Ryan’s I found Story
I had been searching for a church to belong to and one that could belong to me. After looking far and wide, I found this church right in my neighborhood. I wanted community, friendship, joy, love, and opportunities to serve, and I wasn’t surprised to have found them at Vineyard. I love this church, my wife loves this church, my kids love this church, and, maybe most importantly for someone seeking, this church loves us too. To me, Vineyard Church is home. But that’s not all we found here.
I found transformation. My entire life, as far back as I can remember, I have been doing things a certain way. I had my own systems, if you will. I don’t exactly know how they were put into place or when. They may have been built over time and, possibly, even developed as a result of life experiences, but, like Tupac says, “me against the world” is largely the way I lived my life.
I was a compartmentalizer, a thinker, strategist, and pretty much always at war without even being aware of it. I didn’t process or discuss my feelings or emotions. I didn’t cry in front of people. I wasn’t going to be authentic with others, including my wife, about what’s going on. I thought I managed well, carried it all inside. Except I didn’t. I would come home and sit in my office and not speak to anyone. I would be a jerk to the entire household for weeks at a time while I “managed well.” I often felt alone, unable to relax, and full of fear that I lied to myself about and called anxiety. I had strong faith, and desire to help others, but something still wasn’t right. My compartments were not doing well, all my stuffing was starting to burst at the seams, and my shoulders were breaking under the pressure. Yet, I thought my systems would work and that I could do it on my own. I’m a man. I’m tough. I don’t need people, people need me.
I found myself in helping Pastor Jeremy with some tasks around the church a few months ago. We were discussing life, and I found myself telling him that I wanted new systems. My systems weren’t just tearing me apart inside, they were causing fear in my family as well. I was lashing out and completely unaware because all of my energy was devoted to keeping my shoulders from breaking and keeping my compartments closed up. Jeremy wasn’t just willing to help me, he was excited to help. He immediately had some suggestions and instantly laid out a plan. He told me that we weren’t going to get rid of these systems, but we were going to reach down and transform them. The results of this have been amazing. My 38-year-old ways of doing things transformed into new systems. I was afraid to lose these systems. I thought they made up “who I was”, but the process of transforming them was relieving!
I found a new way to live. I found freedom. I found transformation. I found a better husband for my wife, a better father for my children, a better employee for my job, a better friend for my friends, and a better servant for my Lord. I love Vineyard Church and am forever grateful for what “I Found”. When I arrived at Vineyard, I wasn’t even looking for those things. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that God brought me to Vineyard to bring me to the next place I was supposed to be spiritually and emotionally.