Put Off. Put On. by Alyssa Bethke (Four encouragements for those who struggle with eating disorders & body image)
As I was walking through the healing process with my eating disorder, a huge factor was transforming my thoughts. See our minds are a battlefield, and we have to constantly be on guard- to take every thought captive to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5) It’s so easy to think a thought, and then dwell there- to let it take root in your mind and eventually let it dig its sharp claws into your heart. See I had believed lies about my body image, control, and eating for so long that they dictated how I saw myself, how I acted and how I felt. In order to find healing, I had to get to the root, and dig out those ugly lies, and replace them with truth. God’s truth. Put off. Put on.
2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” God’s word is alive and active. It’s not just words on a page, but actually has power to heal and transform. God has breathed these words out, and He’s given them to us so we can be equipped for every good work. So we can be armed for war, prepared for the battle, ready to do what’s right.
The Lord revealed four truths to me during this time. Yes, I had heard them all before, but I never actually applied it to my life. Application is key. But what exactly does that look like? In this situation, it meant that I memorized these verses. I let my mind dwell on them. And when a lie popped into in my head, I quickly recited these verses to myself, read them, or started to preach them to myself. Sometimes in my head, sometimes out loud. (I know, I’m a little kooky!) Obviously I wasn’t perfect, and sometimes I’d let lies creep in. I still have to fight each day to put on God’s truth. But the Spirit lives in us beloved! In Him, we can daily fight for truth, daily preach the good news to ourselves. Don’t despair beloved. You are not alone in your battle. God fights for you. He’s given you every tool you need.
1. We are made in the image of God. (Gen. 1:27) God created us to be His image bearers. You are created by the Maker God, to reflect Christ. To know Jesus. To be His. You are covered with His fingerprints. You are loved. You are wanted. You are His ambassadors.
2. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139) God handcrafted us. He formed us in our mother’s wombs. He thought of every limb, every hair, every muscle and every skin cell. He has uniquely made you beloved. You are a treasure, a beautiful work of art. He didn’t just turn his head and poof you appeared! No, Heintentionally made every part of you, for a purpose.
3.We are the temple of God (1 Cor. 6:19-20) Beloved, if you are in Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells in you. He’s there. He’s with you. Forever. He’s not leaving. You are the temple of God. Therefore, you are called to be a good steward of what God has given you. God has blessed you with a body—don’t harm it. Don’t throw it away. Take care of yourself. Drink lots of water. Exercise. Eat healthy. Eat well. Eat enough. Don’t overeat. Don’t throw up the nutrients your body needs. Don’t overwork out and bring your body to complete exhaustion.
4. We must give thanks (1 Thess. 5:18) Not too often in the bible is it so clear as to what the will of God is. But here, He is quite clear. Give thanks. Every time we give thanks, we are praising Him, bringing our attention to Him. Beloved, give thanks- for the body you have, that you’re able to work out to keep your heart healthy, for the food you eat; for your muscles, your mind, your ability to be creative with food, for time to fellowship with people over meals. Let thanksgiving replace your fear, or insecurities.
I know that this battle you are in is a journey. Most likely you won’t heal overnight. But I hope these 4 truths encourage you and are tools for you to use as you walk this out. It takes work. You must do something. Put off. Put on. But the Holy Spirit is your Helper, and community is key. You don’t have to fight alone. Start today by storing these verses in your heart. Maybe you can write them on a 3 x 5 card, put them on your mirror in the bathroom, and start to memorize them. You will be amazed at how spending 5 minutes a day memorizing His word will fill you with hope as you dwell on His truth. We must put off the lies of this world, satan and our flesh beloved. And we must put on the truth that sets us free.