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Own Your Life Book Study: Chapter One

We are continuing our study together of Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson.

Each person will have a different experience reading this book, so please know that these are just my thoughts about how the Lord is speaking to me at this point in my own life.

Chapter 1: Seeing Beauty and Purpose in Your Ordinary Days – Owning the Hero Who Lives inside You

This chapter unfolds beautifully and awakens the dream of living a life of significance.

In Chapter 1, Sally Clarkson sets the stage of creating a life that matters and Owning the Hero Who Lives inside You by sharing stories of her childhood in which she was the heroine in her own tales.  She twirled, danced, and dreamed of becoming the Miss America she watched on television.  She read stories of great ladies who answered the call and did heroic acts like Florence Nightingale and lasting work like Madame Curie.

As little girls, we play dress up and dream.

As little girls, we play dress up and dream.

Most of us would admit we spent more time daydreaming of the life we would someday have than we do of cultivating the life we actually live.  Somehow life happened and got in the way of our vision.  Dreams got exchanged for reality and we woke up one day and realize we are quite a distance from the vision our hearts held for a life of beauty, inspiration and satisfaction.

Highlights from Chapter 1:

From her earliest childhood memories, Sally says:

“Even as a little girl posing as a beauty queen, I knew in my heart I was born to become someone significant.”

There is a sweet exchange between she and her son where he says, Mama, you know what? I think Superman was just like Jesus.  He came from a far-off place to save his world.  I think I am going to be Superman when I grow up because I am going to do something to save my world.”

Sally declares, “I believe there is a heroine in each of our hearts waiting to come out.  Yet somewhere along the pathway of our lives, we lose our innocence, forget our dreams, and succumb to a life filled with monotony and responsibility.”

She shares of a time when her children were small, they were living with her mother-in-law, finances were tight and life was overwhelming.  On a particular day, she found herself sitting on the floor in front of a couch hoping her children wouldn’t find her as they ran by.  She says “I was Eyeore living under clouds of ‘Woe is me.’”

She was hiding from life and the dailies.  Sometimes just the sheer routine of life can weigh on our spirit.

Sally recalls, “In that moment, my life was a pile of puzzle pieces, all mixed up with no seeming pattern or logical way to fit them together.  And a heroine was not to be found in the picture.”

Then right there in the midst of her pity party, there was a come to Jesus meeting.  Isn’t God like that?  He just meets us wherever we are.  No pretense, no hiding the truth of our feelings from Him.  And only when we are honest with God about our situation can true healing begin to take place.  Yet, that is where many of us struggle…in being honest with the God that knows the truth about us.

So, from the pity party and honesty session with God, healing came.  Sally began to realize that from this very place of what she viewed as adversity, would come a heart for others and a dream for how her life could inspire others to reach above their circumstances and create a beautiful story.

In reflecting on her 60 years (so far) of Walking with God, Sally asks herself a question: “Have I written a story of faith and faithfulness that will speak inspiration to generations to come?”

One thing I have come to realize from Sally’s teaching is that greatness happens in the routine, mundane, small moments of the everyday.  While here on earth, Jesus didn’t minister, on a huge platform, to the entire world.   He touched those who brushed up against His life on a daily basis.  He poured into a few and they poured into a few and on and on until the world was turned upside down for Christ.

“Even Jesus lived in a tiny town, never venturing more than fifty miles from His home during His ministry. Though He did not work with great world leaders and was obscure in His commonness, Christ’s love and service literally changed the history of the world.”

The last couple pages of this chapter are rich with the importance and challenge of maintaining a daily walk with God.  To maintain integrity and live a life of service to others, we have to be filled with His love.

Sally says, “Once I understood that my integrity was built when no one else but God was looking, I was motivated to remain faithful in moments alone with Him and my Bible.

“I discovered that heroes are made during the secret moments.”

I love this video clip of Sally explaining how we each have a cup.

She leaves us with this: “Each of us has a different life puzzle to assemble.  The choices you make in the midst of your life journey do have eternal consequences.  No matter what your limitations are – your life is meant to be filled to the brim with the potential of God’s blessing.  If you embrace your unique puzzle of life, you will find wholeness.”

“Your story lived faithfully will become your glory – the place where He builds messages, provides answers to prayers, and teaches wisdom.”

Personal Take-Aways and Challenges:

It’s time to own our lives and commit to living each day on purpose and being intentional about our dreams and goals.  Whether that is in the way we display beauty in our homes, create memories for those we love and serve, inspire those around us to embrace life, or enjoy a deeper walk with the Lord.  It is up to us to create and nurture the life we want and to do all we can to stop negativity and burdens from interrupting the story we are writing with our lives.

God’s puzzle and design for our lives is a beautiful masterpiece.  A life lived, by His ways and in His will, is a beautiful story and a gift to leave to those who come behind us.

A few questions I am pondering in my heart from this chapter: Am I the living out the role God designed for me and embracing my own puzzle?  How am I ministering to those who brush up against me each day?  What is the story my life is writing?

How are you owning your life?  Are you the heroine in your great story or are you living the script written for someone else?

Renee Parris

Here is the link to order this inspiring book:


About Renee Parris

I write to share the message of grace God has so generously splattered on the pages of my life. My heart beats strongly with love for my husband, children, and those God has placed in my path. I adore the world God has created for us to explore. My heart beats to share, through written words and pictures, my love for nature and the people I meet on this beautiful journey called life.

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