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Book Review: the Gift of Being Yourself

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By lam523
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Book Review of:
The Gift of Being Yourself
Authored by David G. Benner

Lori Mitchell
SFR M501: SPIRITUAL FORMATION
May 6th, 2013

In the book, The Gift of Being Yourself, David Benner lays out a sound plan for spiritual formation. Benner asserts that to be acquainted with God completely, one needs to identify their true self fully as well. We cannot know God without knowing ourselves initially. After identifying this need for knowing God and self is laid out in chapter one, the manuscript is ordered around comprehensive desires confronted by Christians. The focus of chapter two is recognizing the necessity for knowing God in the depth of one’s being. This changes those that pursue it. Knowing God entails the complete surrender of self. This is a life-long process and is cultivated by an intimate relationship with God. It was suggested that the reader take time to mediate on the scriptures from the Gospels especially so one can get to “know Jesus better” (28). Then one must recognize how much God loves everyone, and by everyone that includes me. This is where I struggle a bit. I know in my head that God loves me but my abusive background skews how see myself and love. I associate being loved with doing good behavior but since I have lived with shame for so long, I find hard to just receive love for just being me. The book reminds us that, yes, we are a sinner but a “deeply loved sinner.” (48) The writer is quick to remind that NOTHING can separate us from God’s love—that includes anything that I have done or has been done to me. God’s love can break through that shame if I will surrender to God. The “self” that God loves is not the false self that one usually shows others. God loves the “real me” (45). The only frustration with this fact is that for most of my life I had to have a “false self” to survive; this false identity was not to put on...

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