the other way around. p. 61
  • He covers our sins and our innocent shortcomings, which means “Christian parenting” is not perfect parenting, but parenting under the grace of Christ.  Our call is not to be flawless parents, but to point to the Parent who never disappoints. p. 64
  • “choose compassion over comparison.” Jess Connelly and Hayley Morgan, Wild and Free p. 76
  • When we lower the bar for women around us, expose our weaknesses instead of “keeping up,” and humble ourselves instead of competing, that is a gift to our sisters.  In an image-obsessed culture like ours, that’s what love looks like. p. 78
  • “Vanity costs money, labor, horses, men, women, health, and peace, and is still nothing at last.” Ralph Waldo Emerson p. 81
  • “Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.” German psychologist Eric Fromm p. 86
  • “People are trying to build their platform more than their character…I’ve spent more time thinking how I can die a thousand deaths so that the character and nature of Christ can be formed in me.  As I die more, God gives me greater influence.  I think what we have is a generation that doesn’t want to die, but wants to have a bigger voice.” Christine Caine p. 107
  • Dissatisfaction is a torment, but it’s also a teacher.  It reveals our false idols, and it forecasts our future.  It’s a cautionary tale of the life we think we want, and in that sense, it’s a grace.  God is beckoning us, oh so lovingly, away from false satisfaction and into satisfaction that is true. p. 108
  • “In Consumer Christianity, our concern is not primarily whether people are transformed to reflect the countercultural values of God’s kingdom, but whether they are satisfied.” Skye Jethani, The Divine Commodity p. 117
  • “Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out.  It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others.” C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves p. 119
  • “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.” Hebrews 10:24-25 p. 124
  • “We can’t cure our narcissism by trying to ignore ourselves.  The solution is to stare at God.” Francis Chan p. 133
  • “I will keep my eyes always on the Lord.  With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8 p. 142
  • “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10 p. 164
  • “There remains a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.  Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest.” Hebrews 4:9-11 p. 187
  • Thankfully we don’t have to choose between fulfillment and self-forgetfulness, or between the abundance life and the obedient one.  We can have both in Christ.  So I invite you to embrace the freedom of this bigger story.  Don’t settle for a focus that is partially about Christ but mostly about you.  Messages about your worth and your belonging are good, but they are also too small a thing, and you were meant for more.” p. 191

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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