Review: The Gift of being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery – Chapter 6

Chapter 6 – Becoming Your True Self

In the section “An Identity Grounded In God”, Mr. Benner said “No one born with an identity, and Jesus was no exception” to emphasis that Jesus is a fully man (although he is fully God at the same time). Thus, Jesus has to discover who he was when he was growing up.

The Bible for Protestant does not include much detail about Jesus’s childhood, expect “a few stories of visitors during infancy and the family’s movements to and from Egypt” and “his visit to the temple at age twelve” and stayed in Jerusalem “sitting among the doctors”, listening and asking questions without follow his parents to leave for home. Mr. Benner tried guessing how Jesus had grown humanly from an infant to the age of twelve.

Mr. Benner believed that Jesus, no different from other children, was “in relation to their parents”. However, Mr. Benner believed that Mary is very prominent as she was a woman “apart from all others” by quoting Luke 1:29, 42, 38 – a most blessed woman highly favored by God being selected with “standfast confidence in trustworthiness of God’s love” and willing to humbly surrenders to God’s will. Jesus learnt by witness his earthly mother Mary and internalized all these, together with the possibility of “deep conviction that he was the “Son of the most High””, “visits of the shepherds and wise men”, “prophecies of Simeon and Anna” and his family viewing him as “the promised and long-awaited savior” to Israel.

To be honest, I am less convicted of the speculation made by Mr. Benner – if this was not something recorded in Bible, I believe there could be other sensible guesses. After all, a woman “highly favour by God” does not necessarily meant that favour comes directly from her good faith. And even she has a good faith, does it necessary means that Jesus had to learn through Mary? Apart from this, can we have better or other valid guesses? Any impact if development along this chapter was build on this?

Going back to the incident at 12, when Mary found Jesus with the doctors and she expressed her emotions.

“Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” Luke 2 v48b

Jesus replied

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Luke 2 v49-50

and Mary didn’t say a word and the bible said Joseph and Mary didn’t understand. What if she understood? My guess is that she would probably remember or understood without puzzling he was the Son of God? Probably she can relate this incident to what she had experienced. Let’s think this way, if we were Mary (no matter you are male or female, come on 🙂 ) and we experienced Luke 1:26-38 at their time, can we fully believe what we were experiencing? For me, I would probably doubt if I was in some kinds of mental disorders. As the story continues to unfold in Luke 1 v39 and beyond, Mary may get a bit more understanding, probably until Jesus was hanged on the cross, incinerated and resurrected she got the full picture what’s meant by the Son of God and the Savior.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the work and effort of Mr. Benner to integrate psychology, personal growth and Christian spirituality. The Gift of Being Yourself also gives insights and reflections along the way I read it and I would recommend it, but just that there was a few points that I have some doubts and need further research.

TheGiftofBeingYourself

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Limit & Guidance

But a lot of ways has closed behind me, and that’s had the same guiding effect… there is as much guidance in what does not and cannot happen in my life as there is in what can and does – maybe more.”

“… I was raised in a subculture that insisted I could do anything I wanted to do, be anything I wanted to be, if I were willing to make the effort.”

“My troubles began, of course, when I started to slam into my limitations, especially in the form of failure”

“If you are like me and don’t readily admit your limits, embarrassment may be the only way to get your attention… finally, I may forced to face my nature and find out whether I can make something of both my gifts and my limitations.”

(Ch3 When Way Closes @ Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation – Parker J. Palmer)

Thinking of my way forward… I can’t accept not trying but pushing brutally also harms and result in failures. There are limits, accepting them requires self-acceptance.

Somehow, there may be chances to get through them sometime in the future. If that can be breaking through, I learn to see them as opportunities to growth. If that can’t, I learn to accept it as part of my imperfect self, learn to forget the way closed and to take ways still opens.

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記住唔好比自己後悔

無人話你唔得,係你自己話自己唔得

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Lent readings from Henri Nouwen Society (2)

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Lent readings from Henri Nouwen Society

Although I decided to move away from the daily devotion materials from Henri Nouwen Society for daily bible reading scheme in youversion bible, I did read some of them from time to time. Last week, I came across “Reflection for Fourth Sunday of Lent” and this attracted my eyeballs. I digged out three more that were sent in previously weeks and read them all. Feeling so warm and familiar with the words 🙂

» Continue reading “Lent readings from Henri Nouwen Society”

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