Last week in class, the Fellows learn about being TrueFaced with not only ourselves but with the community as a whole. But what exactly does being TrueFaced mean? Being TrueFaced is to trust in God and allow others to see who you really are without wearing masks. Wearing a mask is to present a false self to the world. The Cure, written by John Lynch, Bruce McNicol, and Bill Thrall identifies 3 kinds of masks, which are the pedigree mask, searching for the next “new” technique mask, and I’m “just fine, thanks” mask. Life feels easy when we put on a new identity to hide the difficult feelings or our insecurities but over time it causes our soul to ache.

So how can we get rid of these masks? The Cure says, “Our endlessly loving God allows our masks to fall apart.” In accepting and dwelling in God’s love, we are able to not only become confident in our true selves but also begin to think less about what others think about us.

This week, we began to put the idea of removing masks into practice through the sharing of our life stories. Students met in their discipleship groups and were given 30 minutes to share both the highs and lows of their life. On Monday, students heard the leaders of their discipleship groups give their life stories. Having heard what our leaders have walked through allowed us to also be vulnerable.  Tuesday through Thursday, students were given the time to share their life stories. Many students made powerpoints full of pictures to make it easier to explain their story.

When asked about what life stories meant, one student said,

“I think vulnerability is key to growth in a community. If your community doesn’t know your life story, you can put on a mask and be who you want to be. It also creates a safe environment that allows those around us to see what has made us into the person we are today.”

Within many discipleship groups, students have been able to relate to each other’s struggles to create an environment filled with the love of Jesus.  Holding each other accountable in various areas has been a constant message within the student body this week. It is easy to break others down over their struggles, but displaying the love that Jesus Christ had for the tax collectors and sinners has been a consistent theme this week. We are trying to build each other up for the Kingdom of God, not tear each other down.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

This Bible verse can have various interpretations but one takeaway is that to develop fellowship with one another we have to be open with each other or “step out into the light.” Hiding in the darkness allows feelings to build up, resulting in loneliness. A supportive community, like Impact 360 Fellows, really makes it easy to share about our life long struggles and sinful actions. This week, we have seen many masks deteriorate and even more identities come to life. What identities are you hiding and how can you bright them to light?