The problem with an easy happy life… it masks your need for the Lord. Not until you feel true pain are you faced with your true faith. True pain can bring you closer to God if you make it happen. For those of you who have not felt true pain I pray that you take the strength and wisdom from my post when it does come your way.
This Facebook page, this blog… you guys have been with me through so many amazing things! I have shared all of the glorious things that have happened to my family over the last 3 years with all of you. Our lives have been incredible… but I have to admit something and be totally honest, because I owe it to you <3
I don’t have all of the answer… Like I thought!
In fact I have been a fare-weather Christian and rather than hiding that pain and realization from you, I am going to share with you what I am going through! I celebrated God, gave him the glory of my successful business and the happiness of my family, followed him for the principles of my life! I have shared with all of you how I give the Glory to God, and I do, but something recently happened where a massive bandage was ripped off and my true faith revealed its-self. In the midst of pain… I lost my faith. I ran away from God. My true Christian maturity was shown.
I had no idea until this bandage was ripped off. I am always sharing with you positivity, light, happiness, change for the better, but what about pain? I have not shared pain because I had not let myself truly feel pain until recently. This is why I chose to go on project SELF! But project self very very quickly turned into project Jesus.
It started when my step father passed away. I felt momentary pain and then I tucked it away rather than feeling it, learning form it, and understanding it. That tucking away turned into questions and doubts in the Lord. I asked a lot of questions about WHY? But I never actively searched my answers. Next, my Father has been mentally illl with Schitzophrenia since I was a young girl. I chose to run away from that knowledge, to disassociate myself from the information out there about his illness and how it could affect me in my adult years. After visiting my Dad for the first time in 7 years I started to open my eyes to the information and I did not like what I was reading. His illness is hereditary, the chances of me getting it are very low… but still possible. I also read that I am approaching the age at which most people do get this illness. Let me just say I have 0 symptoms, but It still paralyses me to think of the possibility.
This information, and facts created serious fears within me, that turned into anxiety, that turned into random panic attacks, insomnia and that turned into depression. As I was seeking answers to this news it created a whirl wind of questions about my life. It caused to me question my career, where we live, the way I was living my life, the amount of hours I was spending on my business and not with my Family. Out of no where the clouds became heavier and I started to realize that I did not love Austin like I had thought. I felt epically confused, scared and jolted. How on earth God did I go from knowing all the answers, feeling super secure, peaceful and happy to anxiety and feeling so very very low? I then began to feel this immense resentment towards my Beachbody Business! I felt angry that I had to put up a front every day as if I were happy. I felt immense pressure to be perfect. I felt as if I was not allowed to feel real painful feelings anymore because I would lose my business and my Family would suffer if I showed a wince of negativity and pain. If I showed my flaws and my baggage … people would stop following me. After -all I had built my entire business on positivity, change, love, and faith… and I felt none of these things all of sudden. I had created an online persona that I felt like I needed to live up to, and that pressure was to much. I was not living up to my message, my persona, and I felt like a fraud. I felt like I was letting everyone down and I resented the following I built and my business.
The painful knowledge I received about my Father’s illness frightened me to the point of feeling paralyzed in my emotions. I couldn’t sleep for weeks, which made me exhausted and emotional. I couldn’t post on my blog, newsfeed, or instagram without feeling like a fraud. My team calls were messy, and I couldn’t be affective like I had wanted to be. Everywhere I turned I felt scared. Was I becoming sick? Was I losing my grip? Was I falling apart? Was I becoming LESS PERFECT? Was I going to let my Family down? Was I going to fail fail fail? Point blank: Was I going crazy?! I was out of control scared.
What did the ripping of this bandage show me? I was not living a Jesus centered life. I was not living my life for him… I was living my life for my own personal happiness. I was finding happiness and fulfillment in my own successes and life journey, but not in his word or in him. I was building treasures on this planet, but not building treasures in heaven. I was not living for heaven as my salvation, but living for this life every second of the day. I was chasing perfect! I was chasing being the Perfect Top 10 15 Star Diamond Beachbody Coach. I was chasing the perfect healthy body, I was chasing the perfect ideal of being a Mom, I was chasing what Success was supposed to look like in my business around the clock but I was not chasing Jesus. I was not chasing faith. My happiness was built on the sand and not on the rock. Once I had achieved all of my goals, reached the income that my family so needed to thrive, I felt emptiness. Whenever something threatened to take away my perfection… I would feel tremendous anxiety and fearful thoughts… not placing my Faith in God, but rather placing my faith in my own understanding and strength.
When the bandage was pulled off, when pain, confusion, came into my life, rather than reacting in faith and knowing that the Lord heals all and will catch me if I fall, I ran for the hills towards fear, depression and anxiety. And I quickly realized that I was not living God’s equation for life. I was living Anita’s equation for life! I was seeking happiness through the success of my business, and how that could serve me. I was helping people on my terms. I was spending way to many hours working, and not enough hours working on my relationship with God and my relationship with my family. I worked hard for 3 years to create freedom… FREEDOM FOR WHAT? If I was feeling so worn thin and lost… was that chase worth it? Sure it was… but not worth it in what I was chasing after, but worth it in what God wanted for my life and Family and I needed to see that.
My marriage was starting to suffer and I did not even see it, because I was to busy trying to reach a goal. My daughter saw less of me because I was trying to be the perfect everything in my business, and at what Society called a perfect Mother. I was not seeking how to be better for what God had planned for me. I ran around to fast, so much… how could God get a word in… I was not listening to him! To do lists, events, seminars, workshops, trip after trip, moving suddenly… I never stopped to listen! God was trying to get a word in and I blanked his voice out.
So God ripped off my bandage. Took away my Grand Rapids Michigan comfort blanket, stuck me in a city that made me very uncomfortable with no where comforting to turn and threw some really scary information in my face. At first I was angry. At first I was upset, and I wanted to run away from God. God if you are real, than why so much pain right now? But I stayed epically consistently in my prayers, I began to read the Bible more and more, I began to spend more time with my Family, I began to listen for God, I spent every night in meditation and prayer… and slowly but surely peace started to come back into my heart. The answers to why I have been in such turmoil started to become clear. I was not living a life of intentional purpose, I was not living for Jesus, I was living for my own personal happiness and not for pleasing him.
So my life is not all butterflies and shining stars you see! You see the highlight reel, and I am not totally okay with that. I want you to see the changes, the painful stuff, the things that I am learning through my walk with Jesus and my business. I am learning that you can have it all, but there has to be balance, and the core foundation and principles of the way you live your life must be for JESUS and not for your own understanding and happiness. I share this with all of you with a heavy heart, while taking a major leap of faith. I was hesitant to share this because I thought “How can someone feeling so broken help someone else see hope?” but then God put it in my heart to share with all of you my journey. Perhaps I will make people uncomfortable with all of my talk about Jesus, but when I committed to walking with the Lord I committed to being his witness and sharing my testimony.
I have a following of over 100,000 people… I have a voice and perhaps I can offer hope and change through my journey. I have been through turmoil and depression in the past and God healed me then… luckily this time I knew he could heal me again.
I don’t have all of the answers, and I may never. This life of purpose and this life with Christ is a life long journey, but know that when pain is thrown your way, that is when the ultimate tests of your faith begin and that is when you must know to fight for your faith. Push back the negativity, the evil in the world, feel the pain, but work to find peace in Jesus, not in your own understanding. It will be very difficult. God lets a certain amount of evil in the world for his own plan, and his plan also involves your growth as an individual and believer. We may never understand his plan, but that is the beauty of life. It is his plan, not ours! Faith involves understanding that plan and knowing that we can release control and let God take the wheel. Easier said that done right? Of course… but that is why Faith is a full time job, something we must work on and arm ourselves with daily.
I hope that this story helps someone who is going through pain, internal turmoil, anxiety, and depression. The way I cope and deal with things like this is through writing and sharing… so I hope you will respect my post and learn from it.