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The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery by [David G. Benner, M. Basil Pennington]
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The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 336 ratings

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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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"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)

"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)

"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, OFM, Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico)

"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, senior pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, Menlo Park, California)

"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, director, Martin Family Institute and Dallas Willard Center for Spiritual Formation, Westmont College, author of Apprenticeship with Jesus)

"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)

"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)

"As a teacher of spiritual directors, I require my students to read The Gift of Being Yourself first. Understanding the false self and receiving the true self is essential for knowing God and one's truest desire, and it's a prerequisite for discerning this story in the lives of others. This new edition encourages readers to stop and consider the implications for themselves through questions and through examples from Benner's own life and the experiences of others. This calls for a careful consideration of Benner's premise as a lived reality, and not just as theory or ideas. I will highly recommend this edition for students of spiritual direction and formation." (Helen Cepero, spiritual director, author of Christ-Shaped Character and Journaling as a Spiritual Practice)

"A small, engaging book on knowing God and knowing self. The Gift of Being Yourself gets beneath the crust of ego and past persona and behind image to the truth of you. Here is a pathway to discover and receive the beloved unrepeatable self that God designed you to be." (Adele Calhoun, author of Spiritual Disciplines Handbook)

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
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Reviewed in the United States on March 27, 2018
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Top international reviews

MRS S. L. LABIB
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 21, 2019
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Miss Elisabeth Threadgold
5.0 out of 5 stars A great resource to getting to know Christ and self better
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 14, 2017
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Dolphin
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 12, 2019
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Nikolita
5.0 out of 5 stars A great great book!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 30, 2012
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Sazza
5.0 out of 5 stars This will chanage your life
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 15, 2018
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prm
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss it
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 13, 2013
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Paul
5.0 out of 5 stars Very insightful - a perfect blend of modern psychological understanding and Christian spirituality
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 25, 2013
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5.0 out of 5 stars Get transformed
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 5, 2015
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B. Babatunde
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 27, 2013
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sarahgreen
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 8, 2018
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Julie Beeching
5.0 out of 5 stars Favourite book right now!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 27, 2016
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 12, 2016
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Julia
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
Reviewed in Canada on December 19, 2019
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George Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
Reviewed in Canada on November 26, 2012
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Mish
2.0 out of 5 stars Old School
Reviewed in Australia on May 6, 2020
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