“Free of Me”

I read some great books in 2017 and wanted to share about one of them today.

Free of Me by Sharon Hodde Miller is a brilliantly deep yet practical book to read. I’ll be honest, it’s not an easy read because she hits on some hard areas that can sneak up on us if we’re not careful. But exposure to what is keeping us from a closer relationship to Jesus is a good thing.

Sharon talks about how we can make God about us. In ways we don’t even realize. From books and Bible Studies about self esteem to long looks and focus on our identity it’s easy to slip into a fast track of self absorption even when reading our Bible and seeking God. But don’t think this is a book that beats you up. Not so. Grace is laced all through this book as Sharon speaks hard yet beautiful truth which is a true gift.

I want you to hear a bit of Sharon’s voice through one of her chapters: When you Make God about You. 

“What is really interesting about the Christian self-help approach is that it’s markedly different from God’s. Moses felt inhibited by his weaknesses. He didn’t feel capable of speaking to Pharaoh or of leading the Israelites out of Egypt, because he only saw his disqualifications. And how did God respond to Moses’s doubt? Not with a self-help pep talk. He didn’t affirm Moses’s leadership or his talents or gifts. He didn’t hug him and cheer for him and speak encouraging words over him. God didn’t do any of those things, but instead he changed the subject. God affirmed his own strength, his own leadership, has own self, because the outcome never hinged upon Moses. This story was not about Moses’s strengths, and Moses was never meant to be the hero. Only God could deliver the Israelites out of Egypt, so he directed Moses’s focus back to him.” 

Later Sharon speaks of bitterness and defines it this way: “Bitterness is the fruit of believing God owes you. We witness this bitterness in the prodigal son’s brother, who begrudged his father’s mercy. If you believe faith is payment for living a moral life, bitterness will creep in whenever life doesn’t work out. That doesn’t me we can’t feel anger about tragedy – the Psalms gives us plenty of freedom for that!  – but bitterness is an anger we welcome to stay. Bitterness is the anger we nurture and cultivate, until it grows into something toxic and consuming. Rather than making a way for healing, bitterness produces even more woundedness….How you respond to God when your plans don’t work out, or how you respond to Scripture when it challenges your lifestyle – these response are a litmus test of the kind of god you follow.”

I hear Sharon is writing her second book now so I’m super excited about reading that when it comes out. I’m praying for her right now as well and if you happen to think about it pray for her too. She has two little boys and with a baby due in the next few weeks and she’s writing a book. If the thought of that hasn’t sent her into labor yet I’m not sure what will. So yeah, we sisters need to be praying for each other – even if we don’t know each other and will never meet….on earth.

So what’s on your bedside table to read this year? 

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