My wife Kelsie and I were comparing notes last night after 6 days away with high school students in San Diego. As we continued to roll out our memories, ask each other questions, and reminisce on our favorite times something was apparent; with 10-15 camps in our rear view, we had never experienced a week like this.
We sat on our couch too tired to move but unable to stop talking when Kelsie said, “Our kids were so benefited from you working at Truefaced.”I filtered that statement for a minute as a picture of God’s orchestration began to form in my mind. The incredible truths that we are starting to trust for our lives- a TrueFaced worldview, communities of Grace like those described in our upcoming book Bo’s Café, and Protective Love- are reshaping our influence.
It all starts with one scared high school student who was brave enough to know that she couldn’t handle the shame of a hidden issue anymore. Mortified, she trusted me to go with her to tell her friends. We didn’t ask for their accountability for the behavior; instead we asked them to love her and remind her of the truth when they could see her believing this specific lie. The incredible thing is that they had no idea what to do with this, but they loved her so well over the next days. They loved her by asking questions, clarifying her pain, and asking for advice from people they trust as to how they can best love her.
In that process, each of those who had been shared with began to believe that this environment might be a safe enough place for them to stop hiding some of their stuff. This one act of humility was a supernova of light, blowing away dark places left and right. This wasn’t an “I can tell a worse story than you” dynamic, a sob fest, or a time of bargaining and promises to do better. The hope that was created through these times was unbelievable. These were not young men and woman offering transparency, a look inside without any permission to love them; these were friends who were finding life in Jesus, trusting people with their stuff and finding it a safe enough place to not be instantly better. These high school students experienced trusting God and others with them, trusting that they could be loved without faking, deceiving, and masking. They were not asking for a get out of jail free card, they were asking for others to love them while standing with them in their pain, hurt, and consequences of their actions. I think that they realized that nothing was “fixed” during this time away. THANK GOD! We are not people who need to be fixed; we are people who need to experience love.