How to Find Yourself: Why Looking Inward Is Not the Answer

By Brian S. Rosner, Foreword by Carl R. Trueman

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How to Find Yourself: Why Looking Inward Is Not the Answer

By Brian S. Rosner, Foreword by Carl R. Trueman

... Show All

In the 21st-century West, identity is everything. Never has it been more important, culturally speaking, to know who you are and be true to yourself. Expressive individualism—the belief that looking inward is the way to find yourself—has become the primary approach to identity formation, and questioning anyone’s “self-made self” is often considered a threat or attack.

Prompted by his own crisis of identity, Brian Rosner argues that personal identity is formed not only by looking inward, but also by looking around to your relationships, backward and forward to your life stories, and upward to God. In How to Find Yourself, Rosner equips readers to engage sympathetically with some of the most pressing questions of our day. Challenging the status quo, he offers an approach to identity formation that leads to more secure and joyful self-knowledge: being known intimately and personally by God and following the script of Jesus’s life story.


Brian S. Rosner

Brian Rosner (PhD, Cambridge) is principal of Ridley College in Melbourne, Australia. He previously taught at the University of Aberdeen and Moore Theological College. Rosner is the author or editor of over a dozen books, including Known by God: A Biblical Theology of Personal Identity. He is married to Natalie and has four children.

Product Details

Title: How to Find Yourself
Subtitle: Why Looking Inward Is Not the Answer
Published: May 17, 2022
ISBN-10: 1-4335-7815-8
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-7815-1
Category: Culture & Social Issues
Christian Living
Retail Price: $19.99
Binding: Paperback
Trim: 6.0 in x 9.0 in
Page Count: 224

Table of Contents

Introduction: Stranger in the Mirror

Part 1: Looking for Yourself
Chapter 1: Looking Inward
Chapter 2: A Collective Identity Crisis
Chapter 3: Five Tests of the Good Life
Chapter 4: Ancient Texts and Modern Preoccupations
Chapter 5: Looking Elsewhere

Part 2: You Are a Social Being
Chapter 6: Social Identity
Chapter 7: Known by God

Part 3: You Are Your Story
Chapter 8: Narrative Identity
Chapter 9: The Story of Secular Materialism
Chapter 10: The Story of Social Justice
Chapter 11: The Life Story of Jesus Christ

Part 4: The New You
Chapter 12: Losing Yourself
Chapter 13: Finding Yourself

General Index
Scripture Index


“With remarkable clarity and helpful analysis, Brian Rosner provides a template for understanding the expressive individualism so prevalent in the West. Rosner does so in an irenic way that makes this book approachable to those caught up in individualist approaches. It will be a helpful primer to some of the more important conversations people have at each other today—and it can help us to start talking with one another instead.”
Ed Stetzer, Professor and Dean, Wheaton College

“What a solid and needed book! How to Find Yourself is about locating yourself not in the privatized world of your own self-constructed identity but in the social and divine contexts in which people live, made as they are in the image of God. In a modern world filled with loneliness and dislocation, this book connects you with life as it was designed to be lived with others. It sees life in the world for the challenge it often is, including the faults of what we do to one another, but it does not hide from the responsibility we all have for making it that way and from the opportunity that a connection to God and care for others has for making it better.”
Darrell L. Bock, Executive Director of Cultural Engagement, The Hendricks Center, Dallas Theological Seminary

How to Find Yourself gives readers a roadmap to the stories that compete for our affections. And Brian Rosner reveals the gospel as the compass that shows the way home. If you want to understand this cultural moment, pay close attention to this book.”
Collin Hansen, Vice President and Editor in Chief, The Gospel Coalition; author, Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation

“How do I ‘find myself’? For many today, this question is both puzzling and provocative. How does it involve my sexuality, my ethnicity, my family, my country, and my very soul? For Brian Rosner, this is not merely academic but deeply personal. As he exposes the shortcomings of looking only inward, he answers these questions from sociology and, above all, the Bible. This volume is a countercultural but profoundly helpful contribution to the topic of identity.”
Richard Chin, National Director, Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students; author, Captivated by Christ

How to Find Yourself powerfully confronts one of the most pertinent cultural issues of our time—namely, personal identity. Rosner writes with clarity and verve, synthesizing the best current research and scholarship. The book reveals the numerous shortcomings of the dominant cultural narrative of expressive individualism, which encourages us to ‘find ourselves’ through looking inward and becoming who we ‘really are.’ Powerful though it is, there is a deep poverty to this idea, which leaves people—particularly younger generations—profoundly dissatisfied. How to Find Yourself turns to an alternative and far richer story. Paradoxically, rather than belonging to ourselves, it is precisely in losing ourselves that we can find our identity, by belonging to the story of God’s people, based on the life of Jesus Christ. Providing insights from his own deeply moving story, Rosner shows that this countercultural path offers a way of finding ourselves that gives meaning to our suffering and is a call to serve others. How to Find Yourself will challenge you to assess your most foundational assumptions about who you are.”
Sarah Irving-Stonebraker, Senior Lecturer in Modern European History, Western Sydney University

“The personal restlessness, dissatisfaction, and cultural mayhem produced by our attempts to find and identify ourselves from within, without external reference points, is deeply saddening. Once, we assumed that our identity related to the greater purposes of a higher being. Increasingly now we favor starting with the idea that we can be our own gods, providing our own morality, reason for being, purpose and direction in life only to find that we are grievously inadequate to the task. Brian Rosner writes with the quiet authority of a deeply informed mind, keen observation of the human condition, and the warm understanding of personal experience of that condition. The result is a highly valuable book that offers wise counsel on combining a right personal reflectiveness with the wisdom of the ages as a better way.”
John Anderson, Former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia