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The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery Paperback – February 6, 2004


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The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery + Surrender to Love: Discovering the Heart of Christian Spirituality + Desiring God's Will: Aligning Our Hearts with the Heart of God
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 114 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (February 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830832459
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830832453
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.
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Review

"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. . . . 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. . . . 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." (Publishers Weekly (starred review), January 26, 2004)

"Wise, compassionate and accessible, David Benner's The Gift of Being Yourself is truly a gift to the dedicated seeker. The author draws on his professional experience as a psychologist and his own lifelong vocation as a Christian. The result is a book that felicitously weaves together the insights of psychology and Christian spirituality." (Margaret Guenther, author of Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction)

"David Benner's The Gift of Being Yourself is the best treatment of the journey to becoming one's true self that I have ever read. I began reading the book as a favor to David; I finished it in one four-hour sitting as a favor to me. Drawing from his wisdom as a psychotherapist and spiritual director, insights from Scripture, and his own self and God discoveries, David gently describes the great disparity between the false self that most of us have become and the self-in-Christ that we are intended to be. I have never been so challenged and warmly inspired to receive the gift of being my true self." (Gary W. Moon, Vice President for Spiritual Development and Professor, Psychological Studies Institute)

"David Benner is a keen student of both God and human personhood. It is a rare kind of book that combines wisdom about faith and understanding about the self. This is that kind of book." (John Ortberg, author and teaching pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, Menlo Park, California)

"Slowly we are unpacking the full implications of incarnation. David Benner does exactly the same in this excellent book, using good theology, psychology and spiritual practice to make the profound obvious. This is the work of all good teachers." (Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico)

"As he has done many times before, David Benner guides us to a place of wisdom and devotion with this beautiful book. With empathy and insight he demonstrates that the two great tasks of life--knowing God and knowing ourselves--converge into a single adventure as we are drawn into the arms of our loving God." (Mark R. McMinn, Rech Professor of Psychology, Wheaton College, and author of Why Sin Matters)

"Rarely do I suggest a book in spiritual direction with the exception of the sacred Scriptures. However, The Gift of Being Yourself I would offer to directees with enthusiasm. David Benner has shown us where life experience, personal insight and prayer meet: in God. I highly recommend it, especially for people beginning in spiritual direction." (David I. Donovan, S.J., Provincial Assistant for Formation, New England Province of the Society of Jesus)

More About the Author

Dr. David G. Benner is an internationally known depth psychologist, author, lecturer and cartographer of the human spirit and soul. The underlying passion of his life has been the understanding and pursuit of transformation - not merely healing or even growth, but the unfolding of the self associated with a journey of awakening. This has been the focus of his more than three decades of work in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and his more recent work as a transformational architect and coach. He can be found online through his website at http://www.drdavidgbenner.ca/ or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DrDavidGBenner or Twitter @drdavidgbenner.

Customer Reviews

I will never go back to those masks, now that I know who I am!
Pat Broeschen
Who I am in Christ is a beloved creation of God, fraught with sinfulness but loved nevertheless.
Dianne
Very insightful and helpful to me being at this phase of life in my journey.
Reed Hermstad

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
Perhaps the best book on Christian Identity I've read and the best book I've read this year. Benner drives home the profound yet paradoxically simple nature of our relationship to self and others through our relationship with the Divine. In "The Gift of Being Yourself" Benner outlines practical ways to improve your relationship with the Divine and through relationship with the Divine begin to understand our true self and calling. I read this after reading Benner's "Surrender to Love." The two go hand-in-hand, but I recommend reading "The Gift of Being Yourself" before reading "Surrender to Love" (just my opinion).
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Todd Hudnall on December 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
"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.
Read more ›
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dianne on December 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
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?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. McCracken-Bennett on November 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
A copy of this book literally fell of a library shelf a year or so ago and ever since then I've been such a fan that I've recommended it to nearly everyone I know. We are currently using the book in an adult study to rave reviews. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to go deeper, not in their knowledge ABOUT God, but in their KNOWING of God.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By jay owens on January 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
An awesome, powerful and eye opening walk to discovering your identity in God through Jesus Christ and the purpose for which your were created.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Pat Broeschen on July 13, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is an elite inner circle of 5 or 6 books which have changed the course of my life; this is among them. This book contains insights heretical to conformed Christian thinking. This is not a book about learning how to be good enough, how to fix yourself, or how to find acceptance in exclusive circles...no, this is a book about discovering your deep belovedness as you are, and how to come to terms with God's unconditional love and wisdom in designing you and embracing you for His own intimate purposes. This is a book about transformation, not conformity. This is a book that will bow your head low before His presence, and lift your head high in your rightful place among men. What a place the Christian community would be if we truly allowed Him to genuinely transform us, instead of wearing the obligatory masks of conformed thinking and behaviors in wasteful grasps for acceptance and approval. I will never go back to those masks, now that I know who I am!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Dale Labrum on May 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
While this book is relatively thin, don't let the size deceive you! You will want to read this one several times (with a journal in hand). Written by a Christian psychologist it goes deeper than the first glance. Highly recommended especially for anyone who is struggling with their identity in Christ or more importantly, anyone who thinks they've already got that "wired."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richard W. Reaves on June 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
I found Benner to be a man of spiritual depth who has walked with God long enough to grasp more deeply than most the level of acceptance and grace He offers.

It's an easy read but full of challenging thoughts and personal exercises to deepen one's own experience of God's unchanging grace.
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