Posted by: JennyRain | August 2, 2010

Man Week @ the Rain: Ryan Spilhaus

Welcome back to “Man Week” at the Rain!

I have invited nine of my favorite guys to guest blog for the next two weeks. The topic I gave each of the men to blog or vlog about was:

“The stripping process of God” or “Living unmasked”

Today’s guest is Ryan Spilhaus. Ryan is not just a co-worker, but a friend. I call him our wordpress-ninja because on several occasions he has helped dig me out of wordpress snafus!

Beyond Ryan’s love of technology however, simmers a deep and passionate love for Christ and for others. He is always reaching out to help others in one way or another – with his time, talents, and his treasure. In the last year of knowing Ryan I have watched his heart remain so beautifully open to God and so willing to allow God to transform him. More than once he has inspired me to push beyond the edges of my perceived limitations because of his example in my life.

Ryan’s Blog:

Ryan’s Twitter: @rspilhaus

When Jenny asked me to write a guest post here, I was excited, but somewhat apprehensive.

After all, on my blog I mostly write about technology and communications, with the occasional grainy picture of a misspelled sign or something equally frivolous. Here…here I’d have to get vulnerable!

Talk about the process through which God has shaped or transformed me through removing my outside layers? At least I have plenty of source material. I’ve had more layers in my life than a 7-layer burrito at Taco Bell, and most of them have been about as healthy as one.

I guess it is only fair to admit that I’m not there yet.

So often I feel like we listen to, read blogs and books by and interact with people who seem to have it all figured out. They’ve made it through the valley, and are there to tell us “how to do it.” While I appreciate the advice, one can’t help but feel like their perfect life isn’t attainable by someone with the struggles one is dealing with at the moment.

No, I certainly haven’t figured it all out yet. In fact, I still probably struggle with relying on the same layers I did before, just in different forms. But God is definitely at work.

I tend to realize that I’ve been relying on a layer for my sense of self worth and identity when I realize that I’m using that layer to either please or impress people.

Now, I don’t think layers are intrinsically bad. You can be a doctor or a construction worker or an artist and those are all layers that simply describe a piece of you and your story. But if you use these layers to impress people with your intelligence, toughness or creativity, or if you derive all of your self-worth from those qualities, rather than being a loved child of God, then the layer becomes harmful, even sin.

Really, there is only one layer that we can derive our true identity and true worth from.

The layer of Christ-follower and child of God.

Think of it this way: the CREATOR of the universe, of intelligence, toughness, creativity, and every other attribute, loves you with a relentless and furious longing, and values you enough to give his only Son to be crucified to redeem you for Himself and His glory, making you holy and pure. In light of that, finding your self worth in something else seems silly, doesn’t it?

You already have all you need!

But we still do it, don’t we? I know I do.

I think it has something to do with our desire as humans for immediate gratification (some would add the adjective “western” before “humans”, and I would not disagree). The feeling of impressing your friends is so much more immediate than that of quietly, meekly and humbly finding your worth in Christ. We need to remind ourselves, as Paul says, to “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)

I hope you won’t mind if I comment on technology briefly.

I don’t believe that there is anywhere easier to have and hide behind layers than online.

On the surface, this is obvious. We all hear the stories, and sometimes even participate ourselves, of people pretending to be other people online. It’s quite easy. Have you ever noticed how about 90% of people’s profile pictures or avatars are designed to present the absolute best light? We put professional photos, wedding pictures, and other feats of modern graphic design up, intended to make the best impression. I’m guilty of it. I probably spent a good hour or two making sure the picture on my website was just right. This is the technological manifestation layer of fashion, looks and appearance.

But if you dig a little more you find that the problem runs far deeper than how it appears on the surface.

“Influence” and “fame” are easy to come by online. With the click of a button someone follows you, friends you, or shares verbatim your opinions. In real life, this is enough to cause a slight ego boost, but when magnified on an exponential level the way that only the internet can do, we find that if left unchecked, we can quickly allow ourselves to believe that our online persona, if you will, is far more important than we ought to think it is.

Both of these aspects of the internet contribute to the layers we actively place in our lives. We find security in them. We find worth in them. Happiness. Pride. Value. I don’t want to insinuate that everyone should separate themselves from the internet and throw away their computers. I only want to bring to your attention the incredibly powerful role that it plays in each of our lives.

Once you realize this, you can begin to fight its pernicious characteristics while preserving the helpful qualities.

Anyhow, after reading this I realize how much work I still have to do. God is still working on me. But that’s the encouraging part.

He hasn’t given up, and He never will.


From Jenny: Hey guys – got any girl-related questions? Pop on over to my friend Joy’s blog and ask that question about us women that has confused you for decades. I guarantee you, Joy will give you a great answer!! You can access Joy’s blog here.




  1. […] Hey everyone…thought I’d let you know that I wrote a guest post for my friend Jenny today over at her blog. Click here to check it out! […]

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