Why do we put a mask on ourselves? Why is it that we feel we cannot share our hurts, fears, and failures? Why do we feel that we must put on a false self and feel the need for perfection? Several students shared the hurt they have felt over the years and the inability to express this hurt to those around them. One student gave a fantastic representation of what this looks like. She had in her hands, something that was wrapped with clothe, that protected it from being broken. She slowly unraveled all the clothe to reveal a vase, something fragile, yet something of beauty. This is us so many times. We hide ourselves, wrap ourselves in a false identity that keeps us from being broken, but hinders us from being useful and covers the beauty that we have. We tend to hide behind a false identity that grants us safety, but makes us miserable because we lose the joy of being who we were created to be.
I believe that a big part of this masking is due to our lack of community. We have failed to build a community where we can be open and vulnerable with each other. Something that was repeated over and over today as students shared, was how they had never experienced community like this before and how vital that is for us. God himself lives in community and desperately desires us to share in community with Him and those around us. We need a place where we all feel comfortable taking off our mask, where we share our failures and hurts and where we just live life and love. This is the challenge for all of us from FLI this semester and a challenge to everyone else to bring about a sense of community and to be the person God has created you to be!