Saturday, December 5, 2009

Redefining Beautiful: What God sees when God sees You - Jenna Lucado with Max Lucado

Beauty as God defines it

Redefining Beautiful: What God sees when God sees You
Author: Jenna Lucado with Max Lucado
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 221

In Redefining Beautiful Jenna Lucado writes in the same conversational mode that has made Max Lucado endearing to so many people. Max contributes throughout with excerpts and adaptations from previous writings, which serve to highlight his daughter’s thoughts.

Jenna is chattier than Max; girls and young women will find it easy to relate. She gets candid about beauty tips that deal more with identity than outward appearance. Jenna helps girls become all that God wants them to be, even if starts with something as unconventional as “embracing your weirdness.” It’s another way of saying, “Be yourself!”

Jenna is surprisingly transparent. She takes us not only into her inner psyche but the world of teenage girls. I found it fascinating. How often do you get to see life from the perspective of the opposite gender? Girls will find a friend and an advocate.

One subject that rightly gets a lot of attention is the influence of fathers. In introducing the topic she quotes Dr. Kevin Lehman, “The (most important) ingredient in any woman’s life is her relationship with her father.” She gives hope to those whose fathers have failed them, which leads me to a general observation about Max and now Jenna.

The Lucados make the gospel good news. They constantly remind us that God loves us unconditionally, no matter what. As Max writes, “God loves you just the way you are. If you think his love for you would be stronger if your faith were stronger, you are wrong. If you think his love would be deeper if your thoughts were deeper, wrong again. Don’t confuse God’s love with the love you get from people. Love from people often increases with performance and decreases with mistakes. Not so with God’s love. He loves you right where you are.”

But it does not stop there, as Jenna adds, “Being beautiful means overflowing in love for others. . . . God fills us with his love not only to show us how much he loves us but so that it will overflow to others.”

As Jenna writes of Joyce Meyer, who she uses as an example, change must sometimes begin with facing the truth about ourselves and our past. It may be as simple as realizing we need help. Jenna wants girls to give God the pen so that He can change the way their story is going. If they give Him their hearts, He can write a beautiful ending regardless of the ugliness of the past.

I was deeply impressed by the chapter on submitting to authority. Just the thought of it may seem distasteful, but as Jenna’s friend Hannah learned, it can mean “opportunity, wisdom, and triumph.” At first, Hannah would not obey her coaches. She disregarded what they told her, and as a result, did not attain the status she thought she deserved. After realizing her pride, her attitude toward authority changed. She trusted her coaches to achieve her goals. She realized that “attitudes and actions toward authority are a reflection of how we respond to the authority of God. I have learned that when we respect authority, some of that respect flows back to us from others. Good things come back—rewards!” Taking hold of this one truth can minimize the pain we go through from our own willfulness. It can also be the difference between success and failure.

This book is filled with practical principles that can change one’s outlook and life. Max and Jenna both have a way with words. They make the truth plain and simple. They are great encouragers in this journey of faith. You can’t go wrong by spending time with this book.
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