Well think about it this way. What do you guys think about this? Beauty isn't anything to be applied, beauty is to be unveiled.
As Christians, our mission is to spread the gospel around the world to all the nations. But our mission also includes to transform the nations, to increasingly reflect the truth, goodness, and beauty, of God's kingdom. Tragically, the church has largely neglected the second part of her mission. And today, Christians have little influence on their surrounding cultures. Join us on this podcast as you rediscover what it means for each of us to disciple the nations and to create Christ-honoring cultures that reflect the character of the living God.
Well, welcome again to Ideas Have Consequences. This is the podcast of the Disciple Nations Alliance. My name is Scott Allen, I'm the president of the DNA. And today I'm with my colleagues, Luke Allen and Dwight Vogt And we have a special guest that I'm really excited to introduce our listeners to: Jessica Shakir. Jessica is a person that we've gotten to know in recent weeks, we didn't know until just recently, but we connected to her in an interesting way. Since we've been doing a lot more on social media and with podcasts, we've been able to connect with people in that same way that we hadn't before. And Jessica is one of those people. She is very active on social media and Luke, because he's kind of running that aspect of our ministry, brought the relationship to our attention. And we'd like to introduce Jessica to you. I'm going to turn it over to Luke though to do that, since he and Jessica have been able to develop a bit of a relationship.
Yeah, Jessica, it's so great to have you on the show today. We have a lot of questions, I'm really curious, especially about your Beautiful Minds Academy. Let me just give the listeners a little bit better understanding of what you do. You are a biblical beauty coach, the founder of the Beautiful Minds Academy, a global online community of Jesus loving woman, renewing their minds through the word of God, transforming their world through spiritual growth, and living in God's definition of beauty. That's great. I'm excited to talk more about God's definition of beauty today as well. The Beautiful Minds Academy offers a masterclass membership, soul care, and spiritual leadership coaching programs, and it gives personal retreats and offers various online events throughout the year. Jessica has been working as a celebrity hair and makeup artists for the past 25 years with a lot of really well known clients here. First one's Kevin Bacon. That's cool. And the last one I see here is Eminem, which is awesome. I'd love to hear more about that, maybe some of other time. You've been on sounds like a lot of shows. There's the Dr. Oz Show and there's a bunch of other ones. Yeah, super cool. We we could go down a whole long rabbit trail.
You were a makeup artist for Kevin Bacon?
I was! So no degrees. It is just direct access to Kevin Bacon for me.
Well then we have our six degrees removed from Kevin Bacon then or whatever it is, right? Yeah, one degree. One degree. Oh, my gosh, that's so interesting, huh?
Well, I also give my age away when I tell you all that I've been doing hair and makeup for 25 years. But what a gift that was, to be able to take that gift, explore that gift, expand that gift, and have got to open doors for me all over the globe, really. And so that was a big part of of my life. But I think I'm jumping ahead here. You want me to just keep going, share about my life right now.
Yeah, just help the audience get to know you a little better.
Well, I'm Jessica Schakir and I am a daughter of the King of Kings. Start there. That is the beginning. And from there, I think well, how does God view me because I'm a woman who aligns my thinking with his thinking about me. I'm a creative obsessed with the glory and the beauty of God. And that has looked like being a makeup artist for two decades and traveling to different cultures and people and and working with different people and literally having people in my chair and cupping their face, and having conversations with them, meaningful conversations, my favorite part of my make-up career word those moments, the meaningful conversations in the makeup chair with souls from around the world. I had a little bit of a detour, but in 2019, it was my own personal 2020 I had a neck injury that put me on bed rest for five months. And my husband and I were living in New York at the time. And I was flying back to LA every month to do it work on a couple of shows I was working on as an artist. And it was on one of those shows that I had two discs in my neck tear, and the bulges pushed into my spinal sac which surrounds your cord, it got really bad. And all the sudden I couldn't work, all of a sudden I had my own personal stay-at-home order. All of a sudden, I didn't have any income coming in because I couldn't work. And God did a deep work in me y'all, if Jesus and I weren't best friends before that happened, we were besties throughout 2019. And why I share that is because I had to pivot. I couldn't do hair and makeup anymore. And I know that God and his kindness and sovereignty, was redirecting, shifting the trajectory of my life, and wooing me into this area that I've always wanted to step into. I've always wanted to mentor and speak and write and preach. And I just kept thinking, Oh, I have to read Lamentations again. Maybe I should understand Numbers before I do that. I kept putting it off, thinking I wasn't there yet, but God said, "I am preparing you, I am doing this deep work in and through you. Come with me, say yes to me in this new area and this new way of showing up and this new way of helping women explore and experience true beauty." And so 2019 was a wild year for me. But it prepared me in 2020 to be real honest. I was like come on guys, we got this! God is good, he'll see us through! I was prepared to help people because of what God did for me, and it was in 2020 that I launched my first big virtual event. And lo and behold, where before I would go out to the nations, because I love travel, love people, I love bringing God's beauty, truth, and goodness, everywhere I go, especially in the entertainment industry, we really need that. And it went from me going out to the nations to God bringing the nation to my living room via the computer, the internet, and we had 2500 women from 33 countries attend our first virtual event I was blown away. And from that point, I gave God my yes that I would do this full time. And the Neautiful Mind Academy was born in June of 2020. Right smack dab in the middle of everything falling apart. And God gave me that name y'all, God directed me, God said, "I want you to help women create a life and a space and help them understand how will I view beauty, how I have defined beauty, help them understand how to have a beautiful mind." And I think that a beautiful mind isn't one that's perfect. But it's a mind that set on perfection, which we know who that is. It's Jesus. And so I delight in what I'm doing so much more than my 25 year career that I thought I would never give up. And so here I am today married five years to the love of my life, recently moved to Alabama, Tuscaloosa. And I'm on a podcast, one of my favorite podcasts with you guys. So thank you!
Wow, thanks for sharing your story Jessica, a bit of it anyways. Yeah. I wonder, would you mind just going back a little bit? Just tell us a little bit of the your early years. Were you originally from New York, and then how did you how did you end up in a career in entertainment, especially in this area of makeup? How did that happen?
Yes. Well, I was born and raised in Orange County, California, big family. And I'm an auntie of 22 nieces and nephews just to give a little context. And when I was 12 that dream was actualized in me. I'd always been attracted to beauty and light and movement and dance, and I've been dancing since I was five, and I love the Lights! Camera! Action! Of all of it. And I was just allured by it all, and I remember well, it was a really pivotal age for me that I was beginning to say out loud "I'm going to be a makeup artist when I grow up!" And I would study the cover of fashion magazines. I'm talking Vogue, I would look at the cover of Vogue and think I could do that! I know how they're doing that.
You know who else did that Jessica? Dwight did that for awhile.
Yeah. So bizarre! No.
I want to hear more!
No, he's just joking. It's interesting that at the age of 12, you had an interest in makeup. That's just really fascinating.
Yes. What were you curious and passionate about at 12?
I'm just joking about that, yeah. Dwight would be the least interested in that. I'm totally joking.
I totally fell for it.
Well, it's funny because when I tell my story, a lot of people say, "I was 12 when I realized I wanted to do XYZ." And so I was just a little girl who is aware of what was in her heart. I may want to just tell a little bit of a backstory there. Because when I was four years old, my daddy passed away suddenly. And my mom was left as a widow with four children. And I remember that just broke me. I mean, I was shocked. And that happened two weeks before my birthday. And my older siblings and my mom told me that they're worried about me, because I didn't utter one word. I didn't say one word, I was just shocked and I was heartbroken. Well, on my birthday, I had a little ballerina birthday party. And God gave them such a brilliant idea. It was such a God idea. And I received a birthday card in the mail from my daddy in heaven. And that little four year, old five year old girl, believed that with all her heart, and in the card it said, I'll paraphrase, but it says something like, I wish I could be there with you. I love you dearly. I miss you dearly. I wanted to go to heaven before you because I'm building you a Disneyland. And by the time you get here, it'll be finished. And so taking what Jesus told his disciples I'm gonna go before you and prepare a place for you. So I grew up feeling very close to heaven. And how I describe it, I have grown up with the warmth of heaven on my skin. Like I know that my daddy in heaven loves me, I know that my Father in heaven loves me. And so I've always, especially after my dad left, I remember growing up thinking, God, I need you to be my daddy, I need you to Father me. And so at 12, I was very comfortable and used to having conversations with God. And when I realized that I wanted to be a makeup artist, and I realized my passion for it, my curiosity for it, I decided to go for it. And I just kept going for it and just kept going for it. And I've had a 25 year career from it. And it's wild. I never even went to makeup school. But I ended up directing and teaching at a makeup school. And I've ended up not only working with celebrities and actors and models and brides as you would think. But thought leaders and authors and politicians and world leaders and the rooms I've been in and the conversations I've been privy to be around, I'm thinking Lord, this is remarkable! I never dreamt of this. I was just a little girl who followed your voice and who kept saying, "Okay, I'll do that. Yes, I'll do that." Because the one big thing that I had to encounter, were my sweet, I know they had good intentions. But the older people at my church at that time, were talking me out of moving into this industry because it was an evil industry. I'm thinking, but wait, if God is calling me into it, doesn't that mean I would bring the light of Jesus into the rooms that I walk into? I mean, as a teenager having these conversations with people, with myself, and alone in my room with the Lord, because I didn't want to go against what these people who I looked up to, how they were mentoring me, how they're coaching me. But deeper still in my heart. I knew that God was calling me there. And thank God that I listened to the voice of God even as the teenager.
You said you've been traveling around the world, was that also a part of the work that you were doing with makeup? Or was that travel connected other things.
It all revolved around hair and makeup. And I was also dancing and modeling and acting and so I got a job, one of the jobs I got that took me out of the country was I was performing it Tokyo Disneyland. So I lived in Tokyo for almost nine, and then after moving to Tokyo and loving it and thriving and learning a little bit of the language and making friends, I thought, well shoot, if I could live in Tokyo, Japan, I could go anywhere! So then I said yes to adventure in Hawaii and I lived in Hawaii for eight years. And then I said yes to the adventure of New York City and I lived there for three years, and came back to California in 2015 and met my husband about a year later in California.
Wow. I lived in Japan too for a few years, not it not in Tokyo Disneyland though. I mean, that sounds pretty exciting. I was in Osaka, which I know people in Tokyo consider to be the armpit of Japan. But anyways, I enjoyed my time there. If my wife was here, who I met when she was in Japan, she could speak to you and Japanese. I'm not very good at that language, unfortunately. Well, what an interesting story, Jessica, that's amazing. But then it sounds like during COVID, and you had this accident, a real serious accident. And God really kind of redirected you at that point a bit anyways, right with the present ministry that you're involved in. Beautiful Minds Academy.
Right, absolutely. And when I thought it was a dead end, my human perspective and my feelings and emotions at that time were telling me, "this is the end. You can't move forward, you can't even feed yourself right now. You can't even open the front door on your own." And God was saying, "Oh, I am redirecting you. And I'm not wasting this pain, I'm not wasting this wilderness season." And I look back and I, I even think, wow, Jessica, pre-2019, and then Jessica, after 2019. There was such a shift in my thinking, and my worldview and my character and my desires, and what I desired. And when you get to the point where you are just, all you have, I had family around me, thank the Lord. And when you can't really move like you used to and I couldn't really think, I didn't really have the capacity to do much. And yet God was was with me, and assuring me and he was my hope and my joy. And I'll tell you, I really connected with Jesus, like I mentioned, that we became BFFs. But I mean, there are moments that I would go into the Jacuzzi, because something, anything, to alleviate this constant, high level acute pain. And I remember one time being alone in the Jacuzzi outdoors and looking around. I'm like, Lord, God, how do I move through this? And I was contemplating some surgeons were telling me that I needed a spinal fusion surgery, because I have severe scoliosis, and the neck injury just made it all. It was a compound injury, let's just say. And I was contemplating, do I do this surgery that all my life I've been praying I don't have to do. And I'm sitting there trying to get relief. And I said, Jesus, how do I face something that I've known all my life may be a possibility and now it's here. I don't want to do it. But if you're calling me to do it, how do I face it? How do I get the courage to move forward? And I didn't even realize the picture I was painting. And I felt Jesus right in front of me saying, "Jess, I really, really know how that feels." And I thought, wow, for the joy set before you, Jesus, you endured the cross. And so for the joy set before me, I will endure my cross and this wilderness and it'll be joy that'll be my weapon that will get me through. And so when I think of joy, yes, I think of lightheartedness. And it's, I'm free, and I'm creative. And joy is a beautiful thing. I mean, hey, it's top two, and the gifts of the Spirit is really important. And yet now I look at joy, and for me, in my mind, because of my story, my joy is synonymous with tenacity for the journey, joy is going to get me through whatever I'm going through. Joy is my weapon.
I'd love to just camp on this for a little bit. One of the questions I've got for you, and I'm sorry, guys, if I'm kind of taking over the conversation here. But it's really interesting hearing your story, Jessica. Yeah, I'd love to pick up the story a little bit about how we connected, because for those of us at the DNA, Jessica, we deal a lot with Christian relief and development. We've come out of the world of charity and poverty. And I think you're the first makeup artists that we've ever talked to. So you're a little outside our normal circles, and how did how did that connection happen? I do want to get to that. But just a little bit on this topic of joy. I love what you're saying there. And I think joy is a tricky thing for a lot of Christians because frankly, we live in a fallen world, and it's hard, right? I mean, you yourself went through a real traumatic experience with severe pain and just being disabled like that for so long, and so whether it's that or it's just the brokenness in our relationships, or whatever it is, or just our own country, there's just a lot of corruption and brokenness in our nation now and in the world. And so do we grit our teeth and get it out, because the Bible talks about joy, and so I know for even me, it can be kind of a tricky subject. But it sounds to me, what I'm hearing you say is that a lot of the joy for you was rooted, like you say, even from the time you were young, this clear picture of heaven, and what God had for you in in heaven. And living in light of that, in the here and now and the challenges and the difficulties in the here and now. So anyways, I'd love to hear your thoughts more on just the subject of joy and how we live with joy in the midst of pain.
It's a really important conversation. And as you were talking, I thought, I know we all know this, but this was the image I had in my head that I don't get my joy from the world, but I share my joy with the world. And so it depends on my perspective and who I'm looking at. And we know that joy isn't just a fleeting feeling on the day you go to Disneyland or something like that. But joy is is a person, it's Jesus. And when we spend time with Him, when we spend time with Jesus, we're spending time with joy. And joy isn't a personality trait. Yes, my personality may be more inclined to go really big with joy and communicate that in a different way. But joy might look different on each person and with each personality. But joy isn't a feeling, it's a person, it's Jesus. And so as I even meditate on the Gospels, I'm holding up my Bible, my favorite book, our favorite book, when I spend time in the word, I'm spending time with Jesus, and joy is the fruit of that for me. And when I know that joy isn't something that I get from the world, but is something that I could give to the world, then there's a clarity, I think you've mentioned that word clarity, because when I was young, I could clearly see the connection to heaven, I could clearly comprehend and grasp the love of a father, the love of a heavenly Father. And I thank God that He allowed that little girl to be shaped and spiritually formed in that way. Because I also had to deal and push through abandonment issues. I mean, your daddy just dies when you're little, you're gonna have to push through that kind of resistance. And I know that the enemy was trying to get into my mind and my heart through the cracks in that chapter of my story. And he was trying to cause doubt, and delay, and depression, and nobody's ever going to love you, and nobody's ever gonna stick around. Those are things that I too had to battle and push through. But God was saying, I want you to love art, I want you to love well, you're not promised tomorrow. Love the people that are in your life right now. Tell them, share that with them. So I look back on that pivotal chapter of my story. When you're young and you've encountered death in a really personal way, the enemy tried to use that to my destruction. But the Holy Spirit was guiding me and leading me to love and joy and kindness. Because I know for my own experience that we are not promised tomorrow. And so why not live fully alive today?
That's really what I hear you saying or what I'm taking away here are a couple of important things. Number one is joy is grounded in the reality of heaven, and the fact that this world, this life, is not all that exists. And Jesus says for the joy set before him he endured the shame and and the torment of the cross. And that's that future that we know that we're assured of, that gives us joy. But also I love what you're saying about joy being a person, Jesus, and just a living relationship with Him no matter what we go through. I will never leave you, I will never forsake you, and just having a friend like that is a source of of joy that cannot be shaken! So I love I love those two things.
I often say when Jesus-loving women get together, or brothers and sisters, those who love Jesus, all joy will break loose. Watch out! And there's so much joy for the journey when we do life together. And that's one of my big passions of my heart through the Beautiful Mind Academy, is really infusing joy of sisterhood into everything that we do because women have been hurt by other women. I mean, we've all been hurt by people. God gets that, God's greatest joy, one of his greatest joys, is people! The thing that broke his heart, people!
And we get that reality too. And yet, there's so much joy for the journey when we push through, when we don't create walls around our heart, but when we create wisdom around our heart, and encounter relationships, and celebrate and revel in who God is, and that heaven is a reality, and that we're called to bring heaven to earth right here, right now, revel in that, celebrate that, then joy is activated. I think too, if we are filled with the Holy Spirit, if Jesus has made us a new creation, we're under the blood of Jesus, we're filled with the Spirit of God, then the fruit of that spirit is joy, among many others. And so if we have it in us, then perhaps it's not something that we're lacking or reaching for or trying to find or running around like a chicken without our head trying to find it, but maybe it's activating that thing that's already in you.
Listeners, if you are getting as much out of the wisdom of of Jessica as I am right now, I want to direct you to her ministry, Beautiful Mind Academy. Jessica, I can tell right now, just listening to you talk, you've got a powerful ministry of just helping people grow in their relationship to our Lord. So anyways, thank you for what you're doing.
I'm honored to, again, I am truly honored to be here. I received that with a grateful heart. And y'all don't know your podcast has been giving me life, your social media presence. When I found you guys, I kind of liken it to Scott, you'll get this, like living in Japan, you might be in a remote neighborhood. And you only hear, it's beautiful language all around you, but you might hear somebody speaking English, and you're like, "Oh, I'm gonna go talk with them, my people, because they get you! So when I found you guys online and your podcast, I felt like that! I felt like, I found my people. Every Christian should be obsessed with Genesis 1, 2, and 3. That is the biblical worldview. We get so many of our questions answered, if we would just camp out here and go deep here. And so yeah, I'm really thrilled to be here right now. It's kind of a dream come true. Because the night before, Luke, when you reached out to me on DM, the night before, no joke here. I'm telling you the truth.
Oh yeah, this is cool.
A couple of the podcast interviews that I had coming up, that I'm honored to be a guest on, as I was writing down those. And then I thought you know what, let me dream again. What podcasts what I love to be a guest on, what would be the dream podcast? And guess what the number one podcast, the first one I wrote down on that paper? Ideas Have Consequences. The following morning, Luke hit me up in the DM hey, we'd love to chat with you and perhaps have you on the podcast. I'm like, Whoa, Lord. That was fast.
Wow, that's really neat. Luke, maybe you could speak to this. How did you guys first connect or what was the connection? I don't know if I fully understand that story.
I don't know either.
Maybe that's a question for Jessica?
It was a posting by Jessica, wasn't it?
You commented on something, it was a post about beauty.
Yeah. There you go. Good old Instagram. Yeah. You were on a series of beauty, truth and goodness. I thought oh my gosh, yes, here it is! In discovery, revelation, how come more people aren't, again, just geeking out over this? This is a picture of life as a Christian and this is what culture, the kingdom of God, looks like. And yeah, it was then and there, I just started becoming a fan of the ministry on Instagram and then the podcast and binging them and sharing it in my stories, and I do, I tell so many people about the podcast, it's so unique. And I often wonder why, I just am a little bit bewildered why Christians don't have more conversations like the one y'all are having around the biblical worldview. I know it's happening. I've seen it. I know it.
Well, I'd like to have a little conversation with you, Jessica. And it's probably a simple answer for you. But for me, it's not. So you talked about beauty. You talked about being a makeup artist, you talk about inner beauty, you talk about a Beautiful Mind Academy, a biblical beauty. And so I'd like to know what your philosophy on beauty is. Because for many of us, it's like, oh, it can go both ways. So much vanity is tied to beauty. So how does that work for you? Yeah. Unpack that for us and start with Genesis 1 if you have to.
I sure will Dwight, thank you for that invitation! In a word: Jesus. And it's funny, my sweet husband, I like questions, I like deep conversations. So perhaps I asked him too many questions. But sometimes I'll be like, Babe, what are you feeling today, and what's your vision for the year? And, I'll ask him a question. And he'll say, "Jesus". I'm all, you can't just do!
Yeah, that's my reaction to you! You can't just say Jesus, I want the whole thing.
Keep going. Okay, here's a reason why my heart felt so at home in Genesis 1, 2, and 3, is because I recognize, as I look back on the book of my life, if you will, and every chapter of that book, I've been allured by beauty. And so I know that I've been a student of beauty all my life. Up until a few years ago, 18th century theologian Jonathan Edwards helped me put language to this. And he posed a question: Can one study beauty apart from studying God? And he talks about the study of one is truly the study of the other. Because what is beauty? Well, Webster's dictionary will tell us, and actually it tells us what beauty does. It says that beauty is a group of characteristics or qualities that allure or attract. So it tells you the power of beauty and what beauty does, but what is beauty? And it could be a very simple answer, like you said Dwight, it could be a very complex, layered answer. And for me, anything that we are allured by, attracted to, goes back to the origin of every good and perfect thing. And so as I read through Jonathan Edwards works on beauty and it's just fascinating. And I realized the glory of God that emanated from his being, and is reaching to the farthest realities, and the glory of God made manifest that we can comprehend with our eyes and with all of our senses. That is ultimate beauty. Beauty rightly reflects God's character, beauty rightly honors God. And going back to Genesis 1, the layers of creation, as we know, God ended each day with, "and it was good, and it was good. And it was good." We got to not good in there, not good that man should to be alone, and then the crescendo of creation, some call it and I like to agree, with Eve, and then it was finished. And then it was a very good. Well, when you look at the word good in the original language, in Hebrew, it's tov. And it has a layered definition. And one of those definitions are aesthetically pleasing. And so as God being the creator of everything, he's the only being that could create something from nothing. We all know that. As he created, he declared, "This is good. It is aesthetically pleasing to Me, among other things." The purpose was there, it was functional, it was truthful. And we can't miss that my eyes are delighted in what I see, so at the end, when men and woman were created, then God of the universe, the creator of all, the Designer of the grand design, steps back and says, Wow, this is tov meod. This is so beautiful to me. And I have a friend and a mentor, Dr. Brian Chan, and he writes a lot about biblical beauty, y'all should connect and have him on the podcast too, y'all would love each other. And I love this quote by him. He says, beauty according to the biblical perspective, God's perspective, is always tied to two things, goodness and truth. And so Brian's quote is this, as humans who are encountering the glory of God, who are walking the tension is Christians, walking the tension of being citizens of heaven and living in a broken world full of ugliness, that perhaps becoming more beautiful, is a quest of becoming more truthful. And I love that. And so for me, beauty in a word is Jesus. He is beauty itself, our triune God. The living God is beautiful. And so everything he does and how his glory extends, we're witnessing the beauty of God. For me one question that I have, and I'll wrap it up and hand you the mic, Dwight, I want to hear your concise definition of your theology of beauty. As I'm recognizing that God's definition of beauty was there at the beginning, my question for me as I move through life now is, does what I find beautiful, is that also beautiful to God? Because if not, I want to shift my perspective, I want to come into alignment with what the truth is. Is this beautiful to God?
Yeah, my follow up question to you then is, well, thank you.
That was powerful.
Yeah, that was amazing. And as you were talking I'm going, and how does this apply to makeup? and the beauty that we bring to material life, whether it's makeup, or it's a decorator decorating a home, the clothes we buy, you spoke of being a model? What's the connection there? Because that's where it can go sideways.
Yeah, and I'll speak for Dwight, I think he's got the same question I do. Dwight comes out of a Mennonite background. And there is a certain, you know, I think we all have an understanding of this in the church that there needs to be an inner beauty, and this outside beauty is something that can can be bad, right? It can lead you down some bad paths. And so it's almost like it needs to be renounced. We need to kind of not focus on that. What are your thoughts on that? I think that's what you're getting at Dwight, what are your thoughts on that tension?
Go for it, go for it.
Yeah. As with all things, God looks at the heart. I'm doing this 30 Day Shred by the way of reading the whole Bible on 30 days. I didn't want to do it. I heard about this last year. And I was simultaneously attracted to the idea and repulsed by the idea. I'm like, "No thanks, I like to go deep. I like to linger in the text. I can't do that." Well, this year, I decided on New Year's Day, I kept thinking about it, and then I felt the invitation, why not just try it? If you keep thinking about it, maybe I'm putting this in you God's saying, and I go "Okay". And so on New Year's Day, I read the whole book of Genesis. Blown away, it's my new New Year's tradition. So I'm going with it anyway. The other day, last night, I'm in Samuel in I believe 16 when God led Samuel to Bethlehem, to Jesse, to meet the new King. And there is a part where, I'll paraphrase it, but I liken it to well, just be honest here, I liken it to when I was single, and I would encounter a tall strapping godly men and I'd be like, "that one God?" and God is like, "Nope, not that one."
It's gotta be that one God, right? Yeah.
And all the sons of Jesse come out. And the prophet is like, "Oh, surely that one." And God finally had to say, "Yo, Samuel, you look at the appearance, I look at the heart. I rejected that one, not that one." And so I preface the conversation of makeup and beauty with that story. It might seem like left field. But God looks at the heart, man, we look at the appearance. God sees at all, but he sees beyond the facade, straight to the heart of the human. And that's what truly matters. And so as I venture into teaching and exploring biblical beauty, and I've now walked away for the time being my career as a makeup artist, and I think okay, how do these two things connect? And as I look at the culture today, I just see a misunderstanding of beauty. And if there's a misunderstanding in the inward word realization of what beauty really is, it will manifest in the outside. So if I see someone hiding behind a thick coat of makeup, if I see someone trying to change who they are, change their ethnicity, change their nose shape with makeup. I just think what is their heart look like? Are they? Uh. Do they understand that God made them with such dignity and worth and beauty? And that beauty is their birthright? Do they understand that because the heart of the issue is the heart of the issue. And I think that makeup is just decoration. It really is. And it's like style, it's the clothes we wear, the colors we like, the jewelry that you wear, the cologne and the perfume we wear, it can be looked at as an extension of our personality, it's reflective on what's going on on the inside and true beauty cannot be apart from truth. And so there has to be an authenticity within someone, in their soul, and their heart, their mind their will and emotions, that can translate into the outward appearance. There should be an integrity there and authenticity there.
What I hear you saying, and I might be reading too much into it, but the Bible definitely talks about an inner beauty. And God looks at the heart. But it's almost pitted against the external and that that's bad. External is bad, internal is good. I hear you saying something different, though, that they're both important. They're both created by God, external beauty isn't bad. But it shouldn't be pitted against this idea, we shouldn't try to minimize our external self. But they're not pitted against each other, I guess is what I'm trying to say. You use the word integrity, and integrity means a oneness. There should be a oneness between internal and external. I'm just trying to get my head around this a little bit.
Yeah. And going back to the creation story, and when God delighted in his creation, and a layer of Tov, is aesthetically pleasing. Now, from the perspective of God. So I think about there was gold in the garden. Why was there gold in the garden? Why does there needs to be gold in the garden, other than oh, my gosh, it's beautiful.
It was good gold.
I mean, I was just thinking about that as well. I mean, why was there the variety of fruit in the garden? Why was there such tastes, diversity? Why was there so many bright colors? And all of those things are the external world, God could have just given us one food that nourishes perfectly, and yet he didn't. And he loves beauty, he loves that. And he loves giving us the experience and the freewill to go and take what he gave us. What was in the garden is now what we can turn into beautiful paintings and to makeup and all of these things, and make things even more beautiful with them. And he sits back and he applauds. I mean, there's that verse, the kings of the nations will bring the splendor of their kingdoms into heaven. Like we're gonna bring our artwork and our beauty that we've made with what he gave us some creation, to heaven, which I'm so excited to bring some of my artwork to heaven.
And in that way, Luke, I think about that we get to worship twice, we get to worship God with the gifts from the talent he has given us here on Earth, and give it back to him and multiply it and be a good steward of that thing, glory to him as we bring goodness to others. And then we get to heaven, we're casting our crowns at a feet, we get to worship again and all eternity. And so there's a, I believe it was Socrates, who is credited to say something like this, that Socrates argued that creative expressions that tell lies about God cannot be worthy of claiming beauty. When I think about beauty is, it's always connected to truth and goodness and true beauty will always point us to beauty itself, the origin of beauty. Think about how many people are, they get out of their car, pull their carts out of the road, to take in a double rainbow, or a bright pink sunset. They're wowed by beauty, it captures their attention, it moves you. So what we find beautiful is completely utterly foundationally important, because what we find beautiful draws on that direction. So I always want beauty to point back to Heaven. And I think that as women, because I work with women, not just my 25 years of hair and makeup, although I've worked with men all 25 years, because anytime anybody goes on TV, I'm there to eliminate any distractions, I will say, Okay?
And some of us have more distractions than others, right?
So I've been working with women for 25 years in that capacity. And now almost three years in a soul care, spiritual formation capacity. And my heart is beauty. The beauty that is in you is a gift from God, He entrusted you with that. It will naturally garner people's attention. It will attract people, people are attracted to beauty. If you don't have a message, if you don't have a story that God is speaking through your life. If you don't know what that is yet, you won't be able to point back to heaven, then all eyes are gonna be on you. Because people are attracted to beautiful things. And either you'll fall under insecurity, like, oh, my gosh, they're looking at me, I don't know what to do. What am I? I don't know, or pride, which I think is insecurity, honestly.
It's two sides of the same coin. That's right.
But I hope the image is here, and for women listening, God created beauty in such a way that people are wowed by it, they're wooed by it. And so God entrusted women and men with his beauty, and it's to point back to him. And so knowing your purpose, knowing the story that God wants to write that he is that he has been riding through your life has been foundational for me. Because when there are moments where I know that something that I have created, something that I'm a part of, my presence, whether that's joy when I walked into the room, and people are like, Whoa, how do you have so much joy, that beauty, that they're seeing. And it's Jesus in me that they're seeing. And so it would be a disservice if I didn't let them know the origin of that thing that they're attracted to. And not let them just think like, oh, yeah, that was me. But knowing where that comes from, and being so obsessed about it all, I want other people to know this too. So beauty will get the attention, and then we have this opportunity to point people back in the direction of beauty itself. Does that make sense?
Absolutely. As we've been talking about beauty over the last several months, in conjunction with the release of Darrow's book, Call of the Balladeers, a Call for the Balladeers, I always get the title mixed up. But one of the things that really stood out to me was that as a church, I think, at least growing up in the church, I think the church has really understood, we talked about truth, goodness and beauty. Goodness has been clearly understood in the sense of, there's a definite right and wrong, right? And we're to be holy, we're to be good. We're to push into what is right. And truth. Truth is also very important, we need to tell the truth, to lie is wrong, and we need to be people who are honest and truthful. And truth is incredibly important. But then when you get to beauty, there's a lot more confusion about that one, and I think part of what we're rediscovering today is just the importance of beauty. And I think what's caused some of the confusion is that there's been this lie that a beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it's completely relative, there is no kind of objective beauty right? It's just whatever you think is beautiful. But you can say the same thing about actually these other two aspects as well right? I mean, you can be a moral relativist, right? In a fallen world you can relativize everything, goodness can be relativized moral relativity and truth, what's your truth, my truth, who knows what truth is? But that's not true. There's an objective basis for all three of these things. There's an objective basis for truth for what is right morally truth, excuse me, truth goodness, and this is the new one for me, beauty too! Beauty is not subjective. There's an objective beauty, and in a fallen world, it gets twisted, right? And we call things that aren't beautiful, beautiful, etc. And it can get really kind of crazy, but we shouldn't be thinking oh, there isn't an objective basis for beauty, there is! And God's character as you said, God is the definition for beauty and beauty is as important as these other two. Sorry, I'm going off here a little bit on a sermon but I do think that what you're saying, is just so important. It needs to be recovered in our time.
Can I just say you're twisting my mind a little bit here. So I'm listening again intently Jessica, and I'm going okay, so what she's saying is that I'm in front of the mirror, I just got a haircut. I don't like it that much, because sticking out the wrong way or something. And my question has to be, does my look point people to God's beauty? Does it bring attention to God's beauty? Does it somehow enhance what God says is beautiful? Is that what you're saying to me? That when I when it because personal beauty is a person, whether it guys don't, you know, we don't hang up on like women do, but, but we still care? You know, we don't want to. So,
What comes to mind Dwight, as you're saying that, is the principle of stewardship. Are you taking good care of the thing that God gave you? And is there joy?
To make it look nice?
Yeah, I think of Daniel, the opening chapter of Daniel, and that Daniel and the Hebrew young men were brought into Nebuchadnezzar, I mean, they were after the smart, the good looking, the strong, and they were noticed for their healthiness. I know God is sovereign, God moved them into that position. But when I read Daniel 1, I read and I hear "Whoa, stewardship." I also read stewardship like healthiness, for me, and I'd love to hear thoughts on this, is synonymous with holiness, because if I am holy because of Jesus, so I am set apart, then the healthiest thing for me to do is to embrace and live out holiness. And, and think of wholeness, W H, O, L, E, and everything is stewardship. Everything is a gift from God. And one of my favorite chunks of Genesis, and I am answering the question Dwight, is Genesis 2:15. And I know we all geek out over this text, too. But this is where we are introduced to this idea, this invitation to steward what is God's, that in Genesis 2:15, the Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden, to what? Work it and watch over it, work it and watch over it. And then the Lord commanded the man, you are free to eat from any tree in the garden. But you must not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, from the day you eat from it, you will certainly die. So kind of want to unpack both of those parts. But the beginning stewardship, if we don't get Genesis 1:1, if we can't grasp that, we won't be able to fully understand it with our limited human brain, but if we don't come into alignment with "Okay, I see you, God, you created everything at the beginning, before humanity was breathed into existence. The great Triune God was there, community was there, love was there." So if we don't get that God is creator, then we don't know that everything belongs to him. And we might think twice about well, what do I have to take care of myself for? It's my life. No, actually, you are created by the creator of the world. And Jesus bought you at a great price. You're redeemed by Jesus. And so when we look at Genesis 1:1 God created, in the beginning God created everything, then we can grow to understand the concept of the biblical principle of stewardship. And now everything I have, it has been entrusted to me by God, I want to take really good care of it. I desire to be healthy, I desire to be holy, I desire to be beautiful, because it always will always point back to my Creator. And that's being a good steward, that's being a faithful daughter, it's being a faithful son. And so as you were talking about that, Dwight, yeah, we're going to have to live in the tension of as we get older, I'll be 42 in a couple of weeks and things are looking different, right? I've tried to prepare my mind before but beauty will always be in me. Even though my body will be aging. Beauty is not only youthfulness, youthfulness is beautiful, but beauty is also in the old age and the gray hair and the wrinkled smile. And we can't be committed to just one way of thinking about beauty. Beauty is eternal. And stewardship has to be a part of it. And the heart of the matter is really the heart of the matter. And I do think that the outward will reflect the inward, that's what happens naturally.
Yeah. So to summarize, you're saying, "Dwight, you be as beautiful as you can be for God."
You go, Dwight, you live your best life.
I think sometimes extremes help us to think clearly too. So let's say you just get up in the morning, your hair's a mess, You got nose hair, you haven't trimmed your nose hairs, you've got...
John the Baptist.
He wasn't beautiful? Make your point Scott, make your point.
I'm thinking of Mother Teresa again. I had a chance to meet Mother Teresa many years ago, and she's had a real influence on my life. And she would rescue dying men from the gutter. When she was alive, her ministry was. And they were ugly, because they were literally unkept. I mean, they smelled, their hair had not been cut. They had sores, and bugs, and insects, and you name it. That's not beauty. And we all know that. Beauty is the opposite of that, in a sense, it's being cleaned and cared for and having your hair cut and being washed. And there's a beauty to that that's inherent. That now it's external. So I think that's kind of what I'm hearing you say, Jessica, this is important, it is stewardship, but it's also beauty. When you see the change, that big difference, you go "Wow," that's what you say you go, "Wow," this is a big something, you're drawn to it, like you're saying.
And what I hear is the motivation isn't, "Well how can I look beautiful, so that the world will love me?" It's how can I look beautiful for God? So that the world would love God, and be attracted to his beauty. I mean, that's a little esoteric, and I know we're going off a little bit there. But really, there is a big thing about, why do I want to be beautiful? Is it for me to attract attention to myself and to be loved? Or is to somehow reflect the God of the universe who created me and says, do your best Dwight, comb your hair, get up, take a shower, look halfway decent, do your best.
Well, think about it this way. What do you guys think about this? Beauty isn't anything to be applied beauty is to be unveiled. If God deposited, if he breathed his breath, and you became a living being, Adam became a living being, you became a living being. And if each of us as we know we have been made in the likeness and the image of God, then we have been birthed with the breath of God in our being. So beauty is intrinsic to being human. And it's only when we're redeemed by Jesus, that we step into the fullness of that beauty.
I love that. Jessica, I love what you're saying about beauty being intrinsic to what it means to be human. Because we're made in God's image. Now we tend to look at beauty. "Oh, you're more beautiful, you're less beautiful." It's very much external. But no, it's intrinsic to what it means to be human. And then it needs to be kind of like you say, almost, it's there, it just needs to be revealed. And it can be, through inward and outward change, through through becoming more like Christ. Go ahead, Luke, what are you thinking?
And I like that concept of not covering up the beauty that God gave you or changing it too much. I always love to look at creation and think of it as God's painting, his masterpiece, and when I look at something that I've painted, and I'm proud of it and happy that I made that and so forth. I wouldn't want someone to go and change it, or diminish it, or hurt it, or whatnot. So when you look at creation, it just gives you a real, the stewardship there, the sense of stewardship. So the same thing with our body. God made each and everyone of us individual, very distinct looking. All totally unique. But those are his paintings, that's his masterpiece and he says we are very good. So why would we go and cover that up or say we're not beautiful?
Well it does say to work it, work and take care of it, so I make my yard as pretty as I can.
But that doesn't mean change it is my point.
We bring out the beauty that's in creation.
We bring out the beauty that's there. I think that's very similar.
That's what you were saying Jessica.
Yeah, this is what we have apply to it, that actually enhances the beauty or brings it out.
And I think, Scott, to your point, that illustration Mother Teresa, she was responding to beauty, the beauty of God, she was doing a beautiful thing. And she was lifting these humans up and dusting them off and unveiling the beauty within them already. That what was done to them, and maybe the ideology in which the ideology in which they grew up under, has pushed on them something that was the antithesis of beauty. It was ugliness, it told a lie about who God was. And therefore, if people are believing a lie about who God is, they're going to believe a lie about who they are. So I think of Mother Teresa and how we should all be lifting other people up and like just filling them in truth. This is who God is.
Revealing the beauty that is there.
Let me clean up the dirt, let me, I just want to celebrate you and honor you, because it's in you.
I can tell Jessica, why when you heard, how did you first connect with us? Was it a podcast? Was it social media? What was the first introduction you had to the DNA?
An Instagram post, and it was the Beauty, Goodness, Truth.
Luke, thank you for posting. Luke posts for us, are grateful for your work, Luke. No, super grateful because we wouldn't have met you otherwise, Jessica. And I can tell why we connect. Even though we have such different backgrounds, I mean, really different backgrounds. But we connect, because of this deep kind of worldview thinking, we want to think of Scripture not just as a message of salvation, as important as that is, but it's a comprehensive way of understanding all of reality, you clearly do. I mean, that's really evident, as we're talking here, you've thought very deeply and biblically. And so I can see why we connect there.
One more point, just to build on what Jessica has been saying. My wife is a counselor, and works primarily with females, I mean, only with females, sometimes married couples. But she hasn't said a lot recently, but she'll often say, she's been working with somebody. And it's this idea of soul care, where somebody's soul starts to develop and flourish and become a whole and healed. And she goes, and every week she gets beautifuller, or more beautiful and more beautiful.
And you can literally see it, and you're attracted to it. This is what you're saying, this attraction.
There's this one woman talking about other women. And she goes, "And I can see it happening. And it's right there in front of me reflected". But it's soul care, what's changing is their soul.
And you see it often in the eyes. Actually, the Bible talks a lot about the eyes as kind of the window of the soul. Go ahead, Jessica, you're gonna say something on that. Yeah.
I really thought about it, like their eyes were bright!
It's really fascinating.
You know what? Two things really quickly are jumping out to me, and I just want to share the fact that Eve was the only woman who walked the earth before shame, pain, loss, and cellulite, entered the picture. No I'm kidding. Before anything shifted, Eve walked in perfection. And so we would then gather that Eve was the only perfect woman and so she was perfectly beautiful. And yet, the Bible doesn't give any details about the way she looked. The Bible gives details about how other women looked, how other men looked. And I believe it's purposeful, that the most beautiful woman who ever walked the earth, we don't have any details about how she looked. But we have details about her purpose, and how she worked through the world, her function rather than just her form. And I love that because beauty, it just looks this way. Beauty is so diverse because God is so creative creator. As I spent 25 years doing makeup, a lot of times I would try to think of okay, "Well, what haven't I done yet?" And it was so hard to do something totally different. And yet, when I look at everybody's face, God did that. God did something different, and every human beings' face, and they're all birthed with the beauty of God, in the glory of God. Now I want to awaken that, I love that this is your passion too, and my passion that I want to lead people into truth and awaken them to the reality of a beautiful God who loves them, who made a way to rescue them, that we can be redeemed back into our Genesis 1-2 intended goodness, and leadership and beauty. And then I think of King Solomon. How he built the temple of God with such precision and detail, you better believe that temple was aesthetically pleasing. And so beauty is from God. Beauty is always tied to goodness and truth, true beauty. And so we are all on a quest to live out that truth and goodness, as we reflect the beauty of God to the world. Yeah.
Amen. Jesse, I feel like we're, oh just go ahead Luke, I don't want too...
I'm really starting to realize why you keep saying you found your people. I totally agree. And it's so interesting to go back and forth with you. And now I'm just thinking more about your your current ministry you do with Beautiful Minds Academy. And one time I heard you explaining it, and you said something like, you helped Christian women dive into the Word, and align themselves authentically, to live out the person that God made them to be, to live out their God-given assignment here on Earth. And that's really similar with our mission. I mean, what you're doing is you're making disciples.
About your assignment, what struck me when you were telling your story about feeling called into this whole vocation of makeup, that you got discouragement from the church on that, and you had to develop your own theology to support that in a way and it connected with me, because my first vocation coming out of college was was in Christian relief and development and poverty industry in the church, I'll never forget, when I first kind of went to the Mission Board of the church, that I was a part of asking for support to go serve with Food for the Hungry overseas, they weren't supportive of the idea. And the reason they weren't supportive is because for them, it was a distraction from the higher calling, which was evangelism and church planting and concerned for the poor and the needy was something that, maybe it was important but not as important, and frankly, the poor world, you're always going to have the poor with you, it's kind of a waste of time to try to do anything about that. So I just share all that, because you had a similar kind of experience, where you felt a strong sense of calling from God into something that the church, its theology didn't support it, let's say, and so you had to move into that on your own.
Yeah, and I think that's because too often we don't understand our God given assignment here on Earth. And we think about, it's a whole thing, we talk about all the time with the gospel of salvation versus the gospel of the kingdom. And the gospel of salvation looks a lot at Heaven, and going to Heaven, and evangelism, and so forth. It's super important. But equally as important is the gospel of Kingdom, about how we should live our lives here on Earth, after we become Christian. That's what you're really working on now with your Beautiful Minds Academy. It sounds like, I'd love to hear a little bit more about that, in what you do, and how you're practically taking these biblical principles like beauty and joy, and sharing those and discipling women in them.
I would love to share a little bit about that. We're an online ministry, and we do offline events and retreats around the nation as well. And our online ministry, we have an app, it's called the Beautiful Mind Academy, we have over 500 members, Christian women from all over the globe. And it's just phenomenal to learn from women in Africa and Europe and Asia and West and East Coast and have conversations. One of the big things I mean, we have five core values, and number one is truth, Holy Spirit led, what's the word of God, let's dive into the Word of God. There's a quote that I really love. It says, "The Word of God doesn't need to be rewritten, it needs to be reread." And so we dive into cultural contexts and original language. And we just, I always use the term "geek out," because we're just spending time asking questions of the text, of the author of the text, which is the living God, and creating a space, a safe space to ask questions. I often think when I go to church, I've grown up in church. There is not a lot of question asking. And so you see a lot of Christians growing up without developing critical thinking skills. And then they enter into university and then they encounter critical thinking, and then they might walk away from their faith. And I look at culture today, and I think, Oh, these poor children, they just weren't discipled by truth. They were discipled by lies, by the lies of the culture, and so discipleship is a huge passion of my heart and that's what we're doing foundationally in the Beautiful Mind Academy and making a space for women to come together and explore the Word of God. And I've watched a lot of what you all, the ministry of DNA, the video series you put out in the podcast. And I know we love the Hebrew word of Avodah, which appears many times and throughout Genesis and Genesis 2:15 like I read, to work it and watch over it, to work and worship were our two primary responsibilities in the Garden before the Fall, and it still is. And this beautiful Hebrew word of Avodah means work, worship, and service. And so everything that we do should be, can be, we get to look at it as, "I'm worshiping the living God through the work that I do. I'm serving people through the work that I do in the worship that I give." And so we create a safe place, I keep repeating that term, because in 2020, I didn't know what the heck to do. I mean, the world was on fire. And I just knew God was calling me to build something. I remember praying, Lord, what do you want me to do? What do you want me to do with this online community? And I heard the Holy Spirit gently whisper, "Create a safe place for my daughters to dwell." Not all about doing, but about being. And therefore think about the posture of being, it really is the same posture as receiving, being poured into by the Spirit of God, by the love of God, before we go and do. And to your point, Luke, when you say a lot of Christians don't know their assignment. And I think a lot of people don't know their assignment. But let's talk about our brothers and sisters in Christ. And I think that we've forgotten that being with God is first. There's an order to things. And being and doing are equally important, right? Faith without works is dead. Yet being is the beginning, is the genesis, of how we find and live fully alive. And what we do at the Beautiful Mind Academy through the different guest speakers that we bring in, the different coaching mentorship programs that we have, we create that safe place for women to be with each other, but more importantly, with the Lord, to be poured into, to ask questions, to imagine, to align our holy imagination with Gods', before we go out and do for the Lord, because a lot of people are burned out doing for the Lord, instead of spending the time being with the Lord. And so that's one of my big passions too.
Well, it sounds like such an important ministry. I think as we wrap up today, I just want to encourage our listeners to check it out. If what Jessica is saying rings with you, if it really is something that is appealing to you, it's called Beautiful Minds Academy. And, Jessica, I'm just so grateful to God, that he brought about a connection between you and us. And I really do feel like I found a sister in Christ, somebody who is very, you're very, very thoughtful, and you've clearly thought deeply about these important biblical truths. And you've brought that into your ministry in your work, so thanks for sharing those with us today a little bit, and with all those people that you're ministering to. Guys, any final thoughts from you as we wrap up today?
Thank you. It's been a pleasure.
Guys, did this fly by as quickly for you as it did for me?
I think we got to have you back, Jessica. I feel like we're just scratching the surface. But I love the discussion today. And I love so much of what you shared with us. It was really profound.
I'm honored, and I feel the same way. Thank you, brothers for having me, and for being who you are. And then from that place doing what you do, because it's making a huge meaningful impact into eternity. And so I'm just really thankful to be a part of the DNA family now.
Amen. Well, great. Thanks, Jessica. And thank you all for listening to another episode of Ideas Have Consequences, the podcast of the Disciple Nations Alliance.
Thank you for listening to today's discussion with Jessica Shakir. For the women in our audience, if you want to learn more about the amazing discipleship work that Jessica is doing, the easiest way to find all that she has to offer is by visiting her Instagram at Jessicashakirbeauty, all one word, and from there, going to her bio and clicking on the link that she has there, where you will easily find her signup page for Beautiful Minds Academy, as well as her website which is beautifulmindsacademy.org, as well as many other resources and other podcasts that she's been on as well. Or, as always, you can go to this episode's landing page where we've included all of the resources that we mentioned in this episode, and so much more. To find that page, you can just scroll down to the episode landing page and tap on the link that you see there. Thank you all again for joining us today, I really hope you enjoyed this discussion on joy, beauty, and discipling nations, as much as we did. If so, please consider sharing this episode with a friend. Thanks, and to end this episode, I want to leave you guys with Ephesians 2:10. For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do. Have a great week everyone and let's go do the good work that God has prepared for us! Ideas Have Consequences is brought to you by the Disciple Nations Alliance, to learn more about our ministry you can find us on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube or on our website which is disciplenations.org