Jess is a beautiful person, both inside and out. Her godly beauty just shines through in everything that she does. Her deep passion for life is inspiring, as well as her faith in the Lord.
I hope you'll enjoy on what she has to say!
What do you believe was God's purpose in creating you?
This is so crazy because it never ceases to amaze me how much LOVE God places in what He creates. He literally breathes and touches things while bringing them to life in ways no human could ever imagine. It never gets old. I believe God crafts dreams and passions into people as a way of making them come to life. This purpose God has for my life is so much bigger than me. I see glimpses of this all the time. It really just comes down to the reality that God loves what He creates. He is in love with what He has created. He calls it good. Sin aside. He didn't allow you to be born without saying that you were good and you were hand-designed. If we walked out of that reality, it would change so much of body image issues. He gave you the nose you have because He loved it. He hand-designed every piece of you because He loved it. He made my legs longer than most everyone else because He thought it was beautiful. He just touches things as He creates and makes them come to life. I think when we begin to tap into the reality of His design & heart behind our bodies, we begin to come to life in the way He breathed on it to be. Fear is cast out by perfect Love. We were designed by Love.
How do you cope with body image? Who are some people (and Bible verses) that help you through it?
If you would have met me five years ago or even three years ago, you would have such a difference answer. It's so insane how God just begins to show us what He sees in the world and we are changed in those moments. I believe body image is not a physical thing but a heart stance. When I begin to believe and walk in the reality that God absolutely adores everything that I am and look like, every other fear just falls to the ground. But when I begin to look around at how I look in comparison to others, it's like that fear crawls up from the ground and puts a mask on my face. I think one of the most freeing things for me was realizing that all the girls on those magazines are all fake. It's crazy. . . They actually take parts of like 4-5 different girls and they photoshop them into one girl. So it is fueling a reality that can never be attained. It makes girls something to be consumed rather than cherished. So there is this drive behind the message saying "girls are consumables" and that just pushes everyone into the rat race of poor self image. But IN GOD, we have such a different approach than anything else and it just floods the atmosphere of our hearts. Even though we are in that culture where what you look like matters the most, God says that our hearts being in love with Him matters the most and it literally changes what we look like on the outside. God loves us when we are hurricanes. He loves us when we are still. He loves us every moment... every place.. never stop in His love. He is after us in Love... He will never leave. He just keeps coming and remains. He remains. One of the deepest reminders of this has been my boyfriend. Over the past two years, he has just really cherished me in a way that showed me Jesus. it was such a tangible reminder of what God sees on a larger scale. society wants to tell you that you are missing something & that you need something in order to be beautiful. but God says that we are WHOLE in Him and we are so complete. He would have never allowed us to be born if He did not think we were exactly how He wanted us to be... so so so rad, girls. this is so good. my boyfriend has helped me see in deeper ways how much Jesus loves us & how much we are WHOLE because of Him.. so when two whole people in God love each other, the entire relationship just has to change. He has served me faithfully and one of the ways that has helped me grow in self image is realizing my worth as an individual to God. my identity is not wrapped up in people but rather Jesus... i think we see that but when we begun to get that, our entire hearts just begin to beat to a different drum than ever before. i spent this past summer the majority of the time with my hair on the top of my head covered in sand from the beach with sunburned nose and no makeup. i don't think makeup is wrong at all but i am telling you that there was something so amazing about realizing God just adores us completely absolutely just the simple way we are. when i wake up and my hair is in five hundred directions, His heart literally swells because He is so proud of His creation. THIS IS LITERALLY WHAT HE THINKS ABOUT YOU. HOW INSANE is that??? It gets to me every time and I cannot stay the same. Those fears just pick up their backpacks and hit the road because God is on the move.
What would you say to your younger self if you were going through this at a young age? oh my darling sweet girl. it is okay to leave your room without makeup. your struggle is not about boys or beauty. you are altogether beautiful. you are altogether flawlessly made. you are so worth it. just come as you are with all your aching. just let Me love you. just let Me hold you and tell you what I think about you. Love is real. Love is Me. it is not found in those boys. it is not found in starving yourself. it is not found in bleeding arms. I never leave you empty. so walk into victory, darling one. pull your hair on top of your head in the most messy bun. wash your makeup off and begin laughing. walk out that door in victory. I sing over you songs of joy and deliverance. you have been liberated from this bondage, dear one. You are a daughter. even if you feel like you aren't loved at home, you are a daughter to Me. you are a princess of the Most High God. this is now your identity. why does a princess try to change herself? but you are not a earthly princess. you are internal. you cannot die. you belong to Me. you are worth something. My love for you is deeper than the ocean. when you are free, why are you trying to walk in chains? if you are free, why are you still standing praising while wearing the chains? shake them off, my love. run up that mountain. let down your hair. weave flowers into your hair. watch this Love soak over you.
What do you think Adam and Eve looked like? This is so beautiful to think about. I think their noses were made by God perfectly and intrinsically. God's creativity was literally exploded on them and we see that today through every single person. There isn't one the same. So I think that they were not too different than ours but eternal. They never died. I have watched people just become more and more beautiful as they receive and give love. So as Adam and Eve received love from God and gave it to each other, i think they became more and more beautiful. I think there is an aspect that lasted beyond the realms of the fall into now. The most beautiful people I know are radically sold out for Jesus. Their bodies just shine.
The Bible indicates about the body and soul. To which is most important? I think they are so connected because we will continue to have both eternally. Our bodies will change, yes, and we will get our heavenly bodies but the crazy thing is that we will still be recognizable... So maybe that means that we will keep our noses or we will keep our smiles. But better yet, what if the thing we have always had a hard time accepting about ourselves is the thing that we keep... how crazy would that be? How crazy would it be to see our thighs that we always struggled with or our pant size or our crooked smile and THAT IS THE VERY THING GOD DELIGHTS TO KEEP. i don't know what His dreams are but they will be so good.
How does your body reflect your soul? I have grown to believe so much over my life that what is in your heart simply must come out. When a heart is free, you can just tell from the outside. It's like it simply cannot be held in. Read this.. I keep going back to it: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2014/06/dear-women-daughters-when-youre-tired-of-media-voices-telling-you-what-beauty-love-is/ How does the person's physical appearance manifest their soul? The more we receive love from God, the more our souls come alive and that literally just changes people's physical appearance. One of my favorite people in the world is named Kacie. she hardly never wears makeup and she is literally the most beautiful person i have ever witnessed. her eyes shine with a joy that cannot be contained in this world.
Should a Christian be concerned about their physical appearance? I believe that our bodies are literal homes for Jesus' heart. Do your keep your house constantly cluttered while never taking out the trash? Or do you take time to steward the little place God gave you to live?
How much time should you spend to keep your body in good shape? I am fitness geek and spend time almost every day in the gym. I absolutely love a good sweat and keeping in shape. But, sometime last year I personally stopped using headphones. I didn't want to tune out anything that God wanted to show me on my long runs. Some of the most gentle and sweet moments lately with God have been during these times. I use workouts to clear my mind and just pray for different things that God is showing me. I have heard of people bringing notecards on their runs where they pray through the note cards. Some of my friends listen to worship music and have the most amazing time with God. Some of my other Jesus loving friends put on some beats and goooo. haha.
Can one take concern for physical fitness to the point of idolatry. What would be the indicators of this? I think how much time should be translated to - where is my heart? If my heart is simply in making my body something like someone else,than it just tells those fears to come back in and it is a scary scary downhill tram that you can't win unless there's a heart change. you will never be satisfied because once you finally reach the ideal you saw in some place, you will see another that you need more. it's such a rat race that is full of lies. God just speaks FREEDOM over us in such raw and real ways.
When it comes to physical appearance who matters more; God or man? What difference should the answer to that question make to me? The theme of this entire message is about Love. you are His Beloved.. He never disappoints When you try to live for humans, you never can be satisfied.
What makes a girl or woman beautiful to you? The most beautiful women I have seen have physical reminders of the way they have loved. The crinkled face from smiling, the hands that are strong from serving, the veins that bulge from arms that have picked up five hundred loads of laundry, and the eyes that simply cannot stop shining no matter how many years of battle they have seen... Thank you sweet friends for reading my words... I am so on this journey into freedom with you. I would love to hear from you. Come write me at imjessmarie.wordpress.com