“It’s not about you.” These are the four words that Sharon Hodde Miller opens Free of Me with, and the premise behind them captured my intention immediately.
In a world bombarded with messages about “self” this book serves as a purposeful refresher to re-direct our eyes upwards rather than inwards. Seeking to restore and redeem truths than have been twisted, Free of Us is a convicting and inspiring message to live a life for more than just ourselves.
With her easy writing style and gentle voice, it’s easy to see the author’s heart for gospel truth. Pushing past the temporary “feel-good messages” provided by the world around us, Miller leads us to exploration of an identity and worth found in Christ alone. Offering insights into seven different areas of life in which we tend to make about ourselves, Free of Us gently prods us to re-evaluate our approach towards God, Family, Appearances, Possessions, Friendship, Calling, and Church. The book concludes by offering four practical steps in helping to release our “me-centric” attitudes and turn our focus towards God.
Summing up the main issue addressed in this book, I especially appreciated Miller’s quote from chapter two: “For many of us, the problem is not that we think poorly about ourselves. The problem is that we can’t stop thinking about ourselves. All this talk about self-esteem and being our truest and best selves has turned the world into one giant mirror pointing back at us.”
How true this is! In a society full of selfies and social media likes, we measure and bolster our ideas of success or failure based on a reflective view of the world around us. The message of this book feels like such a timely and important reminder for all of us.
From the publisher:
“Our me-centered culture affects every area of our lives–our relationships, calling, self-image, even our faith–and it negatively impacts each one. The self-focused life robs our joy, shrinks our souls, and is the reason we get stuck in insecurity.
In Free of Me, Sharon Hodde Miller invites us into a bigger, Jesus-centered vision–one that restores our freedom and inspires us to live for more.
While I thoroughly enjoyed the reminders and insights within this book, it took me a bit to connect with some of the author’s personal examples. They didn’t seem bold enough or big enough, and then I realized that that’s the whole point. It’s easy to overlook just how pervasive this me-guided attitude really is, and how deeply and subtly it can permeate all aspects of our lives.
Each chapter within the book closes with four or five discussion questions designed to help readers probe deeper into the material. While the book touches on parenting and marriage, there is also an equally abundant amount of perspective and takeaway for both married or single, Christian women. I was also struck by how beneficial this book would be for late-teens and young adults — particularly as a study or group reading.
Overall, Free of Me is an encouraging and thought-provoking read into a subject that many of us (knowingly and unknowingly) struggle with. I leave this book with 4 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.