Welcome Jessie Browning, DTS Student and Sports & Fitness Coordinator @northwestbible . She shares with us personal struggle, desperate dependence on God, & encouragement for you. Here’s her story.

“Body and Image are two words that often bring up emotions we would classify as negative. Whether it’s sadness, anxiety, bitterness, anger, jealousy, etc.. I have felt them all when it comes to my body and my image.

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Growing up, I naturally fell into a pattern and role of performing for others. While some of my passions required a performance — cheerleading, public speaking, musical engagements — the act of “performing” bled into other crevasses of my life. Areas that “performing’ had no place of being.

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In my relationships with parents, friends, and romantic interests, in my schoolwork, and even now into my career, I am naturally bent to feel like I have to perform for others in order to receive their acceptance. My image was a major part of the performing.

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I had to look the part to play the part.

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This led to an unhealthy relationship with dieting, exercise, clothing, and most of all make-up! I did not feel like me if I was not completely put together on the outside. I would dress to hide what I would deem as imperfections, use make-up to cover and correct the flaws I pointed out each morning, and utilize diets and exercise to feel like I had control over my body.

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All of these things to be able to perform for others in order to feel valued and accepted. This pattern may have played itself out differently throughout various situations, but it ended the same every single time. I was left feeling inadequate and not enough.

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Now this is a struggle I still face each and every day, but by the grace of God, He has showed me truth and given me tools to fight back!

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First, I am created in HIS IMAGE! The God of the universe has chosen for me and for you to be created in His image. Not only do we bear the physical representation of Him, but this is also gives us a purpose. To be made in His image means we are given a body to do the work He has called us to do, to be His representatives. What an honor it is that my body in and of itself is a representation of our great God!

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As if that alone is not enough to change my perception of my body and image, God also tells us that He has individually knitted together every fabric of my being. There are no mistakes; there are no flaws. When I am able to see my body and my image through the lens of God’s purpose for me, I am significantly less focused on how my image represents myself.

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I don’t need to perform for others because my focus is on representing a loving Savior who has created me and called me to something much more.”