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Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, The Path to True Christian Joy – book review

Posted on: by Kate
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Today my long time friend Kristin is sharing on the blog.  I have asked her to share with us for years now.  Kristin is humble and sweet and smart and as inspirational as they come.  I have wanted her to share a peek into what she is thinking for a long time.  Kristin a the wife and mother of two boys with Autism.  She was born and raised in Southern California but recently moved to Eastern Europe to work alongside her husband with Josiah Venture. She asked if she could share a book review that has encouraged her and I was like ‘YES!’ Today she is sharing about a quick read Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, The Path to True Christian Joy – and here she is in her own words.


Forget me!

I am just going to start out with saying that if I have the time and the focus to read a book, aside from the Bible, I am much more likely to read brain candy than anything of actual intellectual or spiritual value. With that said, I just read a GREAT book with some intellectual, but mostly spiritual value.


Why did I even pick it up? My husband ordered it so it was on his list of things to read, not mine (I don’t know why but it just seemed less pressure to finish the book if I decided that I was not into it) and it’s small (45 and a half pages). It was also authored by a very wise, influential, and great communicator. These were all good reasons to give it a try.


It’s called the Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, The Path to True Christian Joy and it’s by Dr. Timothy Keller. It was the first of his books that I have ever read. I was pretty sure that I would get sucked in and learn something remarkable. I was not disappointed.


I love Tim’s style of speaking and writing. Although this is his first book that I have read, I have listened to and benefited from his sermons. He treats people with respect and kindness in his teaching, whether he agrees with them or not. I feel like I do not have to take a side when I learn from him. He does not share his opinions often and/or strongly. He just compares things to what the bible says. His approach is just so clean. I just do not know what else to call it.


This book was such a fast read. I think that I read it in under an hour on a train with both kids (6 and 8 years old) and my husband (age: hotness) surrounding me. Did I mention that I am highly distractible?


I would say that my biggest take home messages were…


  • That we as people focus too much on me, me, me. Whether we are good enough, not good enough, or in the middle. It’s still all about me.
  • Always trying to portray ourselves to others a certain way often will just leave us bone dry and exhausted.
  • He uses Paul’s example in the bible of truly being humble in the Lord’s kind of humble. It left him totally free from the strain of “me.”
  • Learning to not think less of ourselves or more of ourselves than what is true…just simply thinking of ourselves less.
  • I LOVE that he points out that Jesus has paid for everything for those that have taken his free gift of salvation so when we feel judged or judge ourselves, he already paid the cost in that courtroom. We don’t even have to show up to court. What?


This book was significant for me because of my current life situation. My husband, 2 sons, and I live in the Czech Republic. We work for an organization called Josiah Venture and help churches in post-communist Europe do Evangelistic sports leagues, camps, and outings.


Three years ago, we started to learn about Autism Spectrum disorders when we found out that our youngest son has autism and then a year later, found out that our oldest son is on the spectrum too. Sometimes I feel like living cross-culturally with special needs kid is like handing someone an ice pick and asking them to hammer it in to your eye socket, other times, it is the biggest blessing EVER. How in the world could that happen? Because I feel like my family lives what Tim talks about in his book. Some days when I am “me” focused, I just want to crawl in a hole and sleep for a month, but as soon as the Lord lifts my eyes up to focus on him, I cannot help but smile, feel joy…feel complete. Nothing can get us down. The world cannot penetrate us. The problem is that we are human. One or both my husband and I lose focus and it gets really hard again. The Lord is always there to pick us back up though.


We live in a culture where not many people know what autism is, much less what to do with a person acting autistic. Plus, Czech, being in post-communist Europe, puts a high value on sameness (left over from the communist way of doing things). Well, there is nothing “the same” about us. This easily turns into feelings of being judged and not adding-up to what others desire or expect of our children or ourselves. It is easy to drown in the pressure if we do not lift our eyes up and accept the Lord’s acceptance.


If you are not a book-reader, but would like a clean pick me up, I would highly recommend this book for you. It’s short, to the point, and could be a life-changer. I feel like this one could be a go-to book anytime that I am feeling blue. I am so glad that we own it. Good words of encouragement, truth and JOY.

*Thank you to Kristin for sharing!  Below I have included my Amazon (affiliate) link to Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, The Path to True Christian Joy – it is prime eligible and even available for Kindle for only two tiny dollars.  Should you buy through my link it costs you the same as if you went direct, but I make a couple pennies – any money I make from the sale of this book is donated to Josiah Adventure – the missions team Kristin and her husband are a part of and we have been supporting for years.*

Until Next Time ~ Kate
Comments: 3 Responses
  1. Jill says:

    Enjoyed hearing about Kristin and her boys and life in the CR. I read TK’s short version a few years ago and got a lot out of it, but don’t support his theology as a general rule.
    BUT I’d love to hear more from Kristin and her life over seas! Jill

    • kate says:

      Jill – thanks so much for sharing! I am hoping Kristin might share more eventually too – her family is living quite the adventure right now!

  2. Laura says:

    This post caught my attention. This brief book by Keller was in the bibliography for my own recently published book, and I interact with some of Keller’s ideas.

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