“Beautiful Creation of Substance”
by Shauna Wallace
“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed” (Psalm 139:16).
I call it a panic run – the kind I desperately and compulsively had to have when I was feeling particularly fat and repulsive. Never mind that I was a size four, and it’s impossible to be a size four and be fat. That truth was buried deep beneath a lie I had believed most of my life: to be thin is to be lovable, and value is assigned by the world’s estimation of physical beauty and appearance.
I was in my mid-thirties. My eating disorder started when I was fifteen. I had long stopped binging and purging, but the spiritual bondage of the compulsion to be in control and thin still ruled my thoughts, and therefore my emotions, and therefore the atmosphere of my home and relationships.
While on this particular panic run…
…the Lord spoke to me. Not in an audible voice, but certainly in a clear one. He said: “Shauna, at your funeral, do you really think your kids are going to praise you for being a size four all your life?”
In an instant, His question woke me up to the destruction my misplaced obsession and affection was causing me and those I loved the most. And for what? So the world would love me?
Perhaps you know exactly what I’m talking about. You’ve had an eating disorder or have struggled with allowing your looks to determine your worth and lovability. Perhaps the Lord has exposed a different lie that’s driving you away from Him instead of believing His truth that draws us intimately closer to Him.
The thing is, no matter who we are, what our past or present is, what we’ve battled or are fighting right now, our substance has nothing to do with what the world says is important.
Do you need to hear that? I do!
It’s difficult to believe that when we live in a culture that worships sexy, young bodies, worldly possessions, measurable accomplishments, and enviable experiences. Who we know, our virtual popularity, what we do and have – it’s all about what the eye can see.
Does anyone else struggle with this? I personally have spent a lifetime trying to create the right combination of body composition, hair, clear and young skin, and wardrobe. Debt, eating disorders, and compulsive addictions were symptoms of a deeper problem: defining myself by the world’s standards and not by the Lord’s.
To this day, I still strive for that certain outward image I think is going to make me happy. I WANT to look and feel good. But what God is teaching me – and where His truth is setting me free from the NEED to look and be a certain way – is that it’s not what defines me.
And if that’s not what He considers to be our substance, neither should we.
You see, He doesn’t see the outside, like we do. He sees the heart, and that’s the real location of substance. It’s the part of us He saw before our mom’s egg and dad’s sperm met to form the embryo that became the fetus that became the us. Literally, in the Hebrew, that’s the meaning of substance.
We weren’t even formed when God saw our substance!
Lord, please let us GET the significance of this truth!
I’ll say it again: We weren’t even formed when God saw our substance.
You know what that means, then? Our substance has nothing to do with how we are formed! It has nothing to do with what we look like or what we have or haven’t done or accomplished.
The essence of who we are is who we were when God saw us before He formed us. THAT is what defines us. That is how our worth is measured.
How do we break free from lies that have become strongholds in our lives?
Stay tuned for Part 2 next week for the conclusion of Shauna’s story.
An inspirational writer, teacher, and speaker, Shauna Wallace burns with passion to see women experience the fullness of God’s grace, faithfulness, peace, joy, protection, and provision by becoming wholly His. Finding hope and life in God’s word motivates her to help other women discover God’s power to transform lives.
Transparent and real, she opens her life and heart to encourage others. She and her husband, James, serve their church, community, and clients of their custom home building business. As a homeschooling stay-at-home mother of four, Shauna treasures the privilege of being James’ helpmate and training her children in the ways of the Lord. Check Out Shauna’s Blog Here!