Free of Me: Why Life Is Better When It's Not about You - eBook
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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Vendor: Baker Books
Publication Date: 2017
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AmyL4 Stars Out Of 5Free of MeDecember 9, 2017AmyLQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 4As I read through chapters that reminded me that life is not really about me, I was forced to think about the way I mentally approached many areas of my life. When my life is all about me, I'm forgoing the greater Jesus-centered life that is offered. Miller wants you to be able to be restored to freedom and have the desire to live for me.
Through several chapters, Miller reminds us that life is not meant to revolve around you. Through scripture, prayer, and questions, Miller helps you reflect on the seven mirrors that she asserts we tend to make about ourselves: God, Family, Appearance, Possessions, Friendships, Calling, and Church.
My eyes were definitely opened to several areas in which I need to start reworking on my thinking. In the last part of the book, Miller explains better how to live a life that is free from such self-focus. It's a reminder that life is not about us or what we can get from it. But rather, life is a reflection of God and what it can show us about Him and who He is.
This book is not another self-help book. Rather, it's a book that will help broaden your understanding of how to find God in the daily life. And how to set aside yourself in a healthy way so that you can find a life of freedom and fulfillment.
I received a copy of this book from Baker Books. This review is my own, honest opinion.
muffinHonea Path, SCAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Excellent Read!December 5, 2017muffinHonea Path, SCAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5"Free of Me" by Shannon Hodde Miller was an eye opener! I have read many books about taking the focus off "me" but I've never read any like this. I loved how Shannon approached this subject and showed us how to take the focus off "me". She approaches the topic of self-esteem and how our focus is so much on "us". This book was so full of useful tidbits. I have highlighted so many parts of this book. I plan on keeping this book and referring to it often. This book has truly changed the way I look at my life. I could quote so many things from Shannon, but I don't want to give it away! If I could give this book 10 stars, I would! I definitely recommend it to everyone. We all need to take some focus off ourselves (myself included).
I received this book from Baker Books for my honest opinion.
Off Shelf Book Reviews5 Stars Out Of 5Review: Free Of MeNovember 21, 2017Off Shelf Book ReviewsQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Full disclosure: A free complimentary book was provided through Baker Books in exchange for a review. This was provided to me shortly before the official release date. So why did I choose to accept this book in the first place? Well, with a narcissistic culture that has never been more prevalent than ever before, and with no signs of it slowing down, I wanted to see if Sharon Miller's work would touch on this issue.
While Free of Me is Sharon's first ever published book, she is no stranger when it comes to writing. Miller's passion for writing has been on display with her 'SheWorships.com' blog. Miller wears several hats in her life with a PhD, being a pastor's wife, and a mother of two boys. To balance all these areas in her life on top of publishing a book makes this an impressive accomplishment.
The enormous extravagant calligraphy script font used on its front cover got my attention. It's large yet simple three words and three syllables clearly gave me awareness to a major issue not often talked about. That issue is the 'me-centered' culture that is silently plaguing many lives which is described by its subtitle, "Why Life Is Better When It's NOT ABOUT YOU". The background of the cover has seven shapes consisting of circles, squares, and rectangles. I would guess these seven shapes represent the seven "mirrors" Miller talks about in great length and how we make them "about us". She identifies those seven mirrors as 'God', 'family', 'appearance', 'possessions', 'friendships', 'calling', and 'church'.
Free of Me speaks to a culture drowning in self-focus, self-idolatry, self-promotion, and self-centredness through the 'mirror reflex' in which a self-esteem saturated society has turned into one giant mirror pointing back at us. Miller shares how we can free ourselves to embrace a Jesus-centered vision. With an insecure culture rooted in self-focus, Miller identifies two root causes of insecurity: low self-esteem and self-preoccupation. She prescribes two solutions which are direct opposite of insecurity: affirmation and self-forgetfulness. She also provides four ways to be "Free of Me" all starting with the letter P: Praise, People, Purpose, and Passion.
Miller effectively balances her own words with sources from scripture and words from other authors without it dominating her book. Her personal stories display accurately how we confuse true humility with 'thinking less of ourselves' rather than 'thinking of ourselves less'. Miller explains how we also confuse freedom with the worldly perspective of "being free to live for yourself" rather than the gospel perspective of "being free from yourself". The greatest takeaway from this book is how Miller spills her heart out onto the pages of her writing. I love the complete vulnerable transparency she shows in her life. She brings out a full array of her feelings both positive and negative which she diagnoses the insecurities she creates by making her life all about herself. You never sense she has any feelings hidden or buried as she digs them all out and exposes them.
Let me be clear, the majority of this book carries stories and wisdom everyone can benefit from, but I did notice a few areas where Miller shares stories of her life which focus on issues that particularly affect women. She even provides statistics for this. While it is Miller's intention that her writing is meant for both women and men, there are a few sections of reading that women will relate to far more than men will. This is not to say that men cannot relate; They can. This is also not to say men do not struggle with these same issues that women do; They do. However, it seems women struggle with these issues more than men do. In no way do I believe these parts of her writing alienates men, but I do warn they may not be able to relate as strongly to some of the issues Miller brings to light as women do.
This is certainly an exciting time in Sharon's life. There is nothing like publishing your first book, especially when it addresses an issue that is more important in our time than ever before which few authors have spoken about. Miller provides a quality source of practical solutions and strategies to obtain freedom from the ever-growing problem of a self-centered culture. While her words do not exactly cure and eradicate the disease of self-centredness, her foundational wisdom and engaging life stories provides a much needed antidote of medicine and sheds light on the utmost importance of dying to self. Free of Me is a platform of inspiration that helps readers renew their souls and find their joy that was once robbed or lost from the burden of self-focus.
Deuce SkunksSpringfield, MOAge: 25-34Gender: Female4 Stars Out Of 5How To Refocus On God When Your Self Gets In The WayNovember 17, 2017Deuce SkunksSpringfield, MOAge: 25-34Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Free Of Me: Why Life Is Better When It's Not About You by Sharon Hodde Miller is a reality check that most Christian women could use to read at some point in their journey to be closer to God. Sharon starts by explaining the overall consequences of making yourself your focal point in life - whether through your achievements or your insecurities. She emphasizes that God demands for us to be other-focused and Christ-focused, while using personal stories to demonstrate how we so often become self-focused even while we're attempting to care for others instead. We worry about how they'll see us, what they'll think of us, and if they'll show appreciation for what we've done. Time and time again, we keep tilting the playing field more and more in order to make it about ourselves rather than others - including God.
Sharon then walks us through seven "mirrors"- God, family, appearance, possessions, friendships, calling, church - which are things that we tend view in a distorted manner in order to make them about us when they really shouldn't be. Have you ever apologized for not putting on makeup before going out, or not cleaning the living room before guests arrive? How about distancing yourself from the jokes your husband says, so people won't think of you in "that" way? Or maybe you make sure to always have the perfect ensemble and the newest technology? How about checking your blog or facebook page to see how many views and likes that last message praising God received? These are all things that some of us struggle with more than others, but we all struggle with something that wants to steal our focus from God and place it back onto ourselves. Sharon's honest, direct, and loving approach reminds us that we're not alone and that God doesn't think any less of us for these setbacks.
After revealing and reflecting on your personal mirrors, Sharon helps you learn to redirect your focus back to praising God, loving others, serving your purpose, and humbling yourself - without neglecting yourself. This book is a wonderful asset and breath of fresh air for any Christian woman who finds herself needing to refocus on God. 4/5 stars.
*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary print copy of this book from the publisher, Baker Books, for the purpose of this honest review. All opinions are my own.*
Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5It's Not About Me -- And It Never WasNovember 13, 2017Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Theres always a certain amount of eye-rolling that goes on in a household overrun by teens and young adults. My husband and I are amazingly un-cool. His humor is entirely Dad-jokes. My questions and observations are overwhelming evidence that Im over-thinking everything. But heres one tiny bit of wisdom that has been passed down without protest, maybe because it is so abundantly clear: People who are all wrapped up in themselves make pretty small packages.
Sharon Hodde Miller found the pull of this variety of self-focus to be stronger than gravity, robbing her of her joy and killing her confidence, for no accomplishment was ever stellar enough to overcome the downward pull of comparison; no applause was loud enough to drown out the self-condemnation; no audience was large enough to banish the feeling of invisibility. What were all fighting is a mirror reflex (25) in which everything is a reflection of ourselves, leading to the tendency to shape our self-image around people, possessions, and profession and to live in a state of self-focus that will make everything about you, even when its not about you.
The writer of Hebrews has thrown the window open wide for all of us who live in the stuffy room of self absorption, inviting us to stop running the race distracted, focused on our cute sneakers and flawless form, and to fix our eyes on the only One who can heal our wounds and set us free. (35)
Living life as if it is all about me sends me off course in seven very specific ways. Sharon refers to them as mirrors, and in our own brokenness, they reflect back an image that has nothing to do with the real world as seen through Gods eyes.
When you make God about you, its as if He exists to make you feel better about yourself, to serve you, to make your life easier, and to bring about your kingdom and your will on this earth. Freedom comes when our life focus becomes the glory of God.
When you make family about you, everything comes back to image management. Your kids, your husband, their accomplishments (or lack of same) either puff you up or deflate your bubble. Heres the truth: The purpose of your family is not to make you look good. The purpose of your family is not to make you comfortable. . . The purpose of your family is to love your family and other families. The purpose of your marriage is to love God and the world better than you could have done it alone. (67, 68)
When you make your appearance about you, it becomes an idol, a demanding tyrant. Preoccupation with appearance drives a wedge between women. The alternative (and healthy) view is compassion over comparison. [O]ur goal is not to be the cutest girl in the room . . . And on the flip side of this, physical imperfections become opportunities to relinquish our splendor in humility and grace. (77, 78)
When you make your possessions about you, your hope is in something that is very temporary and unreliable. Sharon unpacks Pauls instructions to women about modesty in I Timothy with an emphasis on the cultural context of extravagance apparently a problem in New Testament days as well! The modesty Paul argued for was a path to decrease their own glory and to exalt God by hoping in Him rather than in wealth.
When you make your friendships about you, you will operate out of a position of perceived rejection and continual loneliness. Our friendships are for us, but they are not about us. They exist primarily for the glory of God. They point us toward the perfect friendship we have with him, and as long as our friendships remain grounded in that truth, even the broken ones will be swept up into the arc of redemption. (102)
When you make your calling about you, you will live in dissatisfaction with the present and may find yourself acting in disobedience to his calling in self-protection or self-promotion. Paul was a man who carried a heavy calling as if it were feathers on the scale because he wasnt living for his own glory, so nothing was on the line. (112)
When you make your church about you, suddenly your preferences have become essentials and your search for the perfect church will become a matter of consumerism. Sharon compares church attendance to marriage in that both are intended to grow us and to teach us perseverance for better or for worse.
With the tendency for self-focus hard-wired into our fallen DNA, it would seem to be an impossible struggle to ever become Free of Me, and yet, there are four broad categories of healthful habits that can put us on the right path:
Pouring Out from the Well of Your Gifts and Interests
Letting God Plant You and Trusting His Heart
Throughout Scriptures narrative arc, God points to a redemptive plan in which all things will be redeemed nothing will be wasted. Freedom comes when we see ourselves as part of Gods bigger story, crucially involved in the advancement of His vision for the world while swallowed up in the freedom and contentment of self-forgetfulness. Free of Me is an invitation to throw off the burden of self-focus and to find worth and belonging within the larger context of an obedient following that is all about Christ, His purposes, and His glory.
This book was provided by BakerBooks, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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