What does it mean to be beautiful? Is beauty only for sunsets, flowers, and fine art? Is beauty only for the model on the cover of the fashion magazine? Is beauty reserved for women, or can a man be beautiful too?
These were the questions I brought to Lee Wolfe Blum’s new book, Brave is the New Beautiful (David C Cook, 2017). As I read, I took note of the way she defines and describes beauty throughout her book.
For Blum, beauty is more than skin deep, more than physical. She writes:
I would like to challenge this cultural idea that beauty is defined by a fit body or gap-spaced thighs. I would like to put an end to the obsession with fat and the yearning for thinness. I’m not saying we shouldn’t take care of the bodies God gave us. But I am saying we need to change the question from “Do I look fat?” to “Am I being authentically me? Am I being true to who God made me to be?”
Because I see beauty when I see a woman bravely being herself. (31)
Beauty means authenticity:
Beauty is the woman who sees her brokenness and acknowledges the scars of life but doesn’t try to cover them up or hide behind them. (32)
Beauty is a spiritual quality:
I believe beauty is being able to see God in people. Even if you don’t like them, if you look and see God created them, they have worth. They matter. (88)
In my view, these more-than-physical qualities of authenticity and respect for others are beautiful qualities for all people. It’s not only women who can have beautiful souls and beautiful ways of relating to others.
But in this book, Blum writes specifically for and about women.
She skillfully weaves her own story with stories of other women whose bravery makes them beautiful. Like Amy, who–along with other women–testifies against her childhood gymnastics coach who is then convicted on seven charges of sex crimes. And Sarah, who was adopted into a loving family, and later as an adult reconnects with biological family members in Vietnam. And Nicole, who returns from international ministry in Egypt when her father undergoes quadruple bypass surgery. These and many other women share their brave and beautiful stories in chapters on Shifting, Reinventing, Choosing, Trusting, Rising, and more.
This book is an easy and enjoyable read, full of stories that encourage women to discover and own their own bravery and beauty. What’s more, Blum encourages us to be a cheering section for one another. We are not only brave and beautiful alone–we can be brave and beautiful together.
If you love stories of brave and beautiful women, if you’d like a good read for yourself or for a woman in your life, you’ll appreciate Brave is the New Beautiful. I think it would make a great gift for Mother’s Day or any time, plus, I have an extra copy I’d love to give away. To enter the draw for a free copy, please leave a comment below naming where do you see beauty today? The contest closes May 15, 7am Pacific, so please enter below as I’d love to send you a brand new copy of this brave and beautiful book!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Brave is the New Beautiful. The choice to review and the views expressed are my own.
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