Item description for The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery by David G. Benner & M. Basil Pennington...
Overview In this profound exploration of Christian identity, psychologist and spiritual director David G. Benner illuminates the spirituality of self-discovery. He exposes the false selves that you may hide behind and calls you to discover the true self that emerges from your uniqueness in Christ. Freeing you from illusions about yourself, Benner shows that self-understanding leads to the fulfillment of your God-given destiny and vocation.
"Christian spirituality," writes Benner, "involves a transformation of the self that occurs only when God and self are both deeply known." The self is not God, but it is the place where you meet God. Genuine self-knowledge revitalizes your spiritual life and opens the door to becoming who God has created you to be.
Rest assured, you need not try to be someone you are not.
But you will deepen your experience of God through discovering the gift of being yourself.
Publishers Description Recipient of the Award of Merit in the Personal Growth/Individual Category of The Word Guild 2005 Canadian Christian Writing Awards "Grant, Lord, that I may know myself that I may know thee." Augustine Much is said in Christian circles about knowing God. But Christians throughout the ages have agreed that there cannot be deep knowledge of God without deep knowledge of the self. Discerning your true self is inextricably related to discerning God's purposes for you. Paradoxically, the more you become like Christ, the more you become authentically yourself. In this profound exploration of Christian identity, psychologist and spiritual director David G. Benner illuminates the spirituality of self-discovery. He exposes the false selves that you may hide behind and calls you to discover the true self that emerges from your uniqueness in Christ. Freeing you from illusions about yourself, Benner shows that self-understanding leads to the fulfillment of your God-given destiny and vocation. "Christian spirituality," writes Benner, "involves a transformation of the self that occurs only when God and self are both deeply known." The self is not God, but it is the place where you meet God. Genuine self-knowledge revitalizes your spiritual life and opens the door to becoming who God has created you to be. Rest assured, you need not try to be someone you are not. But you will deepen your experience of God through discovering the gift of being yourself.
From Publishers Weekly In contrast to other books filled with drive-through pop psychology and
sound-bite spirituality, Benner, a psychologist and spiritual director, offers
an impressively deep and challenging introduction to Christian self-discovery
in a little more than 100 pages. The foundational premise is that true
knowledge of God and true knowledge of oneself are inextricably intertwined.
For those who view such an approach as simply an accommodation to our
culture's obsession with self, Benner provides a multitude of quotes from
historic, respected theologians such as Augustine and John Calvin. He offers a
clear and practical outline for those seeking to begin the lifelong process
of knowing God and knowing themselves in an authentic way. As a gift to
Christian counselors everywhere, Benner explains the difference between
authentic self-discovery and most psychological approaches. Without mentioning
names, he uses the stories of "fallen" Christian leaders to illustrate how
some Christians' well-intentioned avoidance of self-discovery can become a
deadly snare. His discussion of accepting our flaws and sins as a necessary
step to transformation is a model of lucidity. Although self-knowledge is the
subject, it becomes clear that transformation is the ultimate goal both of
this book and of the journey it invites readers to begin. (Mar.) Copyright
2004 Reed Business Information.
Citations And Professional Reviews The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery by David G. Benner & M. Basil Pennington has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Publishers Weekly - 01/26/2004 page 248
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Studio: InterVarsity Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 8" Weight: 0.35 lbs.
Release Date Mar 6, 2004
Publisher IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN 0830832459 ISBN13 9780830832453
Availability 0 units.
More About David G. Benner & M. Basil Pennington
David G. Benner is professor of psychology at Redeemer College (Ontario) and a practicing clinical psychologist. He is the author or editor of fifteen books, including the Baker Encyclopedia of Psychology and Counseling Dr. Benner is also the founding director of the Institute for Psychospiritual Health, an international network of scholars and practitioners.
David G. Benner currently resides in Atlanta, in the state of Georgia.
Reviews - What do customers think about Gift Of Being Yourself?
Unveiling your true self Jan 16, 2007
An awesome, powerful and eye opening walk to discovering your identity in God through Jesus Christ and the purpose for which your were created.
Insightful and Helpful Guide to a Journey of Biblical Self-Discovery Dec 29, 2006
"The Gift of Being Yourself" is an exceptional investigation of the subject of self-identity. The author, David Benner, is able to masterfully bridge the Biblical paradox of death-to-self and self-discovery. He writes, "For if we find our true self we find God, and if we find God, we find our most authentic self." We don't find our true self by seeking self-identity but by seeking God.
Benner sees our identity not as a creation but as a discovery and as a gift from God. By discovering and living our uniqueness, we fulfill our destiny. The purpose of the book is to assist people in the transformational journey of becoming their true self in Christ and living out the vocation that this involves. To do so we must know ourselves as known by God. In knowing ourselves and knowing God we can experience the gift of being ourselves.
The author contends that through self-deception, we tend to confuse our true self with some ideal self we wish we were. We adopt mask that portray us differently than who we authentically are. Self-discovery is not to escape reality but to commit to it. We must decide to accept what is really there and accept ourselves as we are and accept God as He is, not how we would want each to be. Spiritual transformation does not result from fixing our problems. Our sin nature is not self-fixable. Instead, spiritual transformation results from turning to God in the midst of our problems and meeting God just as we are.
It starts by coming to know God. If we come to know God, we come to know love, and to love God is to know God. It's not simply knowing about God, but it is personally meeting God in Jesus. To do so Benner recommends Spirit-guided meditation of the Gospels and meeting God in the events of life through prayerfully reviewing each day. Benner puts a high value on solitude throughout the process of self-discovery. He gives instruction and insights into carrying out these disciplines.
All of us tend to reject our true self that is created in the likeness of God. Instead we chose a way independent of God that is our false self. This false-self is created out of placing my value in what I have, what I do and what people think of me, rather than in God's loving acceptance of me. If we do not want to live in bondage to our false-self we must be prepared to be other than our image of our self. We must allow God to embrace us just the way we really are.
Coming to know and trust God's love is a lifelong process. It begins by letting God know our desire to experience His perfect love. We must allow God to accept us just as we are and enable us to accept ourselves. In doing this we dare to allow God access to the dark parts of our soul. Self-acceptance always precedes genuine self-surrender and self-transformation.
Following a discovery of our authentic self, Benner then moves into a discovery of our vocation. Our vocation is always a response to a Divine call to take our place in the Kingdom of God. It always involves the care of God's creation and people, moving us to humility, love, self-sacrifice and stewardship. From Luke 4 Benner wonderfully explains that Jesus' understanding of vocation came out of wrestling with God, himself and the devil in the solitude of the wilderness.
"The Gift of Being Yourself" is a thoughtful, practical, and easy read. It is not the definitive textbook for self-discovery nor does it fully answer all of the questions. Yet, the small investment of time you spend reading the book may provide just what you've needed to begin the journey of self-discovery through an encounter with God.
This book speaks to the heart Dec 26, 2006
On its own, discovering ourself could be quite dangerous. David Benner puts the importance of knowing one's self in proper perspective. It's not "who I am," but "who I am in Christ." Who I am in Christ is a beloved creation of God, fraught with sinfulness but loved nevertheless. Knowing this is the starting point for allowing God, trusting God to have his will in my life. It is at the same time reassuring and humbling. It does not go against the teachings of Christ and Paul when they said we must deny ourselves, and be crucified with Christ. If I don't accept who I am in Christ, how can I possibly deny myself?
Christ-Esteem Sep 19, 2005
Benner tackles a topic fraught with heated debate from all sides. Secularist would tell us that there is no "sacred call" to self-discovery, it is simply a normal, human need. Some Christians would tell us that there is nothing "sacred" about self-discovery, it is an abnormal part of our fallen self-centered nature.
Wisely, Benner traces the history of self-understanding through the writings of giants in the faith like Augustine and Calvin. These two historical theologians, along with many others, understood what we have forgotten. Created in the image of God, as we understand ourselves "Coram Deo" (in the presence of God, from God's perspective), God enlightens us to understand something more of Who He is. In other words, knowledge of God and of self, are intricately interwoven.
Rather than a journey of self-esteem or self-discovery, the Bible invites us on a journey of Christ-esteem where we discover who we are in Christ and to Christ. In Christ, we are saints. To Christ we are adult sons and daughters.
The journey, taken biblically, brings the focus back to God and others. As Luther taught, when righted with God, we are returned to our natural stance of arms lifted up to God in worship and arms stretched out to others in fellowship and stewardship.
Benner first walks his readers through the journey toward knowing God. This foundation begun (for it never ends), he then shows how to mortify (put off) the old false self in the flesh and how to vivify (put on) the new true self in Christ. He rightly calls the process a "transformational" journey.
Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of "Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction", "Soul Physicians," and "Spiritual Friends."
good writing, great message. Dec 12, 2004
yes, the message of the book is one no christian today can dismiss (even if they think psychology WON'T explain away everything): the real problems we humans deal go very very deep. thus, david g. benner's book (one that echoes "Abba's Child" by Brennan Manning) is one that essentially, is a spiritual exploration into the very essence of every human being. while most books in the christian retail world deal with how to help you "fix" or "deny" or "abandon" or "QUIT!" sinning, benner's book realizes that this is not essentially the "core" matter of the "problem" we all seem to face. these are symptoms of a much deeper problem and as one reads along with benner, one realizes that he is on to something saints like thomas merton and teresa de avila explored exhaustively.the reason i'm not giving this book more stars is not b/c of the message...for it is truly one EVERY person needs to hear. but it is b/c of the writing (who am I to judge, right?) and the end-of-the-chapter "try this experience out" thing that seems to marginalize and discourage creativity, in a book that seems to so be preaching in the opposite direction. if we're trying to run away from talking in christianese, and resist speaking in words and phrases that really don't MEAN anything to us, then why must the author include these end-of-the-chapter "sit silence for five minutes and do this..."??? i'm not harping on his instructions, for many of them are good and worthy and very valuable things to do. i'm only wishing he would've backed off a bit. he's possibly trying to write to a broader audience and this, perhaps, helps the baby boomer generation out a bit, but for someone who's 22 and constantly trying to experience God and know God and make this knowledge personal, real, authentic, life-changing and transformative (through and by the work of the Holy Spirit) and just still wrap my head around the idea that being is better than doing, and knowing i'm no longer a sinner but a saint, this little bit slightly bends some of the book's total punch for me.however, all things considering, it's one i'm recommending nonetheless. you can read it in an afternoon, so get it and see for yourself.