“You were the first person who believed I could write a book.”
A few weeks ago I tucked these words into a handwritten note to an old mentor. Next to me sat a stack of notes I would mail out to friends, peers, and fellow runners in the faith, along with a copy of my book. I was writing each one a personal thank you for their support, but this note felt like a milestone of sorts.
Thirteen years earlier, I was working for Proverbs 31 Ministries as an intern. I was fresh out of college, learning the ropes of ministry, and discerning my own sense of call. Back then, Proverbs 31 was a much smaller ministry–only about 5 of us worked in the office at the time–so I handled all manner of tasks. I did everything from taking phone calls, to making copies, to writing scripts for the radio show.
It would be hard to catalogue all that I learned during my time there, but one of the most important legacies of that season, was that I awakened to the direction of my calling. During that time, the president, Lysa, pushed me to write, and she even had me pitch a book proposal. Nothing came of it then, but she knew I had it in me and she planted the seed.
I thought back on all of that as I wrote to her. Finally, it is happening.
Of course, a lot has happened in that stretch of 13 years. Ever since I realized I wanted to write, I have pursued it doggedly, and there have been chapters of joy, and chapters of self-doubt. But all along, this has been my prayer:
Lord, I don’t want to write a book just because I can, or because I have the opportunity. I only want to write a book because you have given me a message to tell.
I prayed that prayer a lot, for a long time. I waited, and I didn’t always wait well. I complained. I agonized. I despaired. It all sounds pretty dramatic in hindsight, but if you have ever been there–or if you are there NOW–you get it. That journey between the call, and stepping into the fullness of the call, can be painful and slow. A lot of dying to self happens in that space.
But God was faithful, and one day I realized He had given me the message. And I can’t wait to share it with you.
Why this matters to me
Every time someone asks me what my book is about, I somehow end up preaching. Not in a scary, judgy way, but with passion bubbling over. I believe in the message of this book, because I have lived it. This message actually changed my life, which is why I am so eager to share it.
But there is a second reason for my urgency. This book addresses a gap in Christian teaching, especially Christian teaching for women. As much as I appreciate messages about our value and our worth, and as much as I affirm the power of God’s love and redemption in our lives, we run a huge risk when we reduce the gospel to these things. When the majority of our messages are about us, then we imply that Jesus came and died to help us like ourselves.
And friends, this is too small a thing.
This human-centered gospel is too small a thing for the Creator of the Universe. It is too small a thing for His church. And it is too small a thing for our souls. We were created for more, and our souls will cry out for that larger vision so long as we keep peddling these half-hearted gospels. Deep down, we know that we are not the center of the story, and that a human-centered gospel cannot give us the freedom we crave. Deep down, we know this.
And so I’m naming it. Loud and clear. This needs to change.
That’s why I wrote this book, and I hope it takes hold of you the way it took hold of me. I have spent the last year asking the Holy Spirit to go before my words and prepare the hearts of everyone who reads it, because a much bigger story awaits anyone who wrenched their eyes off of self, and fix them on the Almighty God. It’s time to raise our gaze, and be who we are called to be.
To pre-order your copy, and access bonuses like the Free of Me Study Guide, just visit FreeofMeBook.com!
Amen! Great message. After all, it’s only by beholding HIM that we even begin to *like* ourselves. We were/ are created in His image, so how else can we see ourselves except we first and foremost see HIM?
You are so inspiring Sharon! I so thank God for allowing me to come across your page.
I’m thankful for your genuine spirit. I’m thankful for a women who is not afraid to speak TRUTH in todays society. I entered your book giveaway and am hoping to win, but even if I don’t. I plan on buying your book!
I read the sample of the first chapter. I just have to tell you it was a very heart convicting, and a real look into an issue I have and wasn’t even aware of.
Just within that first chapter I can truly feel the Holy Spirit is in your book. I’m hoping to start a study with your book with my sisters and mom.
I’m thankful that God is using you to spread His truth to us. Thank you for staying faithful to Him and walking with Him throughout your life.
Praying for you, your family and your ministry.
Can’t wait to get a copy of your book in my Hands! 🙂
Thanks for sharing a piece of your journey to writing, Sharon. I appreciate that. Also, can’t wait to read this piece! ~ Tess
Thank you for sharing Sharon. I really needed to read this right now. I have been trying to work on a book and on some days, I feel so overwhelmed that I start to cry. I will keep asking the Holy Spirit to help and learn trust His leading. God bless you. I feel inspired to read the book already.