A friend of mine asked me the other day, “What is the false self?” He has been reading the Gift of Being Yourself by David Benner. Benner’s book is largely about the transformation from finding our identity in our false selves to receiving our true selves grounded in Christ. “Finding and living out your true self is fulfilling your destiny.” Benner says in the preface. And he labels our false selves as “masks that we first adopted as strategies to avoid feelings of vulnerability but have become parts of our social self.”

Almost 10 years ago, I began a course in spiritual growth and formation at the Urban Sanctuary. In the course, Len Thompson, Director of the Urban Sanctuary, gave each of the participants a small white rock with a word on it that he hoped to see movement toward in that person’s life. The idea came from Revelation 2:17 where John quotes the “Son of Man,” saying, “To everyone who conquers I will give some hidden manna, and I will give a white stone, and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.” My “new name” on the stone was “unburdened.” I still have the stone (see image).

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