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

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

by Sharon Hodde Miller

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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 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781493409457
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/03/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 105,409
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Sharon Hodde Miller is a pastor's wife and a mother to two small boys. In addition to earning her PhD, Sharon has blogged at for nearly ten years, making God's Word accessible to women everywhere. She has been a regular contributor to Propel and Her.meneutics, and has written for Relevant, Christianity Today, (in)courage, She Reads Truth, and many other publications and blogs. She speaks regularly on topics ranging from leadership to body image to Scripture. She lives with her family in the Raleigh/Durham area.
Sharon Hodde Miller is a pastor's wife and a mother to two small boys. In addition to earning her PhD, Sharon has blogged at for nearly ten years, making God's Word accessible to women everywhere. She has been a regular contributor to Propel and Her.meneutics, and has written for Relevant, Christianity Today, (in)courage, She Reads Truth, and many other publications and blogs. She speaks regularly on topics ranging from leadership to body image to Scripture. She lives with her family in the Raleigh/Durham area.

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Free of Me: Why Life Is Better When It's Not about You 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amaack More than 1 year ago
As 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.
dhiggins4 More than 1 year ago
“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.
michelemorin More than 1 year ago
There’s 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 I’m over-thinking everything. But here’s 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 we’re 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 it’s 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 God’s eyes. When you make God about you, it’s 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. Here’s 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 Paul’s 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. Continue reading at Living Our Days . . .
Teadrinker More than 1 year ago
In our culture of perpetual selfies and Social Media "Look at Me" postings, Free of Me by Sharon Hodde Miller, is the counter cultural prescription that we need to read. Free of Me is divided into 3 parts. Part One: Self-Distracted shares much of Miller's story. Part Two: Seven Mirrors, talks about when we make seven areas of our life about us: God, Family, Appearance, Possessions, Friendships, Calling and Church. In Part Three: How to Be Free of Me, Miller talks about ways we can set ourselves free from loving ourselves so much and turn to loving God and others more. Each chapter starts with a quote, then goes into the topic and ends with a Focus Verse, a Focus Prayer, and Discussion Questions. Free of Me would be a great book for a book club discussion and these questions could be quite helpful. However, they are also good to just reflect on with a journal if you are doing the book by yourself. On the front cover of Free Of Me is an endorsement by Ann Voskamp, "Free of Me may be one of the most important truths for our times." I have to agree. I couldn't read this book quickly. There was so much meat to it. Frankly when I reflected of some of her words in relation to my own life, it wasn't always easy to digest. At the same time, it was so very good. I do think everyone could benefit from this book in our culture today. I received Free of Me from Baker Books. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.
Bookgirlintexas More than 1 year ago
Let me just cut to the chase here- I've highlighted practically every page of this book. Moving on... I have been following hard after Jesus for 19 years, and during that time I have read numerous books, led too many Bible studies to count, and have had a consistent quiet time. I say all of that to let you know that I have NEVER read nor thought about the points Sharon is making in this book before, and it is convicting me in areas that I obviously still need work! I remember thinking to myself after reading chapter 3 (When You Make God About You), "How can this book get any more enlightening than this chapter?" Boy, was I wrong! I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that every page continues to spur me on to pray and ask the Lord to reveal these hidden heart attitudes of self-focus. Don't get me wrong- I knew I struggled with selfishness (that's why I needed to read it!) but I didn't realize that so much of the way I think and react has to do with me, me, me. Sharon’s writing style is funny and relatable, and I appreciate her transparency. It’s obvious to me she is passing on the wisdom that she has learned about herself, and I couldn’t be grateful that I have the chance to glean from her own experiences. This book will be one I recommend and give as gifts to people for years to come. Please check it out!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't let the cover fool you; this is not just a book for women. This is a timely message needed by many rooted in solid theology. The words are thoughtful, rich, and deep. This is a book I will reference and recommend for a long time and I look forward to more from Sharon. She is a breath of fresh air, admired and respected.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've enjoyed following Sharon on instagram for quite awhile, but wasn't sure what I would actually think of her book. I LOVE it, and haven't wanted to put it down. Her writing is relatable and easy to read, while still full of a deep, intellectual theology. I have begun to see how often my eyes are focused on myself, and I have needed this reminder that "life is better when it's not about me" I am grateful for Sharon's straight-forward way of helping me identify the places where I am drawn to self-focus and for the way she reminds me of why it's worth it to take my eyes off of myself and put them on Christ. So challenging, and so encouraging. I can't stop recommending this to all the women around me!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Free of Me is a breath of fresh air in a world that encourages us to focus only on ourselves. Sharon encourages readers to think through various parts of our lives, and to consider how we might turn our eyes to Jesus instead of being focused inward. Sharon's book is honest and full of grace. She wrote this book because she gets the struggle-- which also makes her wisdom all the more helpful. My favorite chapter was "When You Make Your Calling about You"-- for anyone who has been tempted to get stuck in the downward spiral of discontent and uncertainty when it comes to their job, this chapter makes the whole book worth it! Sharon encourages readers to focus our gaze above, walking in obedience, even when we feel discontent, knowing that our "Christ-centered calling is the best way to love the people around us."
Julianne Clayton More than 1 year ago
This book is SO needed and SO good. I have felt the burden of self-focus throughout my life more often than I would like to admit. This book highlights the freedom that comes when we choose to raise our gaze and realize that it’s not about us at all. Sharon does a great job of revealing deep truths while using a conversational, approachable tone. It’s also a great option for a group to read together – there are discussion questions at the end of each chapter that allow for reflection and application. I highly recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In Free of Me, Sharon boldly exposes the danger of our perpetual draw toward self-focus by calling us to live into our calling as bearers and bringers of God’s glory. When we allow ourselves to live for anything less than the name of Jesus, we become disconnected and isolated. We find ourselves on a rollercoaster ride of feeling fulfilled, successful, and on top of the world one moment and being catapulted into judgment, fear, criticism, and shame the next. This is so far from the abundant life we have been created for. One of my favorite themes that Sharon explores in the book is how the liberation from self-focus builds bridges. When we break out of the cycle of allowing our outward appearance, our relationships with our friends and family members, and even our gifts and talents to define us, we are set free to unleash unprecedented levels of love, compassion, and connection to those around us. This is something the world needs desperately and perhaps more than ever.
Joanna Russell More than 1 year ago
“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.” -Sharon Hodde Miller I know most everyone struggles with a level of insecurity (me included!), and trying to build self esteem will never get to the root of this problem. Sharon says that there is another root cause of insecurity, and that is self-preoccupation. And the answer to this is self-forgetfulness. This book is a MUST READ! So much insight and practical ways to implement a life of self-forgetfulness.
Suzi Geisler More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book about the plague of self-centeredness our culture is experiencing! It's so freeing to realize it's not about you, but it's about God. Focus on God and letting go of focus on self allows us to move toward the life He intended for us. Sharon Hodde Miller walks us through all the ways in which we focus on ourselves and shows us how to focus on what really matters. "Over and over, the psalmist makes a connection between fixing our eyes on God and his Word, and the pursuit of abundant life. Meditating on God and his truth is not just a nice thing to do. It is a way to freedom. What I didn't understand then, and what I do understand now, is that these commands are not checklists. They are lifelines." (pg. 141)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow, this book is so needed in my life! In a world of "self help" gospel that continually encourages us to continue to turn inward in our search for meaning and truth, Sharon challenges us to "raise our gaze" to the only One who can truly satisfy our souls. This book blends a compelling combination of personal stories from Sharon's life with sound biblical principles that make it easy to understand and grasp and apply to our lives. I have been following Sharon's blog She Worships and her writing for years and was eagerly anticipating this book -- it did not disappoint! In a sea of Christian women's literature, this book stands out as just the right blend of challenging and edifying. It is truly a breath of fresh air. Can't wait to go through the study questions at the end of each chapter with my small group!
JViola79 More than 1 year ago
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.
Yamile Alinur More than 1 year ago
I highlighted pretty much the entire book! Sharon Hodde Miller puts into words something my heart has been struggling to discern for a long time. There is such freedom in raising our gaze to God instead of looking inward. The first part of the book describes seven mirrors/areas we make things about us and the consequences. Sharon humbly writes these seven areas and it's filled with personal stories. She also cites other books, verses, authors and articles to drive her point home. These aren't opinions she's forcing upon her readers--she's walked through this. And has experienced the freedom she talks about when you stop making everything about "you" and you shift that focus back to God. The second part of the book she gives practical ways we can be "free of me." If you're searching for something and it feels like you'll never figure it out, this book is an amazing read on encouraging you to shift your focus, raise your gaze, back to Jesus. Because when you do, He'll reveal what you've been searching for the same way He's begun to do for me. And there is such freedom in being "Free of Me."