Sabbath Ramblings: Who Am I?

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who am i
Articles, Sabbath Ramblings

I got lucky.

On second thought, I need to work that “lucky” expression out of my vernacular. I still find myself lazily using it, even when writing. Luck, coincidence, and seeming serendipity are all simply signs of a great God doing His work in mysterious ways.

So a more appropriate phrase would be “God blessed me.”

Why do I say this?

Frankly, I was born into a very happy, stable home. The second-spawned of five siblings (one older brother, one younger brother, and two younger sisters), I was raised and homeschooled by newly Christian parents who—after moving to North Idaho to escape sin, drugs, crime, and turmoil in their cities of Miami (father) and Detroit (mother)—had a deep yearning in their hearts to raise their children in a safe, protected, and spiritually nourishing environment steeped in deep love and connection.

So as a result, from the beginning, I had no “childhood trauma.” I had very little adolescent angst. I was perfectly happy spending my days with my nose in a book, a violin on my shoulder, a chess pawn in my fingers, and a basketball or tennis racquet in my hands. Don't get me wrong, my childhood wasn't plain-jane or ho-hum, but did indeed involve very little drama, fights, heartache, or trouble. No drugs. No alcohol. No social media drama (heck, no smartphones!). Tons of reading. Very little pop culture drivel. Plenty of church and Sunday School. You get the idea.

Here's a perfect illustrative example: I recently came across a newspaper interview with me that took place when I was 14 years old. As you can see from the clipping below, the reporter astutely and accurately commented, “the most important things in Ben's life are his God and his family…”

That's just how I was.

I wasn't perfect, but in most respects, I was a pretty decent kid. I loved God, I dug morality and fairness, and I loved to make everybody around me happy.


The Slide To Inauthenticity

But eventually, I was traumatized—that is, if you consider trauma to be defined as Dr. Gabor Mate describes it: “a loss of connection to one's true self”.

See, I began college as an immature 15-year-old who probably should have been more socially responsible and spiritually prepared before diving headfirst into a giant booze-infused “academic gathering” of peers to impress. Almost immediately, I began transforming myself into who I thought the world expected me to be, what folks around me perceived as cool, and anything but my true, authentic self. After all, who could possibly be impressed by a homeschooled, chess-playing, fantasy-fiction-loving, Bible-believing, classical music enthusiast?

I began drinking and partying multiple times per week.

Sleeping around and treating women like objects.

Remodeling myself as a loud, boisterous, muscle-bound jock, while sidelining any of my creative or seemingly meek character traits.

Falling away from reading my Bible, praying, regularly attending church, and maintaining any semblance of union with God.

While still calling myself a Christian, my lifestyle reflected anything but.

Perhaps my only saving grace—despite my a pure neglect of spiritual disciplines—was that I did not shirk my academic and career disciplines during this time, and thus rose to the top of nearly every class in which I enrolled, completed a full pre-med curriculum, and attained a master's degree in exercise physiology and biomechanics, all while simultaneously moonlighting as a personal trainer, sports camp and tennis instructor, coffee shop barista, and bartender.

In my senior year of college, I married a wonderful, faithful, beautiful Christian girl named Jessa. I gained a slight sense of greater responsibility. I straightened up just a bit, or at least quit partying and drinking quite so much. I began to attend church more frequently, mostly to make my wife happy, but also because I had a slight stirring in my soul that it was probably the “right thing to do.” Then, three years into our marriage, we were blessed with twin boys, and my sense of responsibility even more dramatically shifted. I started a family constitution, a trust, a living will, and an investment portfolio. An outside observer may have assumed I was finally becoming a “man,” though I was still an irresponsible, selfish boy on the inside.

My neglect of the spiritual disciplines was painfully glaring. Studying Scripture, praying, meditating, fasting, silence, presence, and true worship of God were all shoved to the side in favor of pumping iron, drinking protein shakes, flexing, building a business, making money, seeking the praise of men and women, and ultimately, serving my false self while simultaneously staying severely disconnected from my true self.

Often to the neglect of my young family, I began a slow slide into the escape I could afford through workaholism. I built a successful chain of personal training studios and gyms, began making six figures a year as a health and exercise junkie “guru,” was nominated as America's top personal trainer, appeared on the cover of multiple fitness magazines, and simultaneously rose to the peak of athletic success as an adventure athlete who hopped on planes multiple times a week to leave town and compete, an Ironman racer who trained for hours a day while my family played alone at home, and a ripped, fit, picture-perfect image of all the shallow, pleasures of the flesh that the world holds dear. My dear wife Jessa patiently put up with my gallivanting about the globe engaged in my pursuit of ego-inflating enjoyments. She prayed earnestly for me, did the lion's share of raising our boys, attended church by herself as I traveled nearly every Sunday, and—by the grace of God—she somehow patiently put up with being married to the spiritual equivalent of an irresponsible, selfish brat.

I bought a condo. Then a house. Then another house. A couple of nice cars. Biohacking toys. More fitness equipment. Rifles, pistols, bows, arrows, spearfishing guns, gold, silver, bitcoin, and plenty of ribeye steaks. A guitar. A ukulele. A few drums. Nice things for my wife. Toys, toys, and more toys for my boys. A massive library of books. A thriving nutrition supplements company. A lucrative speaking and writing career. Then finally, a dream home on ten acres of forested land in Washington state. Fame, power, money, belongings, and social media followers were my holy metrics of success.

Yet even then, ten years into marriage, saturated with all the worldly success that society places on a pedestal, and from an outsider's perspective, becoming a man who had “made it” with a beautiful family, a successful career, social media fame, and a fit body, I was severely broken and unhappy.

There was never enough to satisfy my carnal cravings.

I succumbed to nearly every temptation the world threw at me.

I sacrificed relationships, friends, and family for all the notoriety, wealth, and prosperity I thought would make me happy.

I escaped the constant pricking of my conscience with what I knew deep down to be true and right by running physically and running emotionally—filling my life with a constant buzz of doing, doing, and doing that kept me from confronting the gaping hole of personal emptiness and unhappiness inside me.

I was disconnected from my true self.

I was traumatized without even knowing it.

And perhaps most sadly, I was disconnected from God.


My God-Shaped Hole

There was a distinct moment when I came to the realization that my priorities in life needed to seriously change and my path to the top of the mountain was in truth plunging my life, my family, and my relationship with God to the bottom of a dark valley.

That moment occurred when I realized I could no longer hide my rotten habits away from my patient and long-suffering wife. Upon returning from a long, solitary walk on a Sunday afternoon, I was convicted by God and broke down in front of Jessa, confessing to her that I had not been a faithful husband. Of course, I had amassed many other wrongdoings related to my inherent selfishness, but I knew that unfaithfulness to my wife was what was really eating me up from the inside out.

It was one of the most difficult conversations I've ever had. In an act of pure grace, kindness, and love, Jessa forgave me, but she was hurt to the core, and for weeks our relationship, already built upon the frail foundation of an absent husband and father, became even more rocky and precarious. I feared that I had screwed everything up – big time – and that the family I loved so much was now going to be torn apart in a public and embarrassing fashion. In the later years of their marriage, I had witnessed my own parents' painful divorce, felt as though the same tragedy was about to happen in my marriage—and worse yet, I knew it was all my fault.

And so one morning, days after my confession and sitting alone in my kitchen sipping coffee while staring off into the hills behind the house in the throes of frustration, fear, shame, and emotional alienation from Jessa, I realized that if I did not begin to tend to my spiritual health and restore my union with God, I really was going to lose all that really mattered in life. I was, as Mark 8:36 alludes to, going to be a man who had gained the whole world, yet lost his own soul.

That very morning, I went upstairs to the bedroom, found my dusty, neglected Bible, and cracked it open. It had been so long since I'd read God's word that I simply began with the very first chapter of Genesis.

After reading, I turned to God and began to pray. It felt awkward, foreign, and strange to be speaking to the Creator whom I had neglected for so long, but I poured my heart out to Him nonetheless in a desperate cry for help and direction. Later that week, I even wrote a personal prayer and began to recite it each and every morning, a prayer I continue to recite to this very day:

“Our Father in heaven, I surrender all to you
Turn me into the father and husband you would have for me to be
Into a man who will fulfill your great commission
And remove from me all judgment of others
Grant me your heavenly wisdom
Remove from me my worldly temptations
Teach me to listen to your still, small voice in the silence
And fill me with your peace, your love, and your joy. Amen.”

I also began to meditate.

And to journal.

As the months proceeded, I dove into the spiritual disciplines that I discuss here, voraciously consuming titles such as Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard Foster, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney, the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele A. Calhoun, and many other books far outside the realm of the fitness, science, nutrition, and biohacking literature I'd so myopically immersed myself in for oh-too-long.

I ferociously committed myself to my family, for the first time in years learning to be fully present with my wife and twin boys, trusting on God to provide for my needs rather than engaging in frantic, desperate workaholism, and being the father, the leader, and the man who I knew from my childhood that God called me to be (despite my decades-long resistance to accepting that calling and forsaking all my irresponsible boyish escapades).

Perhaps most importantly, over the next several months, God slowly opened my eyes and I began to realize that no amount of money, fame and famous friends, business success, fitness, dietary perfection, supplements, drugs, books, toys, or musical instruments can fill the “God-shaped hole” within one's heart.

See, every person has a void in their life that can only be filled by God.

This God-shaped hole is simply the innate longing of the heart for something outside itself, something transcendent, something “other” and something “greater.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 refers to this as the “eternity in man’s heart.” God made us for an eternal purpose, and only God can fulfill that deep-rooted desire for eternity. Nearly every religion that exists is based upon this innate desire to connect with someone or something greater than ourselves, and this desire can only be filled by God.

The problem is we silly, selfish humans can spend much of our life—or worse, all of our life—ignoring this hole or attempting to fill it with anything other than God. If it promises to fulfill our longing for meaning—whether business, family, sports and other hobbies, food, drink, exercise, and the like—then we keep dumping it into that hole, expecting that at some point, the hole will be full and the result will be the happiness we have been craving that nothing else seems to provide. Yet by pursuing these things that are not eternal, we remain unfulfilled and continue to wonder why our lives never seem satisfactory. Sure, we can achieve happiness for a short period of time, such as when we finally get to the body fat percentage we desire, discover the perfect diet, graduate college or graduate college again, cross the finish line of a triathlon, get married and have kids, win the lottery, or achieve massive business success—but nothing fulfills the longing for eternity.

People pursuing all things except God can certainly achieve some measure of “happiness” for a short period of time. But consider the words of King Solomon, who had all the riches, success, and power one could ever wish for—in short, a vast world of wealth that many humans spend their entire lives seeking. Yet Solomon called this all dissatisfactory vanity (Ecclesiastes 1). Solomon at least realized that all worldly pleasures in the absence of God are vain. Many other rich and successful people don't even arrive at that realization. Simply consider the Hollywood suicides of individuals like Robin Williams and Marilyn Monroe, the seeming unhappiness and unfulfilled attitude of great athletes like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, and the wealthy, successful yet miserable status of America's dream job elite highlighted in this New York Times article on those haunting the halls at corporations such as McKinsey & Company, Google, Goldman Sachs, and Apple.

Things get even worse if you, like me, are “driven,” as Dr. Doug Brackman highlights so well in his book by the same name. Many of us are born with a natural genetic drive often seen in entrepreneurs, pro-athletes, inventors, adventurers, and Navy SEALs. Due to our built-in DNA hardwiring, we tend to seek thrills, success, achievement, and adventure even more than the average human—resulting in rampant impulsivity, distraction, havoc, stress, and diagnoses of “medical conditions” such as ADHD, ADD, or OCD. As Doug discussed when I interviewed him for an upcoming podcast about the book, we driven people fight a constant lifetime uphill battle in our quest for happiness until we find God. In many cases, our God-shaped hole can be an even deeper and more problematic abyss. (If this sounds familiar to you, you should read Doug's book or listen to my upcoming podcast with him.)


No Regrets, Only Gratefulness

Ultimately, in the same way a square peg cannot fill a round hole, the God-shaped hole inside each of us cannot be filled by anyone or anything other than God. Not only did I eventually come to the profound realization that my own hole had been empty for a very long time, but the same was also true for my thousands upon thousands of followers in the physical culture, fitness, and health world who had a similar deep, unhappy gnawing in their soul, and were craving the answers I was suddenly finding.

Now, at this point in my life, I could have had many regrets.

Regrets at having played a large part in giving many people the false impression that they could find their happiness through exercise and dieting.

Regrets at having spent so many years neglecting my own spiritual fitness while simultaneously spending inordinate amounts of time honing physical and mental fitness perfection.

Regrets that I had stepped onto so many hundreds of stages and in front of so many microphones teaching people how to satisfy their fleshly pursuits while simultaneously presenting a skewed reality of what is truly important in life.

Yet, upon reflecting upon the plan that God manifested in my life, I realized that there was no need for regret. Instead, I was washed over with the understanding that over twenty years of building a giant fitness empire, God had blessed me with a sizeable audience of people hungry for and craving the same fulfillment I had finally found. As a matter of fact, here's a snippet of a journal entry of mine from November 30, 2019, during which I was meditating upon this very concept and experiencing a temptation to be regretful of squandering years:

“…you idiot! Can’t you see all along that it is a journey of no regrets, and only gratefulness? Are you ashamed of being a bright and shiny spandex gold-tan Gold’s Gym Nautilus spinning As-Seen-On-TV glittery Jamba Juice fitness icon? Well DON’T BE! Why? Because look where it somehow brought you: a following, a stage, a rabid fanbase of listeners and followers who are … get this … all suddenly looking for answers and POP! You’re the dude standing in front of them and you’re standing there with the elixir in your hand and the spark in your soul. Do you really think they WANT another longevity hack or pill to pop or new dumbbell move? NO! They *THINK* that’s what they want and that’s certainly the shiny penny that got them to grab a ticket to the experience that is YOU, but you know what – they’re now sitting in that chair, you’re now standing on that stage and you’ve got a giant audience ready to hear what they really NEED to hear – the message of light and love and hope and fulfillment that only GOD can bring.”

Yes, God works in mysterious ways. He draws straight paths with crooked lines. His path to the top of the mountain is a zig-zagging goat trail that eventually—if you listen to His voice and pray for wisdom and discernment—takes you exactly to where He desires for you to make maximum impact with the life, the purpose, and the unique skillset you've been blessed with. (A wonderful book that explores this “path up the mountain” concept even more fully is The Second Mountain by David Brooks.)


The Great Commission

After turning God to fill the abyss in my soul, beginning to pursue the spiritual disciplines with the same fervor as I'd been pursuing the physical disciplines, and experiencing the incredibly blessed sensation of waking each morning with a satisfied smile on my face, a happy and connected family, and an extraordinary fulfillment of daily union with God, life became absolutely magical—and continues to grow more magical each day as I seek wisdom, discernment, and direction from God.

But I’d be remiss not to mention another meaningful moment that occurred along the way. Five years into my journey of blissful connection to faith and family, the spark lit within my spirit burst into an absolute wildfire-like inferno when I emerged from an intense plant medicine ceremony that I had prepared for with weeks of prayer, fasting, meditation, and intense focus upon my relationship with God. My intention for the plant medicine was to “turn off” my analytical brain and creatively develop a few new personal and business ideas for fully manifesting my purpose in life and impact on the world.

Wait! What's the deal with “plant medicine”?

In summary, as I write in my Heaven article:

“…I certainly think that there is an appropriate, responsible and purposeful use God intended for plant (or synthetic) medicine in the very same way there is an appropriate, responsible and purposeful use for a nice Bordeaux, a touch of tobacco from a cigar or pipe, or a double espresso shot pumpkin spiced latte. For example, I personally derive a great deal of energetic and creative benefit from the left and right merging of the brain hemispheres, the increase in sensory perception, and the neuronal growth that occurs when I microdose with a bit of psilocybin or LSD on a long writing day; the relaxing or the socially and sexually enhancing benefits of a touch of MDMA or cannabis; and even the enormous spectrum of insights and ideas I gain from a more intensive so-called “journey”. Plant medicine, when used responsibly, can be a blessing – but, just like alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, St. John's wort or any other popular substance humankind has discovered to adjust dials in the brain – can also be used as an addiction, an escape and a dangerous replacement for God.”

In this specific case, during twenty-seven hours of “journeying” under the guidance of a trained Christian facilitator, I was completely astonished by the fact that I did not experience a single business insight, strategic plan for my company or brand, or a host of new ideas for work and life projects.

Instead, I spent the entire session repeatedly spellbound with intense and overwhelming visualizations of the entire story of Jesus playing over and over again in intense detail: His deity, his death, his burial, and his resurrection.

I spent the entire journey dwelling upon his Hero's Journey, including all the intensity of his suffering that I write about here, along with the glorious message of salvation and opportunity for all of humankind to release their burdens, sin and shame, and ultimate, free solution to all of our struggles both great and small. Upon emerging from the ceremony, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt in my heart that I must spend the rest of my life shouting this good news of deliverance from the rooftops. As a matter of fact, here's just a small snippet of the many journal entries that I logged for days after the ceremony:

“…we can all be saved. All our sins can be washed away until we are as white as snow. All the shame that's carried in individuals and even in families for generations upon generations through thousands of years – that it is all covered by Christ, and through him, we can all be forgiven. Sure, you can keep coming back to the same old wounds over and over and over again, like a nightmarish dream. But I can tell you that unless you know that it is all covered by Christ, you will never emerge from a cycle of trauma, sin or shame. So what do you do, Ben? You armor yourself with the full armor of God. You build your soul with the spiritual disciplines. You help your children put their armor on. You help them build their spiritual disciplines. You pray. You meditate. You memorize Scripture. You go to church. You build a community. You equip spirits. You show the world yourself and your family as a living, breathing example of God’s light and love. You shout this message of salvation from the rooftops until your very last dying breath, because the world needs to hear it so desperately…”

Did I need plant medicine to come fully to this realization? I doubt it. I firmly believe that some are called, and some are not, to this type of approach. But it certainly accelerated, in a very dramatic fashion, my awakening to the meaning and magnitude of my true calling: To use my unique purpose statement to fulfill the great commission in each and every last aspect of my life. And what is that commission? You can find it by opening your Bible to Matthew 28:17-20, where Jesus says:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

We are each called, in our own unique way, to fulfill that commission. I recently discovered a good perspective on unique calling presented by Sadhu Sundur Singh, a remarkable Indian disciple of Jesus Christ (it is well worth reading his biography here). He writes in his inspiring book With & Without Christ:

“Everyone should follow his calling and carry out his work according to his God-given gifts and capacities. The same breath is blown into flute, cornet and bagpipe, but different music is produced according to different instruments. In the same way the one spirit works in us, God’s children, but different result are produced, and God is glorified through them according to each one’s temperament and personality.”

I challenge you too to dwell upon what kind of instrument God made you to be and how His breath of life can fuel your unique purpose in life. Let those things that come easy to you—reading, teaching, speaking, art, music, crafting things with your hands, or anything else—be the things that you minister to the world with, and never feel guilty if it “comes easy.” A violin can spend its entire life glancing with covetousness at a piano while wishing it could, and attempting to, make keyboard sounds; or that same violin could spend its life playing a beautiful, enchanting concerto that displays its full violin glory.

In Zechariah 9:9-17, you can read how God shot Israel like a lightning bolt from his battle bow. But we are all God’s children, and the Bible tells us that children are like arrows in one’s quiver. So also imagine that each day, God is plucking you from His mighty quiver and shooting you from His bow like a lightning bolt into the world. So where is God aiming you? Are you prepared to fly like a fiery arrow wherever He aims and calls you? For more on purpose, read this.


Forgiveness

These days, does my life still involve daily struggles accompanied by temptations, failures, and setbacks?

You bet.

As Romans 8 (one of my favorite passages in all of Scripture) states…

…all creation groans.

“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.”

That's right: Life will be tough and full of temptation, toil, and often unpleasant work by the sweat and occasional blood of our brow. We will experience disappointments, emotional ups and downs, conflicts, turmoil, and unexpected, sometimes troubling twists and turns. This will continue until the very last day we are swept into Heaven

Furthermore, one doesn't just believe upon the Hero's Journey I describe here, then wistfully waltz off into the sunset whistling a happy tune as all of life instantly becomes magical. It takes a bit more than that. It takes a release of shame of what you have done or experienced in your life thus far and a full casting of those concerns and burdens upon God. It also takes forgiveness, a concept perfectly illustrated in the story of Louis Zamperini, the Olympic athlete and airman who endured twenty-six torturous months in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, a stupendous story now illustrated fully in the book and movie Unbroken.

Hailed as a hero for his incredible story of survival, Zamperini, for years after his release, was emotionally scarred, filled with hatred, and plagued by nightmares. He became an alcoholic, abused his wife, and neglected his young daughter. Eventually, in an act of great desperation, he attended a Billy Graham crusade, confessed his sins, entered into union with God, put his faith in Christ, experienced forgiveness, and was finally delivered from his nightmarish existence. He wrote:

“Deciding to devote your life to God doesn't mean instantaneous, nonstop happiness. Hard work lay ahead. I fought despondency and doubt, and tried to come to terms with what had happened to me…the hardest thing in life is to forgive…forgiveness is healing.”

Zamperini's epic survival story didn't buy him happiness. It was only the grace of Jesus that filled the hole in his heart and gave him the peace and happiness he had been seeking for long. So you too (as I did) must forgive yourself and release all feelings of shame to God, ask for forgiveness from others (as I also did) for rotten things you've done in the past, and finally (as Zamperini did to his Japanese wartime tormentors), forgive others who have wronged you and who you may hold bitterness against. That is, when filled with a belief and faith in the Hero's Journey, you will embody the powerful words of 2 Corinthians 5:17:

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.”


Summary

So there you have it. 

That is who I am: A new creation with a renewed and fantastically exciting lease on life. 

That is also why, over the past several years, if you are a regular reader of mine you may have noticed a shift in my writing towards a less myopic focus on physical and mental fitness, and instead, a more broad and necessary focus on the inclusion of spiritual fitness.

Ultimately, I am overjoyed and inspired with the clarity of life purpose I experience each day. I have, by God's mercy, been plucked from sin to salvation and from meaninglessness to purposefulness. Within my weekly Sabbath Ramblings are some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned along the way.

And where do you and I go from here? I will personally continue to live out my life's purpose, which is to…

… ”To Read & Write, Learn & Teach, Sing & Speak, Compete & Create In Full Presence & Selfless Love, To The Glory Of God.”

This will include me not only continuing to teach you about how to care for your body and brain using the latest research, ancestral wisdom, and modern science so that you too can be fully equipped to live out your own purpose in life, but also me continuing to transform (as God works in me and through me) from an adventurous boy to a more responsible and mature mentor and sage who can teach you how to not make the same mistakes I have, and who can also teach you how to tend for the one part of you that needs care and attention the most: your soul.

It is my hope and prayer that I can help you attain not just a fit body and a fit mind but also…

…a fit soul.

How about you? What is your story? Your experience with unfulfillment to fulfillment, unhappiness to happiness, and purposelessness to purposefulness? Your unique purpose in life? Do you have a fit soul? Leave your questions, comments, and feedback below. I read them all.

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53 thoughts on “Sabbath Ramblings: Who Am I?

  1. Hollie says:

    Don’t ever stop writing Sabbath Ramblings! CLEARLY this is a huge part of your purpose. I am a personal trainer and yoga teacher in rural North Dakota and the fitness/wellness world need MORE of this type of encouragement. I’m grateful for you being vulnerable and sharing some seriously personal and real life things. It’s a breath of fresh air in a world riddled with fake “reality”. Can’t wait to see how God will use what he gave you and all of us…working together for the kingdom. It’s EXCITING!!!

  2. Linda C says:

    Reading this Sabbath Rambling after listening to your podcast with David Parker and Dawn Lester. Your support for Black Lives Matter a global terrorist organization makes me wonder what kind of bible you are reading. Know your history before promote violence, destruction of family, the tearing apart of a nation. I pray for you.

  3. DARRYL LYONS 1 says:

    Well Done Ben!

  4. Craig Thielen says:

    Wow Ben, that post was an incredible view into your heart, mind and soul. Thank you for sharing yourself so openly, honestly and courageously. It is the most inspiring of all the posts I have read of yours. It feels like I am watching you evolve into a higher form of self awareness and the next level of humanity or being before my very eyes and inspires me to push myself further in my evolution. Thanks again.

  5. Cathryn Wade says:

    Wow! Ben! Thank you! I love watching God do His work of transformation! Thanks for your humility and powerful truth!

  6. Rachael Albanese says:

    Thank you for this Ben! I sat here on the couch and read it aloud to my husband and we were both blessed. Your words have encouraged me. Keep doing God’s work. May God continue to bless you and your family.
    Your sister in Christ,
    Rachael

  7. Michelle says:

    It makes me happy when a person has realized what you have, that we are all connected to God, and that he is waiting for us to find true happiness in Him. I wish there was a way to help others along this realization of life. I guess by being someone who exudes joy and lives a godly life, it may inspire people. I have just begun my spiritual seeking I middle age. Sometimes you need a good knockdown or just a little pause in life in order to awaken to your true desires.

  8. Kim says:

    Stay the course, Ben. No matter what people say. We are to please God, not man. Wisdom comes from experience and the understanding that it’s not about you. Praise Jesus that you’ve figured that out. See you in Heaven brother.

  9. Tiffany Kari says:

    Thank you for your vulnerably and sharing with the world! As you mention you are blessed to have a platform unlike most to be heard. You have the attention of a large audience of people who can and will greatly benefit from your vulnerability and story. You have the ability to help provide this audience with direction. Awareness is one thing but learning first steps and putting them into action is another. So many are missing the first steps. You are an instrument of God. Thank you for your courage! Love and light!

  10. Travis says:

    It’s your obedience to your calling and your sharing of your own journey as well as the spiritual disciplines that separates you from all others in the fitness/wellness category.

    Your understanding (and pursuit) of the deeper underpinnings of why fitness is important is what helps me to know and trust your opinions and guidance.

    I appreciate your willingness to be vulnerable and ‘different’ for the sake of the Gospel. You are surely set apart, and it is for our good as well as yours. Thank you for continuing to share your heart.

  11. Vange says:

    This post is the ‘Hallelujah’ of all the people in the world who have experienced the beautiful feeling of having ‘that hole’ being finally filled! It is the written account of the ‘Ultimate High’ that no run can give when you know you are eternally forgiven! This post is the epic ‘High Slapping Five!, perhaps to countless of your readers who love health, but knew the fire of your existence was WAY MORE than a new way to extend your life, but giving life, because now Ben, you are freaking living it!

  12. Allison says:

    Ben-I’ve undoubtedly witnessed your evolution and enjoyed being on that journey with you.

  13. Carla says:

    Wow!
    I want EVERYONE to read this.
    I will pray that your life will continue to influence others and bring glory to God.
    And the Kion coffee is amazing…

  14. Chris Brandal says:

    Ben,
    Thank you for sharing. That was just what I needed today.
    Sincerely,
    Chris

  15. Jennifer Evans says:

    Ben! I am so proud of you. This kind of humility and honesty are what make you and the rest of us Superhuman. I pray for continued healing and forgiveness in your home and that God will keep you strong on this new path. Preach it, brother! We are listening.

  16. Mike says:

    Ben, thank you very much for opening up. I am an individual who was baptised in South Africa, but grew up in the UK. My parents treated me and raised me as well as they could, however there were issues happening in the background I was unaware of and as a result tensions escalated and there were things happening I did not understand. They couldn’t teach me the core values and morals to solidify my mindset and take a structured approach to life, and as a result I grew up confused. For me school was more or less torture as it was not the best educational institution and I was tormented, taken advantage of, and being manipulated into believing demonic/pleasurable ideologies was the normal approach to life. When I got older this lead to me watching a lot of adult material, nothing too extreme or horrible but I was always losing myself with the dopamine rush without realising how much awareness I was losing as well as life force energy. It is absolutely horrible seeing women as objects and it only makes it worse when that is the social environment you are situated in, having zero awareness. This lead to me flunking out of university because I had zero motivation for study without knowing why. Later when I accumulated more knowledge, reading tons of books, learning from Jordan Peterson & yourself I finally became aware of what it was I was doing wrong. I adopted the lifestyle of spiritual practice as well as devoting myself to the Lord & now I feel like my life is so much more well structured, I have more energy than ever & now I feel like I value the right things.

    God bless you, and I hope you and the family are well. Keep doing what you are doing. In this period with a loss of fatherly values, we need more people spreading this message.

  17. Duane says:

    Praise be to God! I feel you man. It’s tough to have a great body and not want to use it. Why do so many young athletes work so hard to create physical perfection; one is to compete, the other to attract and conquer the pleasures life offers. Now that I am older, and a little wiser, the Bible makes perfects sense when it tells us that we should not fornicate and dedicate making love with that one special person in marriage. With the sexual urges and desires in a young person, you could have explained this to me a hundred times, but it would have never made as much sense as it does now. Youth is truly wasted on the young.
    I have not reached your notoriety, but have followed a similar journey. I was always first string or first place in sports: swimming, baseball, judo, weightlifting and football were my sports… later in life I picked-up mini-triathlons. I also play guitar, and pulled together several bands in High School, playing at small events and graduation parties. My scholastic journey included an undergraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering and a Juris Doctorate. Although my first marriage did end in divorce. In retrospect, God was good to me. I have a loving wife and more children, six in total. I also have a company that provides me time to spend at home with my wife and children, taking and picking up my kids to-and-from school, attending all of their events, and demonstrate faith in God as a Youth Ministry Leader.
    Despite my deep faith in God and Jesus, I still have many questions about my religion, and even doubts. I pray, meditate, read, research, discuss, contemplate, and I still am confronted with a small level of doubt. I know this is where faith is supposed to bridge the gap, but it doesn’t make it any easier, especially with an analytical mind that wants to make sense out of everything. God only reveals what we need to know, not what we desire to understand. I’m convinced we are never supposed to understand, at least not in this phase of our life.
    Forgiveness is a strange concept for me. I’m more about moving forward than contemplating the past; learn from “mistakes” and how to avoid or identify how I put myself in a position that may require forgiveness. Forgiveness requires dwelling on the past. I don’t associate with anyone that has done me wrong, except for myself and family. So my forgiveness is more like, learn-forget and move-forward. Could this be a form of forgiveness? I’m not sure. Forgiveness usually requires the assertive action of forgiving.
    So what happens when my wife or children make a mistake that would require forgiveness? I ask them, “How did we get into this position?” and “How can we correct it so that it doesn’t happen again.” Then we take the necessary actions to avoid the situation again, and move forward. Forgiveness must be inherently understood in this process due to our expression of love for each other.
    I’m glad that you have been including spiritual concepts in your podcasts and blogging. It makes me examine myself from a perspective other than my own. It also reveals sources that I may not have come across on my own. Keep up the great work, and find God in all things as life becomes your prayer.

  18. Mark Antonino says:

    This is exactly what the world needs right now. God has put you in such an incredible position of influence Ben! There is nothing that can ever fill His “void” in our souls…….NOTHING. We search for the immediate, the fake, the weak substitutes but none of them last. HE is the only eternal puzzle “peace” that fits perfectly. Thanks for your honesty and courage…..and let’s not forget your amazing wife’s grace and love for God. Without him none of this is possible!

  19. Andrew Laubacher says:

    Ben,

    I just wanted to thank you for your witness and vulnerability, I know that it is difficult to share our deepest sins and mistakes. Your Sunday Ramblings have been a huge blessings and gift to me. I have been following your work the last couple years and you have really encouraged me to take care of mind, body, and soul. I am a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles studying to become a Catholic priest. I was a touring musician for years leading worship with my band around the world and prior to that also lived a life of atheism and partying. I actually studied my way into the Catholic faith through science, philosophy and theology. I have a couple other Catholic friends who love your work and we really believe that we are being called to heal the earth and the human person in Jesus name. I am giving my life to the Church so that the I can spread the hope of Jesus and the reality of his resurrection. can reach the ends of the earth. As a Catholic, I just want to say how much we love our Protestant brothers and sisters and it will be my mission to continue to help answer Jesus’ prayer that we be one. I am praying we can work together, pray together and serve together to bring healing in this world. I have been to blessed by many protestant ministers such as William lane Craig, John Lennox, Judah Smith, Ravi Zacharias and more. I am trying to optimize body, mind and soul here during my years of study so I can be healthy to serve Gods people for many years. Thanks again for all your work and keep being bold. I am excited to see what God continues to do in your life and family. Praying for you bro! Pray for me to. Peace!

  20. Chris says:

    I have a lot of respect for the courage it must have taken to publically admit to those character defects. Both courage and the truth are of divinity, so its a powerful message and speaks to your character.

    If you’re venturing down a spiritual path the book Power vs Force by the late Dr. David R Hawkins is a must read. It has been profoundly beneficial to my life.

  21. Michael Wolfe says:

    You are a Blessed Man! Nice to see someone with your influence share your story. You really pour your soul out and give God all the glory.

  22. “confronting the gaping hole of personal emptiness and unhappiness inside me” brought me to tears, knowing all too well what that feeling feels like, as we wander the earth in two different mindsets, one focused on ourselves and the other trying to focus on the betterment of our families, society, the world around us. Thank you for opening your heart, exposing to us that unsafe feeling we have felt before reminding us we are all human too. Unshielded mentors bring us peace and at the same time a way of looking forward, not alone. I read to the end and then down to ‘how to find your purpose’, where i was taken to a beautiful real and vulnerable picture of your family, so meaningful and heartfelt, the beauty of willingness to work on life together and push through, create new bonds and build new closeness. Time heals. Thank you for showing us you are human!

  23. Matt Lane says:

    Thanks for the vulnerability and transparency! Truly a gift! I’ve found that the more transparent I am, the deeper my relationships are. Both vertically with Jesus and horizontally with others. Keep it up Ben !! “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

  24. Matt says:

    Thank you so much for this post!
    I am 31 years into a career that has been great, but I have always felt there was another purpose that God had in store for me. Where is my arrow pointing?
    Am I totally committed, and open, to God’s direction?
    I have often questioned myself, and my faith.
    You have given me much to think about, and answered some questions as well!
    Thank you for all you do!!!

  25. Sarah says:

    I’m sure it was difficult to share your testimony and be so vulnerable. And even more difficult to go through the agonizing pain of being separated from God and then making restitution. But I love your realization of your platform. I love how God uses each person’s “dark valleys” to enlarge our testimonies and in turn increase our impact. Though none of us would ever chose to go through the hard times if given the choice, we can’t deny that they were imperative in shaping our character (especially humility and empathy). Thank you, Ben, for sharing.

    Hallowed be His name.

    —Sarah

    1. Bob DuDonis says:

      Thank you Ben, I loved this weeks post! I believe whole heartedly that God is using this short time we have here on planet earth to grow, develop and mature us into the best Christ like versions of ourselves. After all isn’t that exactly how God works within every other living thing He has created (think trees, butterflies, and fish for example). I am at my best when I’m engaged in spiritual growth. Keep up the great work!
      Your Brother in Christ

  26. Joe Lucas says:

    Dear Mr Greenfield,
    I was introduced to your thoughts from Amanda Nighbert and her LEAN program. My wife and I have been members since January and the past 2 weeks have been receiving your emails. What a great gift to read this mornings article and your sharing of deep and personal thoughts and actions. The Lord is happy today as you have touched many and made them think, my self included. At age 63 I have learned that learning never stops and God is always there. And if one is searching one can find both.
    Looking forward to growing with you !
    All the best
    Joe Lucas

  27. Alison says:

    Thank you for this and for sharing God’s truth and salvation through Jesus Christ. Faith alone in Christ alone is all it takes and God does the rest. At the moment of faith we are showered with numerous gifts that enable us to grow and live in victory in a fallen world. I have recently returned as well like the prodigal son the Father welcomes with open arms and celebration. God bless you and your family!

  28. I have followed you for a few years now and would read hints of God in your life. This writing brought some tears of happiness for you and personal conviction to remind me to be more bold in my faith. Thank you for your vulnerability. You have been blessed with many gifts and abilities and happy to hear you are using them to glorify our Lord. These Sunday writings are inspirational

  29. Timothy Hess says:

    Fantastic Sabbath Musings. So REAL and straight TRUTH. Thank you. You brought people closer to Him today. Keep bringing the TRUTH!

  30. Ryan says:

    Great share! Thank you for your willingness to be vulnerable. I try to stay in that “secret place” every day…less me, more thou…after years of doing it wrong as well.

    Heaven ain’t an ending…it’s available every day! The moment I was willing to believe that, it happened. As my mentor says, “Abre us ojos, hermano!! “

  31. Cory says:

    Amen Brother! Ben, your journey sounds so much like mine. You can’t fill that “God shaped” hole in one’s heart with worldly things. Thank you for what you do. 🙏🏻

  32. I am a 56-year-old survivor leader on Sebago Lake in Standish Maine. First sexually abused in first grade by a school administrator and then the domino effect of being sexually abused over the next two decades… The bullying in elementary school running away from 12 to 17 years old. Sex trafficked at 15 years old. Pregnant and married by 18. I saw and experience the worst of humanity the first two decades of life. The next two decades were spent surviving the surviving. I couldn’t tolerate drugs and alcohol while I lived on the street from 12 to 17. Nor could I tolerate prescription anti-depression or anti-anxiety medication to deal with my acute posttraumatic stress disorder. I had to learn nontraditional ways… Health and fitness and more kinds of therapy than you can shake a stick at became my way of life. The Hoffman quadrant he process. Landmark education. Energy work. EMDR. Tapping. Gestalt therapy. Group therapy. Transcendental meditation. Visualization. I went on to make a six-figure income as a national sales manager and bought my dream home

    On a little lake in southern Maine by myself at age 40. Those vision boards paid off! By 47 I met my second husband and started volunteering at the local juvenile detention center. It was there that I realized that I needed to use my story to educate the community at large… To offer hope to other survivors and educate as many people as possible to stop having sex with children. StopTraffickingUS.org is my 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Last September I was invited to the White House to participate in the meeting with other faith leaders regarding sex trafficking and child sexual abuse prevention. This September I connected the state of Maine with the underground railroad. I feel like I should be on the island of misfit toys… That Holiday Rudolph the red nose reindeer cartoon. I know what we’ve learned from the adverse childhood experience research with Kaiser Permanente and the Center for disease control… They say that my lifespan is significantly diminished. And at 56 years old and seeing all sorts of stuff that concern me. Menopause has not been fun. I have an excepted a paycheck in six years. I wish everyone could afford you and the testing you need to help people function at their very best. With testing and interpretation at your level could we alter the prognosis of survivors of acute trauma? Thank you for who you are and how you show up. Spirituality health family generosity…Your mother must be so proud of you!

    1. Pat G. says:

      She is ❤️.

    2. Robyn Kardos says:

      wow amazing, heartwrenching, but hopeful story!!

  33. JR says:

    Thanks for the this Ben, I needed this one today

  34. John says:

    Ben, welcome aboard. To God be the glory!

  35. Debbie Potts says:

    Thank you for bending honest and sharing your personal journey to your tribe. I have followed you for ten years and this is a first time to see this side of you. I am impressed and happy you found yourself as I always wondered how you handled the chaos. Covid seems to happen for a reason – to help us pause and reflect on who we are, who we want to be, and how we want to live our life. Keep sharing your journey and inspiring others to do the same.

  36. dan rabenhorst says:

    How great a plan God has built around you! – To reach all those particular set of people who have found the fortitude to strive to perfect their bodies, but did not give God the credit.

  37. Leslie says:

    Thank you for your boldness to speak the truth that encourages me to step out and do the same, through the Grace of God alone. It is so true that we all are trying to fill this void of disappointment and sadness in our life with the world, yet it leaves us in the same place…hurting and broken and in need of the only One who can satisfy. Thank you for your honesty in telling your own story. It helps me to see the similarities in my own life in seeking perfect health, diet, exercise, etc as well as business success as primary and how it is NOT fulfilling and convicts me to seek Him more. It’s always good to know you’re not alone in the battle.

  38. Sabine says:

    Hey Ben, I have followed you for 15 years and met you (in the flesh!) a few years ago. I always knew there was something very special about you. I am not religious; sadly, I cannot relate to your relationship with God but I do appreciate your Sabbath ramblings. It is really great that you share your personal journey with us. Thank you.

    PS. I have no idea how you manage to do so much: conferences, coaching, videos, books, articles, research, podcast, family life AND stay humble. I am sure you have some help but still… Hat’s off!

    1. Jonas says:

      Hello, Ben. Thats by my understanding seems also honouring God story :) . Well question : what do u recognise what kind of faith God has prepared for you to give you so you would be more and more united with Him or what kind of thing you would like God to do for you which you could share? What kind of dream you have or would like to have which inspire and make feel more yourself , true you and more what you think God wants you to be like :)?

  39. Mel says:

    This was a touching and inspiring post – Thank you for being a voice to help call the wanderers home

    1. Mel says:

      (wanderers = me!)

  40. Mark Culbertson says:

    Ben, I have followed you for years and never left a reply but I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability in this article. Keep it up!

  41. Gary says:

    Ben,
    I have enjoyed seeing your spiritual progression over the past five years. And your recent writings and podcast discussions of your journey have helped me to also refocus on my own connection with Jesus.

  42. Laurie says:

    Thank you again for such a thought provoking article. Without a healed soul it is impossible to feel complete or “content” as I call it. I look forward to reading your Sunday Sabbath articles. They help me start my week focused on the true purpose of my life.

    1. Thanks, that's encouraging!

  43. Roberta Allen says:

    Thanks Ben. If we have fallen, we can get up with God’s help and begin again.

  44. David Hershel Weinstein says:

    I feel in lock step with your heroes journey and renewed focus on spiritual fitness. There have been a series of wakeup calls in the last 2 decades; 9-11, the economic meltdown of 2008, and now COVID-19. These external forces are but a message that without spiritual renewal there can’t be love, without faith, perseverance is short lived. God bless you and your family. .

  45. Derek says:

    This may be the best musing yet.

    I have been on my own journey and it’s not been ‘fun’ as of late. Not to mention that crazy virus.

    After I read your article two pictures came to mind. 1) Venom from Spider-Man is similar to sin. It envelopes us to where it amplifies our desires and continues to feed and grow on those unchecked desires. The worst part is taking off the suit. We pull and tug and run yet it does it’s best to cling to us. It takes an opposite and opposing force to remove sin.

    2) In Santa Clause the movie we see the inverse being played out. Tim Allen put on the suit and became Santa instantly, but in name only. Over the next several months he would slowly ‘become’ the fullness of Santa. He even tried to shave, lose wait, and deny who he had become. Only when he accepted who he was could he fully embrace the fullness of what he was and his mission that lay before him.

    Weird analogy I know, but after reading your article it seems we left with a choice, embrace the character of Venom and feed our darkest desires or put on the Santa suit and accept becoming different.

    1. Interesting analogies but very creative thoughts!

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