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Free of Me: Why Life Is Better When It's Not about You

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We live in a culture that's all about self, becoming the best "me" I can be instead of becoming like Jesus. This me-centered message affects every area of our lives--our friendships, our marriages, even our faith--and it breaks each one in different ways. The self-focused life robs our joy, shrinks our souls, and is the reason we never quite break free of insecurity. In th We live in a culture that's all about self, becoming the best "me" I can be instead of becoming like Jesus. This me-centered message affects every area of our lives--our friendships, our marriages, even our faith--and it breaks each one in different ways. The self-focused life robs our joy, shrinks our souls, and is the reason we never quite break free of insecurity. In this book, Sharon Hodde Miller invites us into a bigger, Jesus-centered vision--one that restores our freedom and inspires us to live for more. She helps readers - identify the secret source of insecurity - understand how self-focus sabotages seven areas of our lives - learn four practical steps for focusing on God and others - experience freedom from the burden of self-focus Anyone yearning for a purpose bigger than "project me" will cherish this paradigm-shifting message of true fulfillment.


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We live in a culture that's all about self, becoming the best "me" I can be instead of becoming like Jesus. This me-centered message affects every area of our lives--our friendships, our marriages, even our faith--and it breaks each one in different ways. The self-focused life robs our joy, shrinks our souls, and is the reason we never quite break free of insecurity. In th We live in a culture that's all about self, becoming the best "me" I can be instead of becoming like Jesus. This me-centered message affects every area of our lives--our friendships, our marriages, even our faith--and it breaks each one in different ways. The self-focused life robs our joy, shrinks our souls, and is the reason we never quite break free of insecurity. In this book, Sharon Hodde Miller invites us into a bigger, Jesus-centered vision--one that restores our freedom and inspires us to live for more. She helps readers - identify the secret source of insecurity - understand how self-focus sabotages seven areas of our lives - learn four practical steps for focusing on God and others - experience freedom from the burden of self-focus Anyone yearning for a purpose bigger than "project me" will cherish this paradigm-shifting message of true fulfillment.

30 review for Free of Me: Why Life Is Better When It's Not about You

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shuana Hackworth

    If you only have five books that you can read and apply right now choose “Free Of Me”. I like this book because the author is transparent and takes us through a journey that many of us deal with. The focus of self. Sharon let’s us know in the beginning of the book “ shifting your focus off of yourself and onto God is much harder than it sounds” She walks us through her transformation of adjusting and turning her focus to God. The author writes from the prospective of a friend who has learned a l If you only have five books that you can read and apply right now choose “Free Of Me”. I like this book because the author is transparent and takes us through a journey that many of us deal with. The focus of self. Sharon let’s us know in the beginning of the book “ shifting your focus off of yourself and onto God is much harder than it sounds” She walks us through her transformation of adjusting and turning her focus to God. The author writes from the prospective of a friend who has learned a life changing message. A friend who wants to draw us to the Lord. The entire book is powerful and impactful however, two chapters as well as all of part three penetrated me the most. The chapter’s that packed a punch for me were in part two of the book. “When You Make God About You and When You Make Your Calling You About”. In the chapter “ When You Make God About You” Sharon talks about the different ways we view God and set him up in our own image. One of the views is what she calls the self-serving God this impacted me a lot because it calls to question our responses when things don’t go as planned. Sharon says “ 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”. Part three of the book is absolutely freeing it gives you biblical ways to be free of self focus. This book is packed with scripture as well. I would have to write a essay to explain how impactful this book is. I admonish you to grab your own copy. Happy reading!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    Disclaimer: I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway (thank you btw!) in exchange for an honest review. Which I will now give. Once upon a time, Sharon Miller was a well-meaning but spoiled, proud, "good Christian girl". That is until her self-focused attitude started to crush her. Over the course of her life, God lead her on a spiritual journey that shifted her focus and changed her view of herself and the world around her. This book, inspired by her journey, is all about getting free from sel Disclaimer: I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway (thank you btw!) in exchange for an honest review. Which I will now give. Once upon a time, Sharon Miller was a well-meaning but spoiled, proud, "good Christian girl". That is until her self-focused attitude started to crush her. Over the course of her life, God lead her on a spiritual journey that shifted her focus and changed her view of herself and the world around her. This book, inspired by her journey, is all about getting free from self-focus, as it's poisonous to you, the people around you, and most importantly your walk with God. It's very simple and straightforward, and good at pointing out parts of your life that you may not have even realized you had tied to self. That being said I did have some problems with it. The book, while solidly grounded in Biblical truth, briefly references Rick Warren, "The Message" (a "version" of the Bible I personally find extremely questionable), and often refers to psychology. Again, its main source is the Bible, but those things did stick out for me. She also at one point mentions (very briefly and in terms neither negative nor positive) the idea of women becoming pastors. Many Christians probably won't find these things as problematic as I do though, or may even consider some of these good things, so make your own judgments in that regard. I'd say my biggest problem with this book was how female-focused it was. Yes, I understand that the author is female and she's using the story of her own life to help relate to the reader. And as a female myself, it works for me. But the thing is, I felt like if I gave this book to my teenage younger brother or my middle-aged dad, neither of them *would* be able to relate to it! This book has a very important message that the Church today needs desperately. Shouldn't everyone be able to learn from it? Some ways I feel this could have been fixed: 1) Market this book specifically for women. Sure, there are quotes from the heads of a couple women's ministries on the front and back cover, but overall the book gives the impression that it's for everyone. And yet I don't feel like guys will learn as much from it as gals. If you marketed it more toward that demographic, you might be less likely to disappoint the dudes who need help escaping the tyranny of self. 2) Maybe the author could have rounded things out more with some (with-permission) anecdotes about her husband or children's struggles with self. 3) Maybe write a companion book for men? Of course the big question is: did the book help me? Yes. Yes it did. ^-^ I came away from this book with a renewed sense of purpose and a stronger desire to love and serve God and those around me. I've been struggling with what the book calls "making my calling about me", and I wanted to squash that but I didn't know how. This book helped me put that more in perspective, and I'll probably be re-reading it again in the future for that reason. So, do I recommend it? Sure~ So long as you don't mind the things that I mentioned above, if you struggle with self-focus this book will probably be a help to you.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Paula Vince

    What a great and timely message to begin a new year! I love to challenge myself with thought-provoking non-fiction books between my beloved fictions, and this one is a real gem. The author bravely lays bare her own struggle with self-absorption, which she didn't even register until the pain and misery of following the siren call overwhelmed her. Indeed, it's an unusual subject to highlight because rather than being urged to renounce it, our society coerces us to fall into its trap, thinking we're What a great and timely message to begin a new year! I love to challenge myself with thought-provoking non-fiction books between my beloved fictions, and this one is a real gem. The author bravely lays bare her own struggle with self-absorption, which she didn't even register until the pain and misery of following the siren call overwhelmed her. Indeed, it's an unusual subject to highlight because rather than being urged to renounce it, our society coerces us to fall into its trap, thinking we're doing ourselves a favour. Miller trusts that we can all relate to some extent, and explains how self-focus is our default setting, and therefore a tough pattern to shake. She reveals a sneaky variety which appears to be completely unselfish and others-directed. However, when a reputation for kindness, charity or altruism suits the image we wish to project, then it can be really still about us! I wonder how many people can say, 'Ouch.' But identifying the problem is only half the solution. Next, she describes how many of society's attempted 'cures' are in fact leading us further along the insidious spiral. It's easy to mistake the restlessness and dissatisfaction of self-absorption with low self-esteem. Then we try to fix it up by giving ourselves pats on the back and self-affirmations. We might turn to social media and see these boosting attempts going on everywhere. But Miller argues that they are all counter-productive, and what we really need is self-forgetfulness. She points out how easy it is to make specific facets of our lives all about us, including our families, possessions, appearances, friendships, reputations, callings, and even God himself. It's sobering to read how something as wholesome as parenthood, or a ministry or calling can become all about the individual, to the extent that they keep craving affirmation to keep their egos from crumbling. As Sharon Hodde Miller puts it, 'Calling can become about you, and when it does, it will shrivel your soul like a flower scorched by the sun.' It's hard to deny that we live in an era when people don't even realise that they're trying to build their platforms more than their character. The best part is that she doesn't just lay out the problem, but offers sound and workable solutions. I think the nitty-gritty of this book is the last part, which encourages us in the crusade to keep our focus off ourselves and our life impact. She recommends four different ways to nip it in the bud, which are Praise, People, Purpose and Passion. Now, although I sometimes find using alliteration to make points comes across a bit forced and strained, not in this case :) Miller is sure that remembering and practising them helped her enormously, and they're convincing enough for me too. Because I'm sure so many of those gloomy moments are tied up with all this sort of tricky business. As I say, a good book to start the year with. Thanks to Baker Books and NetGalley for my review copy. For more book talk, reviews and discussions visit my blog, https://vincereview.blogspot.com.au/

  4. 4 out of 5

    Allison Anderson Armstrong

    I loved this book! Best book for women I've read in a while and I will recommend it to everyone. It has a lot more of the down-to-earth lessons for women that really hit you where you need it. Self-focus is a huge problem in my life as well as "respectable sins" such as people-pleasing for the sake of making people like you. I have a feeling this isn't just my problem, but many women's. Many of our desires are good and God-given, but we selfishly twist them so that we are the sole beneficiaries I loved this book! Best book for women I've read in a while and I will recommend it to everyone. It has a lot more of the down-to-earth lessons for women that really hit you where you need it. Self-focus is a huge problem in my life as well as "respectable sins" such as people-pleasing for the sake of making people like you. I have a feeling this isn't just my problem, but many women's. Many of our desires are good and God-given, but we selfishly twist them so that we are the sole beneficiaries of them, instead of God. Ms. Miller balanced the delicate psychology of still retaining self-worth (through Christ) and forgetting oneself in order to glorify God and help others (As well as make your own life better! We're free to forget ourselves!) I'm buying my own copy of this book and reading and re-reading it often.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cyndee Ownbey

    A quick scroll through Facebook or Instagram will highlight the many women in your church and community that are hyper-focused on self. Women borderline-obsessive about their body, their weight, their clothes, their home, their image… This focus on self is causing great harm to the church and to our witness. As Sharon points out, “When our focus is on our own needs, our own preferences, and our own comforts, we will not love people in a way that resembles anything like the love of Jesus.” And I wa A quick scroll through Facebook or Instagram will highlight the many women in your church and community that are hyper-focused on self. Women borderline-obsessive about their body, their weight, their clothes, their home, their image… This focus on self is causing great harm to the church and to our witness. As Sharon points out, “When our focus is on our own needs, our own preferences, and our own comforts, we will not love people in a way that resembles anything like the love of Jesus.” And I want to love people like Jesus. Free of Me is a great book for personal reading and for use in a small group study. Every chapter ends with Discussion Questions, a Focus Verse, and a Focus Prayer. There is also a Bible Study Guide for group facilitators. Free of Me will challenge and convict the women in your small group. And it will challenge and convict you. It sure did me. Despite the (false) assumption that you may need to don some steel-toed boots, Free of Me is filled with hope. Over and over, Sharon points the reader back to the cross, back to God, back to the Bible. Through personal stories and scripture, she implores us to raise our gaze. It’s a challenge that, if we accept it, will change the way we live our lives. When we find a way to throw off the grave clothes of self that entangle us, we will be set free! In the battle against a culture that preaches, “you deserve it” and “your needs are paramount”, Free of Me dissects the lies and points readers toward the truth.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa Cottrell

    The book I didn’t know I needed.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Politano

    This was a FABULOUS book that was so spot-on. Our culture is full of self-help books meant to draw on one's inner strength, boost confidence, and everything else. This book turns all that upside down and gives real, TRUE answers to questions we have about ourselves and what's not working. Beautifully, honestly written with frank authenticity and great heart, this book is my new favorite. This was a FABULOUS book that was so spot-on. Our culture is full of self-help books meant to draw on one's inner strength, boost confidence, and everything else. This book turns all that upside down and gives real, TRUE answers to questions we have about ourselves and what's not working. Beautifully, honestly written with frank authenticity and great heart, this book is my new favorite.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kate Elliott

    Wish I could give this a solid 3.5 stars. Easy read. I just didnt resonate with everything the author was hitting on. Definitely some probing/self-exposing stuff worth exploring.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlin Garrison

    "It’s not about you” has always been a phrase that rubbed me the wrong way. That is, until I read the truths between the pages of Free of Me. Free of Me is an anthem calling us to raise our gaze from ourselves and to fix our eyes on Jesus. By fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pressures we feel from self-focus start to fall of like chains, and we discover that true freedom is found when life becomes all about Christ and others and not about us. As Sharon says, “Freedom means you are no longer bound b "It’s not about you” has always been a phrase that rubbed me the wrong way. That is, until I read the truths between the pages of Free of Me. Free of Me is an anthem calling us to raise our gaze from ourselves and to fix our eyes on Jesus. By fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pressures we feel from self-focus start to fall of like chains, and we discover that true freedom is found when life becomes all about Christ and others and not about us. As Sharon says, “Freedom means you are no longer bound by the tyranny of self, but you are free to focus on Christ.” As a recovering people pleaser, I found this book so comforting and convicting. I needed this book to remind me that people pleasing really isn’t about others and it slowly eats away at our soul. It doesn’t do ANYONE any good, because it’s not genuine or real. It’s selfish. If you struggle with people pleasing, perfectionism, or are facing difficulties in discovering your identity, this book is an amazing help in breaking those unhealthy patterns. I can’t think of a more important message for our culture than the truths disclosed in Free of Me. This is a MUST READ!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I learned about this author through the She Reads Truth devotional emails. I thought the premise of her book sounded interesting but I will confess that I approached this book a little skeptical because I’ve been burned by bloggers-turned-authors in the past. And because I’ve not yet been delivered of my cynicism towards earnest women’s ministry types. But boy, oh boy. This woman can preach it and I needed to hear everything she had to say. I especially liked the recurring theme of self-forgetful I learned about this author through the She Reads Truth devotional emails. I thought the premise of her book sounded interesting but I will confess that I approached this book a little skeptical because I’ve been burned by bloggers-turned-authors in the past. And because I’ve not yet been delivered of my cynicism towards earnest women’s ministry types. But boy, oh boy. This woman can preach it and I needed to hear everything she had to say. I especially liked the recurring theme of self-forgetfulness in the book. Miller uses herself as an example throughout and although our life situations are very different, I benefited greatly from reading about her experiences. She gets infinite bonus points for quoting Eugene Peterson, discussing her and her husband’s marriage counselor, and supporting female seminarians. Hurrah! On to her next book!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Malech

    Wow! What can I say? This book is such an insightful and liberating read-to get our focus off of ourselves and onto those around us. Sharon gives light to the topics of our struggle with people pleasing, vanity, greed, and other important subjects. It is told in such a graceful way+in her own transparency, she shares how she was able to overcome these various things and move forward in God's purpose, for His glory. None of this life is about us. It's all about Him. Such a great read! Definitely Wow! What can I say? This book is such an insightful and liberating read-to get our focus off of ourselves and onto those around us. Sharon gives light to the topics of our struggle with people pleasing, vanity, greed, and other important subjects. It is told in such a graceful way+in her own transparency, she shares how she was able to overcome these various things and move forward in God's purpose, for His glory. None of this life is about us. It's all about Him. Such a great read! Definitely one that I will come back to time and time again.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sarah J Callen

    Sharon's writing is insightful, encouraging, and challenging all at the same time. She opens up her heart for us to read and learn from her experiences. When reading this book, I feel like I'm sitting across from her, engaging in a conversation about life and faith. She reveals so clearly the areas in which she experienced self-focus, helping me have the "a-ha" moment that I, like everyone else, need to be freed with my own preoccupation with self. This book is timely and is a great one to work Sharon's writing is insightful, encouraging, and challenging all at the same time. She opens up her heart for us to read and learn from her experiences. When reading this book, I feel like I'm sitting across from her, engaging in a conversation about life and faith. She reveals so clearly the areas in which she experienced self-focus, helping me have the "a-ha" moment that I, like everyone else, need to be freed with my own preoccupation with self. This book is timely and is a great one to work through slowly so you're able to digest each precious concept.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    A refreshing and theologically sound pushback against the self-help approach to Christianity. Chapter division breakdowns, suggested focus verses, and discussion questions make this a good choice for group study.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    A really good book on how to redeem our insecurities. I’ll probably go back to this one in a print version because I know I missed some things through audio :-)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Janie

    Such an instructional and practical read. She breaks down why we are insecure and how to get our head out of that joy-sucking mentality. I want all my friends to read this!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alison Wall

    What a fantastic book! This book has helped shape my relationship with a loving Father more deeply. I never have considered myself a self centered person but there are parts of my life where I am self focused and I struggle in those areas. Working through this message has helped me depend more on God and trust in him more than myself. It has given me a sense of freedom. I encourage you to read this book and I feel that this would really benefit young adults who are tying to figure out their plac What a fantastic book! This book has helped shape my relationship with a loving Father more deeply. I never have considered myself a self centered person but there are parts of my life where I am self focused and I struggle in those areas. Working through this message has helped me depend more on God and trust in him more than myself. It has given me a sense of freedom. I encourage you to read this book and I feel that this would really benefit young adults who are tying to figure out their place in the world.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bethany Fader

    I read this right after I read "Get Out of Your Head" by Jennie Allen and the two messages really worked together in my life. I read this right after I read "Get Out of Your Head" by Jennie Allen and the two messages really worked together in my life.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    So good. I think this will be an annual reread.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rebekah McGee

    Savored this book and really enjoyed her perspective as a working mom. I highlighted so much!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jen Bradbury

    Not long ago, I sat in worship thinking “Every aspect of this service has been entirely about me.” That week, it felt like worship pointed not to Jesus, but to me. I’m pretty sure that a few months earlier, I would not have been so acutely aware of this phenomenon but as it happened, that week, I was in the middle of reading Sharon Hodde Miller’s Free of Me: Why life is Better When It’s Not About You. Because I was, I was hypersensitive to the ways in which we shift the focus of various parts of Not long ago, I sat in worship thinking “Every aspect of this service has been entirely about me.” That week, it felt like worship pointed not to Jesus, but to me. I’m pretty sure that a few months earlier, I would not have been so acutely aware of this phenomenon but as it happened, that week, I was in the middle of reading Sharon Hodde Miller’s Free of Me: Why life is Better When It’s Not About You. Because I was, I was hypersensitive to the ways in which we shift the focus of various parts of our faith from God to us. In Free of Me, Sharon discusses what she terms the “mirror reflex” – the “tendency to treat people as a reflection of yourself.” According to Sharon, “You cannot be your focus… If your faith exists to make you feel better about yourself, you’re going to veer off course.” To this end, Sharon explores seven ways in which we make things - God, Family, Appearance, Possessions, Friendships, Calling, and Church - about us. She then describes four ways we can be free of ourselves: By praising God, loving others, having a purpose, and finding passion. For the most part, I loved the first half of Free of Me, in which Sharon discusses the ways in which we make faith about us. Sharon’s chapter, “When You Make God about You” is, in my opinion, worth the price of the book. In this chapter, Sharon explores how we’ve turned God into a self-help God that “exists to make you feel better about yourself. If you’re feeling lonely, unattractive, overlooked, or insecure, this god can make you feel special. This approach to God is a Christian version of self-help messages.” It’s prevalent in many of our churches, including mine. The problem with the Christian self-help approach is, according to Sharon, that “it’s markedly different from God’s.” Using Moses as an example, Sharon explores how God “Affirmed his own strength, his own leadership, his own self, because the outcome never hinged upon Moses. This story was not about Moses’ strengths, and Moses was never meant to be the hero.” As the mom of a young child, I also particularly enjoyed Sharon’s chapter, “When You Make Your Family About You.” In it, she reminds parents, “Children are not the fulfillment of our identities and they should never be asked to bear that weight. The Christian identity can stand on no person – spouse or child – but on Jesus Christ alone.” Where I struggled with Free of Me was in the second half of the book – the discussion of the four ways we can be free of ourselves. Though Sharon makes several good points in these chapters, unlike the first half of the book, they felt prescriptive and almost formulaic, which caused me to rapidly lose interest. Overall, though, I’d recommend Free of Me to women interested in taking an honest look at their faith and how much they’ve made it about them. Each chapter contains a focus verse, prayer, and discussion question that would be suitable for individuals to reflect on or to use in a women’s small group. ************************************************** Disclosure: I received a free copy of Free of Me from Baker Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stefani West

    This book blew me away. It's exactly what I needed in my life during this season. I hesitate to even write a review for this, because I'm afraid it will come off as stereotypical of other Christian self-help books. I think the key differences about this book are that the author does not spend a lot of time reminding you of how worthy and awesome you are. In fact, she spends a lot of time encouraging you to stop making everything about you. Her goal is in reminding you that getting YOU "fixed" or This book blew me away. It's exactly what I needed in my life during this season. I hesitate to even write a review for this, because I'm afraid it will come off as stereotypical of other Christian self-help books. I think the key differences about this book are that the author does not spend a lot of time reminding you of how worthy and awesome you are. In fact, she spends a lot of time encouraging you to stop making everything about you. Her goal is in reminding you that getting YOU "fixed" or "encouraged" is actually not your primary goal. Early in the book she addresses some forms of idolatry in our hearts that I found especially convicting. Especially in the ways that we use God for our own self-gratification. She reminisces about a time when she was using her ministry to serve her own needs, while her sin pleasantly existed under the guise of service to God. Even though I don't have a ministry, I relate to that a lot. So many times I have found myself doing good things, and I do them because "Well God would want me to" but my heart is doing it so that others will notice, or so people will think well of me, or so people will think that I'm doing what God is asking me to do. But in reality it has more to do with my "self" than anything else. She has chapters addressing family, appearance, possessions, friendships, church, and even your calling. In each of these chapters she brings to light ways that we make of these areas self-centered. I didn't get as much out of these chapters, but they were still helpful and had good takeaways. One of the most impactful chapters I read discussed the topic of dying to self. She does a beautiful job of describing the struggle of dying to our "selves" and rebirth. I appreciate her perspective that this is in ongoing process and not a one-time thing. In different areas of our lives, at different times, sins are going to surface in our lives that we are going to have to appeal to God to end. Things that are entwined in our hearts and we may even feel like are what is keeping us safe. And we have to be willing to lay it down and be rid of it. It is a painful thing to do, but it's how we grow and move forward, more like Christ than we were before. There is a lot more to this book, I can't possibly bring up every good point of wisdom that was written. I even gave up on highlighting or marking the book because I would have had to do it for entire chapters. I highly recommend this to everyone I know.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joanne Viola

    In her book, Free of Me, Sharon Hodde Miller focuses on a cultural mind-set infiltrating more of us than not. Often we do not even recognize its presence until our eyes are opened by the truth gently being set out before us. Free of Me addresses the mind-set of self-focus impacting every part of our lives - our relationships, our faith, our calling, our purpose. Self-focus causes us to grow short sighted as we truly cannot see beyond ourselves. It will shrink our lives and shrivel up every ounce o In her book, Free of Me, Sharon Hodde Miller focuses on a cultural mind-set infiltrating more of us than not. Often we do not even recognize its presence until our eyes are opened by the truth gently being set out before us. Free of Me addresses the mind-set of self-focus impacting every part of our lives - our relationships, our faith, our calling, our purpose. Self-focus causes us to grow short sighted as we truly cannot see beyond ourselves. It will shrink our lives and shrivel up every ounce of joy as life was truly never meant to be all about us. "When you make things about you are that not about you, it's a terrible burden. Living for yourself is a crushing weight. Deep down, we all know that if we could stop trying to people-please, stop trying to measure up, stop focusing on our flaws, and stop dwelling on rejection, life would be a lot easier. If we could only focus a little less on ourselves and a little more on God, our shoulders would feel so much lighter." ~ Sharon Hodde Miller, Free of Me, page 14 In this book, the author desires to open our eyes so that our focus is shifted off our ourselves and onto God. As easy as this may sound, it will not come easy for as broken people, we have a bent towards inward focus. The book is not a self-help book (no pun intended), instead the book brings a message of truth which leads to greater freedom in Christ. The book is about His story being played out in the lives of every believer. Every page of this book points to the greater message, the bigger story, pushing us to not settle for anything less than an abundance of Christ in our lives displayed to a world desperately in need of Him. Yes, God heals our brokenness, but the point is we are not to remain focused on our brokenness, but focused on the Healer. Every day we can live in the freedom His salvation brings. He heals us so that our focus for the remainder of our days is His story - the Gospel message - for all people, for all time. This is a book we all need. Sharon weaves her own journey to find freedom from herself with transparency, baring her soul for us all to learn from her personal experiences, and more so, from Scripture. *** The author and Baker Publishing provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. It was my joy to provide one as this book will be pulled off my shelves time and time again.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    Free 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-f Free 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.*

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    "Free of Me: Why Life is Better When It's Not About You" by Sharon Hodde Miller is a very thought-provoking book that changes the reader's perspective on their focus in life. In our culture today, everyone is focused on themselves and what they will get out of their good deeds. What's in it for me? is the new way of thinking for this generation. Sharon turns the focus away from self to self forgetfulness. God created us to use our gifts to benefit the world around us, not just ourselves. Sharon "Free of Me: Why Life is Better When It's Not About You" by Sharon Hodde Miller is a very thought-provoking book that changes the reader's perspective on their focus in life. In our culture today, everyone is focused on themselves and what they will get out of their good deeds. What's in it for me? is the new way of thinking for this generation. Sharon turns the focus away from self to self forgetfulness. God created us to use our gifts to benefit the world around us, not just ourselves. Sharon encourages her readers to turn outward and upward and to "Raise Your Gaze" to the One who created us. She shares her own personal experiences in shifting her own personal focus and ways that helped her broaden her focus on God-centered things versus self-focused things. She challenges each of us to do the good, hard work in ourselves to do the same. The end of each chapter has discussion questions to get you thinking and the last section of the book includes ways to help you work on changing your own ways to shift your focus as well. We live in a me-centered culture which is not at all the culture God intended to create. We're all distracted by our own needs and wants. He has created each of us for a very specific purpose and we need to strive to fulfill his good works in us. I especially related well to the section on parenting as I am a busy mom of 4. "The mirror reflex--the tendency to treat people as a reflection of yourself (people-pleasing)" is something I had never heard of before, but Sharon describes it so well and points out areas in which this easily happens and how unaware we are to it. This is a book that I will be reading over slowly, focusing on one chapter at a time and really reflecting on ways to change my focus to remain focused on God and learning how to raise my children with their focus turned outward as well. It is a book that I feel this generation would really benefit from. One of my favorite quotes is "Living in a state of constant guilt is living as if Jesus never died." I was blessed to receive an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    What can I say that hasn't been said? This is a great book - excellent points about living life beyond your pride and your insecurities but instead for something much, much more -Christ. I was surprised at how easy of a read this was but also how profound it was at the same time. Sharon Hodde Miller is a PhD graduate who I know has what it takes to explore this topic in a very theologically deep way. The topic - identifying self-focus in life and love and calling and faith, eventually moving towa What can I say that hasn't been said? This is a great book - excellent points about living life beyond your pride and your insecurities but instead for something much, much more -Christ. I was surprised at how easy of a read this was but also how profound it was at the same time. Sharon Hodde Miller is a PhD graduate who I know has what it takes to explore this topic in a very theologically deep way. The topic - identifying self-focus in life and love and calling and faith, eventually moving toward a Christ-like view of all of those things - is no easy task, yet I came to see that instead of explaining away 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. While I would have liked a bit more depth within the interpretation and application of the word to each of her points, I can't say that this format which Miller chose took away from the overall effect of the book. If anything, I think it made the book much more accessible, and perhaps my desire for deeper content would be better found in the many sources she quoted from well-reputed theologians. In an age where popular Christian women leaders are tempted with an end-goal to focus on self (whether it's a good or bad version of self), 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. Why is that so? 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. I received this book for my honest review. If I hadn't liked it, I'd have said so (see my other reviews!), but I did, and I'm saying so just the same.

  26. 4 out of 5

    NinaB

    I’m not sure how to explain my view of this book. It has great points, but also has some parts that didn’t sit well with me. What I like: The point of it is just as the title says, “Life is better when it’s not about you.” This is a message that needs to be preached more loudly in our me-centered culture. The author has a clear outline that God, our family, appearance, possessions, friendships, calling and church are not about us. In each aspect of life, she repeats the same true message, that it i I’m not sure how to explain my view of this book. It has great points, but also has some parts that didn’t sit well with me. What I like: The point of it is just as the title says, “Life is better when it’s not about you.” This is a message that needs to be preached more loudly in our me-centered culture. The author has a clear outline that God, our family, appearance, possessions, friendships, calling and church are not about us. In each aspect of life, she repeats the same true message, that it is all about ***spoiler alert***Jesus and His glory! Her chapter on “When you make God about you” is almost the perfect rebuke against so many “Christians” who have their own view of God based on a distorted interpretation of Scripture. What I didn’t like about it is her refusal to disagree with the message from another author who said, “to turn our insecurities to God, knowing that God made us with intimate intentions and call us good. ONLY THEN WOULD WE BE ABLE TO LOVE OURSELVES AND EXPERIENCE FREEDOM (emphasis mine). She includes key verses and discussion questions that are great for a group study and self-examination. —————————- What I don’t like: She uses herself as an example often. It is ironic that in a book that teaches self-forgetfulness, she talks about herself a whole lot. This is me being picky, but she quotes authors that I don’t like: Vosskamp, Beth Moore, Lysa TerKeurst, Rick Warren, etc. According to her blog, the author doesn’t hold to the traditional complementarian view (which I hold to) and it shows in this book. She claims to have worked as a College minister while attending seminary. She treats “God’s calling” as some kind of entity and is somewhat demanding that needs to be followed, whether one wants it or not.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Suzi

    In the introductory chapter of Free of Me, Sharon Hodde Miller tells the story of Narcissus, who was so enchanted with himself that he ultimately wasted away and died while gazing at his own reflection in a spring. It’s a story many of us have heard, but certainly would not apply to our own lives, right? In the chapter entitled Mirror Girl, Miller says, “Looking at your reflection is practically a human reflex. If you walk by a mirror you are going to take a look. We all do it.” (p.25) So apparen In the introductory chapter of Free of Me, Sharon Hodde Miller tells the story of Narcissus, who was so enchanted with himself that he ultimately wasted away and died while gazing at his own reflection in a spring. It’s a story many of us have heard, but certainly would not apply to our own lives, right? In the chapter entitled Mirror Girl, Miller says, “Looking at your reflection is practically a human reflex. If you walk by a mirror you are going to take a look. We all do it.” (p.25) So apparently, we all have some Narcissus in us! But instead of despairing, we can learn to identify those areas where we make life about us rather than focusing on the source of all freedom: Jesus Christ. And this is what Miller advocates; she wants us to raise our gaze to the Lord and away from ourselves. Miller identifies seven areas where we fall prey to self-focus: God, Family, Appearance, Possessions, Friendships, Calling and Church. She is transparent about her own struggles with these “mirrors” and shows her desire to live as the woman God created her to be. Sharon Hodde Miller has a passion for sharing this, encouraging her readers through personal and societal examples along with solid Biblical illustrations and truth. If your desire is to bring glory to the Lord in all that you do and say, but find yourself having a little nagging self-doubt or wonder why your feelings get hurt so easily even though you know in your heart that He is enough, this book is for you. Self-focus is insidious! Sharon Hodde Miller’s Free of Me is no “self-help” book. It is an invitation to drop the burden of self and replace it with the sweet freedom Jesus, and only Jesus, brings.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Carissa Johnson

    I received a copy of this book for my honest review. Sharon Hodde Miller's book Free of Me is not another Christian book to add to the conversation. It's an invitation to flip your thinking completely upside down. At least, that's what it did for me. This book has given me so much to think about, and it's all integral to my daily life. You may not even realize ways that you've made aspects of your life about yourself--your appearance, your work, etc. If you're a Christian, these things should all I received a copy of this book for my honest review. Sharon Hodde Miller's book Free of Me is not another Christian book to add to the conversation. It's an invitation to flip your thinking completely upside down. At least, that's what it did for me. This book has given me so much to think about, and it's all integral to my daily life. You may not even realize ways that you've made aspects of your life about yourself--your appearance, your work, etc. If you're a Christian, these things should all reflect God's glory instead of pointing back to yourself, but it's so easy to think of others as a mirror to reflect ourselves. In this book, Miller's approach is twofold: First, she points out (through examples in her own life) where we might have missed the point. It's convicting and thought-provoking; each chapter is short but the message is powerful. Then, she explains how we can "raise our gaze" back to God. Her advice is practical, and as you read, you'll sense that she's not trying to judge you and try to fix you; she wants you to understand the freedom of this truth that she's found. One small thing I'm especially grateful for: Sharon doesn't write this book for a certain "type" of person, like Christian moms. When she talks about parenting, she's mentioning how to relate to our own parents and also how to prepare for our future children. When she talks about spouses, she not only uses pronouns that could fit a male or female reader, but she also offers advice and wisdom for single people. Truly, this book is a message for everyone in our time. You will be challenged and inspired by this book!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Baker

    In today’s culture of self-preoccupation and self-help, Free of Me delivers a message of freedom. Psalm 121: 1-2 tells us that our help comes from the Lord and in this book, Sharon gracefully exposes the dangers and holes in a self-help gospel. Instead, she continuously points us to look to Christ when it comes to our insecurities, our relationships, and our purpose. With a strong theological understanding and a relatable voice, Sharon opens up honestly about her own struggles with self-preoccupa In today’s culture of self-preoccupation and self-help, Free of Me delivers a message of freedom. Psalm 121: 1-2 tells us that our help comes from the Lord and in this book, Sharon gracefully exposes the dangers and holes in a self-help gospel. Instead, she continuously points us to look to Christ when it comes to our insecurities, our relationships, and our purpose. With a strong theological understanding and a relatable voice, Sharon opens up honestly about her own struggles with self-preoccupation, allowing her experiences to lovingly convict and reveal places where the reader may also be making life about them. With chapters on making God about you, your family about you, your possessions about you, and your church and calling about you, Sharon shows us how we can often fail to live the free life we have gained in Christ when we look inward instead of raising our gaze to Him. Sharon doesn’t just leave us with knowledge of our problem; she delves into action steps we can take to start claiming the freedom we can have from making life about us and instead focusing on praising God, serving others, and dying to self without neglecting self. This book is a must-read for anyone who feels like there is something missing from some of the teachings for women today. It’s message is so practical that I find myself thinking about it as I go about my day and as I reflect on my experiences and interactions with others. Perfect for a book study with reflection questions and scriptures, I plan to share this book with others in my church.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Heather Hart

    Uncovering Sly Self-Focus I’m not a “people pleaser,” so I wasn’t sure this book was for me. Generally, I don’t struggle with other’s opinions of me: I’m fine, thank you very much. And then I underlined, high-lighted, starred about 80% of this book. Perhaps self-focus is a bit more sly and pervasive than I was giving it credit. Sharon gives us a candid look at her own journey to understand self-focus and it’s many masks. I identified with much of her journey, more than I wanted to admit because, " Uncovering Sly Self-Focus I’m not a “people pleaser,” so I wasn’t sure this book was for me. Generally, I don’t struggle with other’s opinions of me: I’m fine, thank you very much. And then I underlined, high-lighted, starred about 80% of this book. Perhaps self-focus is a bit more sly and pervasive than I was giving it credit. Sharon gives us a candid look at her own journey to understand self-focus and it’s many masks. I identified with much of her journey, more than I wanted to admit because, "I’m fine," remember? Perhaps this was my first mask to be torn down. I’m actually not fine, but God is. And He is at work renewing me. And since I’m not fine, but a work in progress, I can be much more gracious to the other works-in-progress living around me. Starting with my husband. Whew. Her chapter on marriage and family was excellent. One I will reread for sure. This book is not just for those married or parenting, though. Her chapters on possessions (the THINGS that end up owning us) and calling (which becomes a measuring stick) pushed me to evaluate myself. I forced myself to ask why I wanted certain things or why I wanted to be known in a certain role. Was it really about God? Or was there a sly self-focus actually winding through my desires. I cannot thank Sharon enough for writing this. I know I will come back to it. I know it is making me think and pray and sort through my priorities. I know it is the call to release self-focus that we need.

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