"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.
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
Foreword by M. Basil Pennington
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: The Transformational Journey