This month Lizzie Telfer reviews Am I Beautiful? by Chine Mbubaegbu. Lizzie works in publishing at Scripture Union, is a writer and leads Creatively Empowering, a consultancy in youth participation.
What if we saw the world and all its beauty, through God’s eyes? Then how would we define it? Who sets the bar of beauty? Do we have to settle and agree to limited messages that seek to tell us, what beauty is?
Chine Mbubaegbu tackles these questions with her book, ‘Am I beautiful?’ She takes the reader through her own wrestling and self-discovery of ‘becoming’ Chine - beautiful vulnerability! In her sincere trust of the reader, she shares her most personal thoughts and experiences and offers the truth of God’s word to dispel the limited messages that seek to tell us, what beauty is.
Clearly messaged is the call to see beauty as a much more elusive and mysterious concept, rather than only the common social constructs of beauty. Chine reminds the reader of a higher beauty, of God the creator; who marks his image in each one of us and which transcends more than external displays. Beauty is holistic and therefore, not only physical. We see ourselves, through knowing more of God and how he sees us and therefore we can see others in the way that God sees them.
I was quite sceptical when I first came to read this book, as I thought it was going to lean towards the self-indulgent side (the title probably didn’t help). However, this is a book to liberate women in particular from whatever lies are holding them back from glowing with the image of Christ. What I admire is the way Chine has backed up her personal reflections with theological insights and encourages the reader to move forward into the truth that we are all beautiful because no one is exempt from being created in the image of God. Practical questions at the end of each chapter help this and are useful for the reader to ‘see’ with the mind of Christ.
Lastly, I applaud Chine for addressing how often our personal insecurities about who we are, affect how we sometimes treat and love others. She tackles issues of jealousy and competition, which can often occur when we don’t see ourselves as God sees us. Therefore, her book liberates in personal and communal ways.