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The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call…
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The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery (original 2004; edição 2004)

por David G. Benner

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368252,906 (4.26)1
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.… (mais)
Membro:soxfaninkc
Título:The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery
Autores:David G. Benner
Informação:InterVarsity Press (2004), Paperback, 120 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
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Etiquetas:Ministry, Christian Counseling

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The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery por David G. Benner (2004)

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Much is said in Christian circles about knowing God. But there cannot be deep knowledge of God without deep knowledge of one's self. 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 we hide behind and calls us to discover the true self that emerges from our uniqueness in Christ. Genuine self-understanding revitalizes our spiritual life and leads to the fulfillment of our God-given destiny and vocation. (Publisher)
  staylorlib | May 17, 2021 |
Benner begins with a quote from Thomas Merton:
There is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace, and my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find Him.

We often hear the dictum to "know thyself" or "follow your heart," but how on earth do we turn inward and know ourselves, from a Christian perspective? This little book explains how, helping us to turn inward, evaluate our heart and emotions, and in the process find God by finding our true selves, without getting washed away by the common understanding of self.

It's divided into 6 chapters with a preface and epilogue:
Preface: Identity and Authenticity
1. Transformational Knowing of Self and God.
2. Knowing God
3. First Steps Toward Knowing Yourself
4. Knowing Yourself as You Really Are
5. Unmasking Your False Self
6. Becoming Your True Self
Epilogue: Identify and the Spiritual Journey

I recommend the expanded edition which includes an organized six-session discussion guide as well as a one-session discussion guide.

Chapter 1 establishes the importance of understanding ourselves within Christian spirituality. He writes, "Leaving the self out of Christian spirituality results in a spirituality that is not well grounded in experience. It is, therefore, not well grounded in reality."

Chapter 2 emphasizes the importance of experiencing God rather than having the right beliefs or right doctrine. It's about "wasting time" with God, learning to dwell and experience God's presence. "Transformational knowing of God comes from meeting God in our depths, not in the abstraction of dusty theological propositions." He emphasizes the spiritual disciplines of examen and gospel meditation, where you imagine being with Jesus in the gospel stories.

In chapter 3 he begins with the fundamentals of self-knowledge, namely that we are beloved. "Love is our identity and our calling, for we are children of Love. Created from love, of love and for love, our existence makes no sense apart from Divine love." Our identity is not our job or what we do. Second, we are many parts - "While we tend to think of ourselves as a single, unified self, what we call 'I' is really a family of many part-selves." We must learn to accept these parts, even the ones we are ashamed of. "Reality must be embraced before it can be changed."

Chapter 4 is about the ways we deceive ourselves. "We learn to fake it" and do what we believe others deem important. Self-deception is part of us. "Spiritual transformation involves the purification of sight.... We have to learn to see - and accept - what is really there. Stripping away our illusions is part of this process, as it reorients us toward reality." In short, we are sinners - "a deeply loved sinner." Here he briefly introduces the enneagram.

Chapter 5 is about the ways we try to create an image for others. "Initially the masks we adopt reflect how we want others to see us. Over time, however, they come to reflect how we want to see our self." He goes on later to explain: "The core of the false self is the belief that my value depends on what I have, what I can do and what others think of me."

In chapter 6 he writes, "We do not find our true self by seeking it. Rather we find it by seeking God.... The anthropological question (Who am I?) and the theological question (Who is God?) are fundamentally inseparable." He goes on to found identity in God and explore the idea of vocation and wrestling with God, self, and the devil (as Jesus did in the wilderness). It's a combination of both solitude and communal discernment at different times.

Overall, I felt Benner did a superb job of introducing the importance of self-discovery and connecting it solidly to Christian theology and practice. It seems that we in the West are going through a collective identify crisis, unable to distinguish our feelings from our identity, and he is able to ground identity in God and love, yet brokenness. For further resources, be sure to check out the footnotes section at the back.

That being said, this book is not for everyone. I used it for a high school book group, and it flopped. For them, it felt fluffy and unhelpful. "Jesus loves me... yay, pretty sure I've been singing that one for a few years now..." Richard Rohr has a helpful framework that we move from order to disorder to reorder. Young people generally are at the "ordered" stage where life and faith and God are secure and make sense. As you grow older, much of the youthful enthusiasm and convictions fade away, or are stripped from us. This feeling of disorder is often painful. To me, Benner's book is for those who've gone through the disorder and confusion and need to be put back together. Or to put it another way, if you like Thomas Merton, you'll appreciate The Gift of Being Yourself. Otherwise, you might be disappointed. :) ( )
  nrt43 | Dec 29, 2020 |
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There is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace, and my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find Him.
Thomas Merton
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To Garry Moon and Jeff and DeAnne Terrell--who brought me to Psychological Studies Institute--and all the other wonderful friends who make it such a special place to work.
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It is a profound irony to write a book promoting self-discovery to people who are seeking to follow a self-sacrificing Christ.
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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.

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