Uncommon is a battle cry for women to step out of the ordinary and live differently. It's a blueprint for a life full of passion and purpose. And it has the power to change everything. Author Carey Scott invites you to journey alongside her as she introduces you to women from the Word who chose to live uncommon lives even in the toughest circumstances. From stepping into scandalous situations to breaking cultural norms to risking the departure of a comfortable life, you will discover hope and motivation to live God’s way in a world that screams, “Tuck your faith away! Just be normal like everyone else!”
Now more than ever, it's time to step into something new. . .something life-changing and life-giving. God is asking you to shine Him into a world that needs to know there is a better way to live. And when you say yes to becoming uncommon, it's a radical act of obedience to the One who created you to be extraordinary.
With authenticity, vulnerability, humor, and refreshing boldness, Uncommon will empower you to rise up. . .to reject the common. . .to embrace your calling. . . and to live in a way that points others to God. Buckle up, friend. It's time to be uncommon.CAREY SCOTT is an author, speaker, and certified Biblical Life Coach who loves to have honest conversations about real life. She discusses the issues women struggle with the most, always reminding that perfection is not the goal. Through her ministry, she sets the challenge to stop living a mediocre, risk-free life and instead step onto the battlefield of life and engage! Carey lives in Northern Colorado with her family. Learn more at CareyScott.org.
|Publisher:||Barbour Publishing, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Carey Scott is an author, speaker, and certified Biblical Life Coach who's honest about her walk with the Lord--stumbles, fumbles, and all. She challenges women to be real--not perfect--even when it’s messy. Through her ministry, she encourages women to stop living a mediocre, risk-free life and instead step onto the battlefield of life and engage! For over twelve years, Carey’s had an active ministry geared toward women. She speaks to women's groups and writes an online devotional designed to help women be who God created them to be. Carey lives in Colorado with her husband and two kids, who give her plenty of material for writing and speaking. She’s surrounded by a wonderful family and group of friends who keep her motivated, real, and humble.
Read an Excerpt
Pursuing a Life of Passion and Purpose
By Carey Scott
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2017 Carey Scott
All rights reserved.
The Common Life
I laid my hands on my belly and prayed right there in the kitchen.
Father, I don't want this. My family needs me. Please don't ask me to carry this burden. But Lord, if this is part of Your perfect plan — and if my journey will help one woman find You — I'll take it.
That day, in all my fear and anxiety and confusion, with tears spilling out of my eyes, after weeks of being in a fetal position, I accepted the possible assignment of ovarian cancer. The pathology report from a routine I-don't-want-my-period-anymore hysterectomy showed a small spot on my uterus with ovarian cancer cells. And four different pathologists found it.
It's the word we dread more than any other. It's the diagnosis we never want to hear. And my doctor spoke it as we sat in the exam room. I could tell something wasn't right when I first saw her face, but this had never crossed my mind. Cancer wasn't part of the plan. My appointment that day was to remove stitches. Not this. And as my two kids — then seven and eight — enjoyed extra screen time as they sat in the waiting room, their only concern was what flavor of ice cream they were going to order at Dairy Queen on the way home.
But my concern was heavy enough for all of us.
Am I going to die? That was my next question — one with no immediate answer. I'd have to meet with an oncologist who would run tests to get a better understanding of the spot and the cells, and then determine the next steps. But that wasn't now. Now was the time I had to muster every bit of strength so I could hold it together for my kids. Now was when I had to get control of my thought life so I didn't fall into the pit of hopelessness. Now was the season when I needed to press into God with all my might so I could navigate this situation well.
I gathered my kids and drove to Dairy Queen. It took determination not to burst into tears as I watched them eat their ice cream from the rearview mirror. I was so thankful for the oversized sunglasses. They were the only thing hiding the fear and confusion in my eyes. And when we got home, I turned on a movie to distract them as I slipped away into my bathroom to gather my thoughts. I called my husband and my parents and others who needed to know. And then I lost it.
The cancer center waiting room was decorated with great intentions of bringing light and hope to those who sat in it. But regardless, it was filled by patients and family members with empty, blank stares. And as I sat there with my husband, I silently prayed for God to intervene.
The oncologist was cold and young, and he ran lots of tests that involved needles — something that unnerved me even more. We listened as the doctor made the case for removing my ovaries and possibly more based on what they had discovered. At that point, neither of us would argue with his suggestions. I couldn't help but feel sorrowful that a part of what made me a woman was about to be removed. This choice wasn't for me to make — it was a choice made for me. It's funny how you define yourself as a woman by the organs that help create or sustain life. Maybe you know just what I'm talking about.
And I began asking God tough questions: Why do bad things keep happening to me? When is enough ... enough?
Let's just say I haven't lived a charmed life. From sexual abuse at age four to a minefield of other painful encounters with men growing up to an embarrassing divorce with my first husband plus a million more "you've got to be kidding me" moments, life had been anything but charming. Or easy. And because I thought maybe God would let the second half of my life ease up, I certainly didn't see this coming. I was at the crossroads of questioning God and trusting God, and I had a choice to make.
He brought back to mind a vision from years earlier where He revealed plans for a speaking ministry. And I had watched in awe as random invitations to speak came my way. God had been opening doors only He could open. So deep down, I knew He was trustworthy and had good plans for my future. But this was real life in Technicolor, and I wondered if I could trust God in this life-and-death situation, too.
The timing was horrible. My husband and I were in crisis mode with our son, who was reeling from the horrible and painful effects of a third-grade bullying situation. He needed me now more than ever. And my daughter needed a mom to teach her about being a woman of God, something I was excited and honored to share with her. I knew my husband didn't want to think about raising this family without me. We'd fought hard for the marriage we had, and the thought of being apart was too much. I can't die now. My family needs me. Why is this happening?
It's easy to trust God when the stakes are low, but this wasn't one of those times. There was so much to lose ... so many lives to mess up ... so many dreams hanging in the balance. Believe me, God and I had conversations. Lots of them. But with each prayer, with each scripture read, with each worship song that passed through my lips, things began to shift in me. Fear became hope. Anger became resolve. And questions became praise.
I decided to reach out on social media, asking for prayer and sharing my journey. I'm pretty sure I was on every prayer list from LA to NYC. My online community rallied around me in such a profound way — an uncommon way. And I felt loved and cared for and encouraged with each message and post. This unexpected support system blessed me more than I can even put into words. Community is a powerful weapon.
So as I stood in the kitchen that day praying and laying my own hands on the part of my abdomen directly in front of my ovaries — standing at the intersection of questioning and trusting, of fear and courage — an immediate calm overcame my heart, and worry gave way to bravery. And in an instant of complete surrender, I told my Creator that if it was His will for cancer to be part of my story, then so be it.
That response was anything but common. And it was a sharp left turn from what my prayer had been. Something had changed.
In that moment, God gave me a complete peace the world couldn't understand — a peace I couldn't even fully understand. His presence in the room was so thick, and I felt His supernatural strength infuse me. Even typing this out, I'm struggling to find the perfect words to describe an experience that was unexplainable. Maybe you know exactly what I am talking about because you've experienced it, too. There are powerful moments when God collides with our anxious hearts, and the results are profound. That sacred moment created a new resolve in me for the assignment I felt God might have ordained for me. And looking back — because I didn't realize it then — I was making a conscious decision to be uncommon by saying ... yes.
That's what God does for us when we seek Him. That's what happens when we press into the Perfect One for help. That's what happens when we give God permission to use our story. He exchanges our ordinary for extraordinary. But it's a choice — every day and in every situation. Being uncommon takes guts and grit and a willingness to surrender.
Some of those days between the doctor's diagnosis and my kitchen prayer time were pretty messy. I cried and screamed at God for letting this happen. I hid under the covers, feeling hopeless. I pleaded with God, reminding Him of the two kids He gave me to steward — ones who deeply needed their mama. I told God that while my husband was an amazing father, he would not make the best mother. And I began isolating myself. I hate good-byes.
Don't you think all of those responses make sense? Because when life throws punches and knocks us to our knees, sometimes we struggle to find a way to get back up again. It takes time to catch our breath and find our footing. Even if we're connected to the heart of God, sucker punches hurt. We still get scared. And even more, they can make us second-guess God and His ability and willingness to help us.
Maybe you've responded to life's surprises in these sorts of ways in the past. These responses are not only common, but they make us mortal. Hey, we're not perfect, right? I call them "fleshy" moments because we take our eyes off God and act out of human emotions. We cower before the scary-looking giant standing in front of us. We let the fear of our circumstances seep into our thoughts. We feel small and vulnerable. And it scares us.
I completely understand what it's like to doubt God's sovereignty, faithfulness, or trustworthiness when we get scary news from the doctor. And when our future feels uncertain, I know how normal it is to let fear get the best of us. We've all struggled to love the unlovable and forgive the unforgivable, especially when they've been the cause of our pain. And we all have a rebellious streak (or four) that often entices us to ignore truth and respond the way that feels good in the moment. It's "normal." But friend, we weren't called to be normal.
Let's unpack the tendency we have to respond in "common" ways even further. Think back to a time or two when you should have persevered but instead gave up on something or someone because it just took too much effort. Do you remember having the perfect opportunity to share your faith, but you let it pass because you were worried what others might think of you? And who hasn't felt like their prayers hit the ceiling, so they just gave up asking? Too often, we decide waiting for God to intervene isn't working — we worry He is going to be late — so we try to fix it ourselves instead. And in the hustle and bustle of life, I bet we've all put God at the very end (or close enough) on our to-do list. Common, right?
Maybe you have a friend who is a cup-half-empty woman, so you avoid her calls rather than encouraging her to see life differently. Maybe they don't include you in the group, so you gossip behind their backs to help justify those feelings of rejection. Maybe your husband asks for forgiveness, but you're slow to give it because you enjoy the power. Or maybe you have the chance to give someone grace, but instead you allow your sense of justice to take over. Typical responses, yes?
Maybe your kids act out at school and you overpunish because you're worried their actions will make you look like a bad mom. Or when another kid is mean to your child at school, you heap blame on his or her mom and decide your own parenting skills are superior. When people cut you off on the freeway, you scream at them because they were wrong. And when life gets hard, you step into the victim role and milk the attention for all it's worth. Aren't those normal and justified?
The truth is that it's easy to yell in anger and gossip in our hurt. It's easy to give the silent treatment when someone makes us mad. It's easy to quit when it gets hard. It's easy to have a crisis of faith when God doesn't answer prayers the way we want them answered. It's easy to make quick decisions without seeking His will. It's easy to dislike others, especially when they stand for something different. And sister, this list isn't even exhaustive.
I'm guessing you found yourself somewhere in those last few paragraphs. Sweet mother, I know I did. Having these common responses to life is something that unites us, because we all have them — every single one of us. I'm not saying it's a good thing. I'm just saying it's a normal thing. Can you see how easy it is to live the common life? It has become our default button, and here's why ... Most of us were taught to go with the flow ... follow the crowd ... fit in at all costs ... avoid the spotlight. We were told to be normal — whatever that meant. We were taught to blend in so we would avoid standing out. We probably watched our parents try to live this way and took our cue from them. And so we grew up doing the same thing everyone else was doing, because we learned the hard way that being different — being uncommon — was unacceptable.
Most of us weren't encouraged to be special or to stand out. And if we were, it was only to an acceptable or appropriate level. Few of us felt comfortable rocking the boat too much because we might get noticed for the wrong things. We weren't encouraged to take risks and try new, inventive ways of doing things. Instead, we learned to follow the leader and stick to the unwritten rules within our families and even in our culture. We didn't want to do anything that might bring criticism, judgment, or negative labels our way, so we opted for the status quo. And if we did choose to be different or step out in another direction, it was probably because everyone else was doing it, too. No wonder we are where we are today.
If you journeyed through my last book Untangled: Let God Loosen the Knots of Insecurity in Your Life, my hope is God uncovered places where you didn't (or don't) feel special. I pray He revealed and healed I'm-not-good-enough lies that knotted up your confidence as a woman, a wife, a mom, a friend, and a daughter. These lies have the power to make us feel ordinary because they trigger feelings of inferiority and insignificance, so we fly under the radar, hoping to be unnoticed. And through the pages of Untangled, we learned prayer and scripture are fail-safes to keep us from falling into the pit of common living. Even if you didn't read Untangled, God's willingness to free you is just as real.
When we invite Him into our broken places, we experience freedom. The chains that have held us hostage fall away. They are lying at our feet. And when we choose to walk away from them in our God-given freedom — freedom to believe we're good, lovable, and worthy, freedom from worrying if we have what it takes to be the woman God created us to be, freedom from being consumed by what others think of us, freedom from trying to fit into the world's ways — we can live uncommon. God is the key.
Take a moment right now and close your eyes. Can you bring a visual of that beautiful image to mind? Now spread your arms wide, take a deep breath, and feel the freedom. See yourself taking a step away from what has tangled you for so long. The chains can't hold you anymore. Can you see it? You are no longer a prisoner to common ways of living. Your insecurities can't keep you afraid of standing out. Friend, it's uncommon and it's the way God created you to live.
Freedom is so powerful. And sometimes when it's new, it feels foreign. Unfamiliar. You wonder, What now? And it's in that unfamiliarity that we often reach down, pick up those entanglers, and try to wear them again. They have been your identity for so long. For many of us, they're all we've known, and we fear changing what's always been. We begin to crave the common life because we know how to navigate it.
When Moses led the Israelites out of their four hundred years of slavery in Egypt and into the desert, these men, women, and children tasted glorious freedom — freedom they had been crying out to God for daily. In the wilderness, gone were the days of abuse and oppression and they instead traveled with visual reminders that God was with them. But less than three months after their miraculous exodus, they wanted Egypt again. It was familiar and predictable. And they romanticized their bondage, forgetting the hopeless conditions that smothered them.
"It would have been better if we had died by the hand of the Eternal in Egypt. At least we had plenty to eat and drink, for our pots were stuffed with meat and we had as much bread as we wanted. But now you have brought the entire community out to the desert to starve us to death" (Exodus 16:3 VOICE). Every time I begin to feel disgusted by their lapse in judgment, I'm reminded of my own. I understand their argument for the familiar.
But friend, you cannot live extraordinary when you live in the bondage of ordinary. You weren't just created to survive. You were created to thrive.
Countless times, I've seen women opt for bondage rather than embrace the freedom God had delivered them into. I've actually been one of them — more than once. But how can we continue to justify that kind of living when we collide with Galatians 5:1? "Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you" (MSG). We can't justify it at all because freedom and bondage cannot coexist. Neither can uncommon and common. We have to choose which life we want. So let's choose right now.
Remember the picture in your mind's eye of standing in freedom with the tangling chains and ropes now lying at your feet? Rather than choosing to be tied to an ordinary life again, why not accept freedom and walk into a different way of living?
Excerpted from Uncommon by Carey Scott. Copyright © 2017 Carey Scott. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsChapter 1: The Common Life,
Chapter 2: The Reason We Can Be Uncommon,
Chapter 3: Uncommon Courage,
Chapter 4: Uncommon Evangelism,
Chapter 5: Uncommon Faith,
Chapter 6: Uncommon Forgiveness,
Chapter 7: Uncommon Generosity,
Chapter 8: Uncommon Gratitude,
Chapter 9: Uncommon Hunger for God,
Chapter 10: Uncommon Kindness,
Chapter 11: Uncommon Leadership,
Chapter 12: Uncommon Inheritance,
Chapter 13: Uncommon Love,
Chapter 14: Uncommon Obedience,
Chapter 15: Uncommon Perseverance,
Chapter 16: Uncommon Prayer,
Chapter 17: Uncommon Morality,
Chapter 18: Uncommon Wisdom,
Chapter 19: Why the World Needs You to Be,