It’s no secret that I’ve been crushing on Shannan Martin’s blog for quite a long time. Sometimes I feel like she sneaks into my head and figures out how to say exactly what I’m thinking. Obviously she says it a million times better than I ever could.
Finally, she’s written her first book Falling Free (I say first because please, please say there will be more), which is out TODAY! I’ll be out of touch for a while, avoiding my laundry and hugging the actual book to my chest, reading it’s fresh pages.
Up until now I’ve had only a pdf copy of it, printed and stored in a binder, which has been more than a tad cumbersome, but perks of being on the book launch team. It’s been an honor to read this book before it’s available to the general public, though, so I wouldn’t trade the floppy binder for anything…(except maybe an actual copy of the book, but this conversation could keep going in circles, so I’m moving on).
Within the pages of her book is the story of how God shook the Martin’s foundation to the core, everything they were so strongly standing on, everything they had found comfort and security in. In what seemed like one fell swoop, God pulled the rug right out from under their feet and turned their world upside down.
They could have floundered and tried as hard as possible to put all the pieces back together–to get their lucrative jobs back, to fill their emergency fund once again, to put their feet down and bury the roots back in the ground, to stay on the beautiful farm of their dreams forever.
But against all voices of reason, all “wise” counsel, they listened to the still small voice, the Holy Spirit’s gentle yet firm push outside of their comfort zone and into the least comfortable place they had ever been.
In their obedience to God’s Word, and in their searching and digging for answers from the actual words of Jesus, they found true freedom. Not from clinging to their pre-conceived notions of what security and safety meant. But freedom to truly depend on Jesus to define their security, in the midst of a Christian culture that sometimes seems to say one thing but mean the other.
Brave is the only word I can think of right now, although it seems like a small way to explain the Martin’s story. Maybe it’s not brave at all, maybe it’s what Jesus wants our normal to be. Maybe our lives should look more like theirs, although Shannan never prescribes a formula or acts like she knows what true freedom should look like for every person.
In a beautiful, grace filled way, she shoves hard ideas around that squeezed my heart and sometimes made me want to slam the book shut, cover my eyes, plug my ears and yell “lalalalalala” like I never heard or saw any of it. It’s too hard to think about sometimes, all the ways I’ve ignored the poor and looked down upon them, even now speaking about “them” as though there is an “us vs. them” in Jesus’ eyes.
Seeing our riches and wealth and material things as “blessings” when in fact it truly may be “entitlement.”
I honestly haven’t been able to look inside my closet or walk through Target in the same way since I’ve read this book. When I pull out my credit card or hear about the price of a smart phone I’m dumbstruck, honestly not knowing what we’re supposed to do. How do we live in our middle class culture, right where we are, where God has placed us, with a heart that trusts Jesus more than our bank account and dead bolts?
In case you haven’t noticed already, this is a book recommendation. It will hit each of us in a different way, but be open to how the Lord might use Shannan’s story to convict you of something in your life that needs to be changed. I’m still working on this and wondering how or what to change, even if it’s more of a heart/mentality change. Starting there will surely lead to change in our outward lives.
I’ll leave you with a few excerpts from chapter 3, “Have Less,” which hit home far more than I’d like to admit.
“It seems impossible that God would prefer that we let go of our excess or descend from the rungs of our handcrafted success. We prefer a message of financial prosperity, imagining a God who might allow us to be the one camel who slips through the eye of the needle. Meanwhile, Jesus warns that wherever our treasure is, that’s where our heart is (Matt 6:21). In pursuit of our hearts, he reminds us that his is tethered to relationships, not things.” (p.49)
“What we called freedom was really self-proud independence in disguise. We wanted to owe nothing, depend upon no one.” (p.49)
“When the dust settled and we uncovered our eyes, it was blindingly clear: the only way to be free was to open our hands and let God decide what stayed up and what needed to fall. Our retinas burned for days.” (p.50)
If you need a push, here it is:
Comment right here on this blog with anything you’d like to say, and I’ll throw you into the random pot to receive a free copy of Falling Free. It depends on how many comments I get, but potentially there could be multiple winners.
Your chances are high to win, so leave a comment!
***Giveaway is now closed, thanks to all who participated! I’ll be notifying the lucky winners and arranging shipping!