The first book recommendation I have for you all is this absolute gem right here! Free of Me by Sharon Hodde Miller was a life altering read for me. This book is convicting, encouraging, eye opening, funny and beautifully written. Sharon is quickly becoming a favorite writer of mine. There have been a couple different occasions now where I have been reading devotions on the She Reads Truth website, feeling so inspired by the writing only to look and see that Sharon was the writer. I highly recommend you check out her site for more of her writing at SheWorships.com
Self-focus is crippling and sabotaging in so many facets of life. In this book, Sharon explores seven areas of life where self-focus is particularly destructive. She provides commentary on how we make God, family, appearance, possessions, friendships calling and the church about ourselves. She refers to these as the "seven mirrors". The revelations laid out are nothing short of convicting. That being said, Sharon doesn't leave you with conviction alone. She provides practical, Biblical steps we can take to live joy-filled lives free of ourselves and for God's glory.
A Favorite Excerpt:
"That's the thing about musical instruments. Left untouched, instruments drift. No matter the materials or the craftsmanship, they have to be retuned again and again.
The human soul is a lot like that. It drifts. Without deliberate retuning. it goes out of tune with the gospel. This tendency was first described by an ancient bishop named Augustine, who noticed his own soul 'drifting.' He discovered that apart from the grace of God, our souls turn inward on themselves. We become bent. Salvation unbends our souls and points us toward God and others, but left unchecked, our souls all always drift back to that inward position.
Put another way, self-focus is not a temptation of the few but a human default. Our focus is constantly pulled inward, which means we have to guard our hearts and minds. We have to tune and retune our souls to Christ, or else we'll bend right back again."
Even as I'm typing this out, I find myself wanting to re-read this book. There is just so much soul growing, real-life application goodness in there.
2 Little recommendations:
1. This could be a quick read, but I suggest taking your time. Read each chapter and allow time for reflection before diving right in to the next.
2. I recommend reading the short booklet entitled The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller. It is so, so good and provides a great little prelude/intro for what is further discussed in Free of Me.
There you have it! Now, do yourself a favor and go dive into these reads. Carve out some time in your day to slow down and read something that would produce spiritual, emotional and relational growth in your life. You won't regret it.
In view of God's mercy,