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Stories of Lives Liberated

Ryan

Ryan

Once an insecure young man whose identity was defined by the opinions of others. Now full of confidence in Christ’s acceptance and His unconditional love for me.

 

Who I Was Before Christ

The World Made Fun of Me
When I was a kid, I was what you would call “sensitive”. And let me tell you, you don’t make a lot of friends when you cry a lot. In elementary school, they called me Cryin’ Ryan. Some people, who never went to elementary school with me, heard that nickname from others and used it against me. As I got older, I learned to control my emotions, but this “identity” dogged me into high school. I never understood why people would be so cruel.

This pain of getting picked on motivated me as I went off to college. I thought that becoming an engineer was going to make me somebody who people would respect. I worked hard through college, earned an electrical engineering degree and got a great job with 3M. I was very proud of my efforts and for landing a job with an excellent company.

 

What Changed?

The World Left Me Empty
When I moved to St. Paul, to start my career, I felt that I had truly made it. I was somebody now, an engineer with a great company, who makes a lot of money. I was successful. Over the next six months, I hit the bar scene with some of my new friends and co-workers, trying to find a girlfriend. I honestly thought it would be easy because I was such a success. Girls should like me! But, after several failed relationships and a one night stand, I was even emptier than before. By society’s standards I had made it, but I didn’t feel like I had. I was supposed to be somebody, but I sure didn’t feel like it. My identity was in crisis. If I wasn’t the success I was supposed to be, who was I?

A short time later I was invited to a Bible Study. As I sat in that room, with fifteen strangers, I felt more comfortable than I had in a long time. A few things stood out to me. One, I felt that these people would not judge me or make fun of me for what I said. I was so sick of my past and society in general, that it was refreshing not to feel judged. Two, I felt so much peace. These Christians all had peace and confidence that I so desperately wanted. My life was empty, and theirs were not.

 

Who I Am Now

God Accepted Me
At the end of the study, one of the leaders asked me how long I had been a Christian. The question was simple enough, but it hit me like a ton of bricks. Right then and there, I said to myself, “God, I don’t know what these people have, but I gotta have it, and I gotta have it NOW.” After I said this, something was different; I felt the peace I so longed for. I had gone to church growing up and I had heard about Jesus, but I never had a relationship with Him. I prayed to receive Jesus Christ as my savior that day and God came into my life and gave me a new identity!
2 Corinthians 5:17
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

My life started changing. I was no longer defined by the cruelty of others. I was no longer defined by society’s view of success. I know who I am! My identity is no longer in crisis. My identity was now as a child of God, as someone who was loved by God and special to God! This was an incredible thing for me to grasp!

God gave me new labels: I am God’s child (John 1:12), I am dearly loved by God (1 Thess. 1:4), I am forgiven (Eph 1:8), I am God’s masterpiece (Eph 2:10)

You can have peace and new labels too!

 

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