Growing My ‘I Am’

Well a new year has come around again and we are left wondering where the last one went in the wake of holiday hangovers; over celebrated through overeating, under-sleeping and overspending.

If you are like me you are watching all the social media posts and buzz that surround New Years Resolutions (NYR) at some distance, and with NYR remorse from last year – I swear its a thing. We all have a desire to better ourselves, not just to better our circumstances – but then we focus on our circumstances because addressing them has a lot of ‘doing’, and we are great at doing.

I honestly believe that real, transforming change of who I am has only ever happened through a working relationship with God. I’m not talking about my need to drop some lbs., eat better, volunteer more or learn something new – none of these is who I am. Our culture has so incredibly bought into the marketing and ‘spiritual enlightenment’ that doing something with your body (travel, party, community service) or to your body (health management, sexual relationships, style, ink, etc.) somehow changes who you are.

Follow me here for a second. If who you are is derived from your amazing health and the choices that got you there, if you are defined by your success at work, or by the way that people see you – what comes next? Is all this really you? Your person? What happens when you get sick? – I know health buffs that still got cancer and like it or not age always, always wins. What happens when your company restructures, you don’t get that next contract to keep you going, or, you just retire? What happens if a friend, lover, or spouse that you have moves on? Have you in your person just instantly changed who you are? Obviously not! Health, work, and relationships are amazing! But they are not you, they are some of the key details of your life that you move through during your existence.

So who are you? You may agree with everything that was just said, that you are not your interests but can you despite the distinction describe who you are? Remove what you do, even what you strive for (although write them down as they are amazing indicators for other musings). Begin to focus on who you are at your core.

  • How do I think about things?
  • How do I react to different people and circumstances?
  • What causes me discomfort or fear and why?
  • Am I impulsive or do I hold back?
  • Am I a person who is known in my interests, work and relationships as someone who brings peace, joy or wisdom?
  • Am I a comfort to others?
  • Am I loving?
  • Do I give of myself sacrificially to those in front of me or does my social justice summed up in buying Toms or a bottle of water that may or may not dig a well somewhere across the globe?

Alright. Now some real questions that should naturally come as you answer the previous ones.

  • How do I gauge all of this?
  • Against what or who?

Everyone that I meet is smart enough to know that they should be a bit nicer but is also amazing at pointing to the crappiest person around them to also prop themselves up. This is cowardice to you. Find the best and enter into a relationship.

Who is an example of joy, goodness, wisdom, grace, mercy, real and deep giving of themselves to others? Like, seriously has nothing to gain by the way that they are present and in service of others?

Do you have anyone like this in your life? My prayer is that you do.

At Vintage Church we aren’t first about being better versions of ourselves. First, we are about getting closer to the one that is all of these great things in our life – Jesus. The better-selves part comes as a result of this relationship. We first receive the love, grace, and care of God and then respond to it and are drawn to be like Him. In this next year, my resolution is to look at me. To be open to the one who first gave me everything and showed himself to be good and trustworthy so that I can be who I am meant to be in my relationships, work, community, hobbies and passions in front of those around me.

What does the year ahead look like for you? Will you follow the flow of whatever pops up? Will you add or subtract something in an attempt to better yourself? Whatever it is, I hope that you take some time to unearth you as you march into what the year has to offer.

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Ryan Rainville

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