Hear from Lane, former Director of The Reality Project, and his thoughts about the meaningful work we do with students throughout our city.
The Reality Project is one of three core programs that make up First Image. TRP works to address sexual brokenness in the lives of young people by sharing a counter-cultural message rooted in the Image of God.
I’ve always been the kind of person who wants to save the world. I often see myself as a hero in the story of humanity.
This has played into nearly every aspect of my life. This is one reason that The Reality Project was so attractive to me. Working with TRP would give me the opportunity to go into the world in the form of public high schools and instigate restoration and redemption. God has designed sex to be beautiful and powerful and the enemy has taken this amazing gift and turned it into a weapon.
Working with TRP would give me an opportunity to dismantle that weapon. I saw Greater Portland as Gotham City and myself as the Caped Crusader.
I am a man of high idealism, very hopeful of the future, and I often set very high goals for anything I am a part of. This mentality was challenged by the person who trained me for The Reality Project. I often spoke very highly about the change I wanted to see happen through our school presentations. I also felt limited in the fact that we were unable to talk about Jesus in regards to sex.
Our revelation of truth had to be restricted to science, emotional health, and reason. There is meaningful work that can be done through those sources of wisdom, but it made me feel restricted, as though I was being asked to speak in half-truths. I could talk about why sex was valuable and powerful, but I couldn’t talk about the God who designed it that way.
Our job is not to radically change every student with whom we come into contact, instead we are to indiscriminately sow seeds of truth. Our job is to trust that God is at work in the world and be faithful in the influence that we have been given.
I began to present in schools all over Greater Portland concerning healthy relationships and sexual integrity, I came to realize the wisdom in his words. What I was doing in the classroom was not going to reverse all of what our popular culture had been speaking for decades. I just had to cast seed and pray that some of this truth would take root and be watered and nurtured and bring about real change and renewal. This requires restraint and is often very difficult. This was never more difficult than when I met a student at a high school named Casey.
I was in the health class talking about the impact of sexual abuse when Casey raised his hand. He began to talk about a sexual abuse that had taken place in his life. I asked him to speak with me after class so we could sit down and talk one on one.
I was born a girl but I have recently decided to undergo a change in gender. I want to identify as a boy.
When I was young I was abused over and over by my dad and uncle. I was taken away from my family at 6 years old and then bounced from foster home to foster home. And then when I was in 5th grade an older friend that I trusted, sexually assaulted me. I didn’t know what to do, so I’ve just kept it in all these years. I want to get past all of this, but I don’t know how. It haunts me everyday.
I could see there was so much pain in Casey’s life, that he was having a crisis in identity.
Casey had no family, and she had only received abuse from those she trusted. She didn’t know how to handle or process all of the sexual, psychological, physical, and emotional abuse. I sat there, knowing that I couldn’t say what I was really thinking. I couldn’t tell Casey that a loving Father had given her life and cherished every fiber of her being. I couldn’t tell her that healing and redemption could be offered through the love of Jesus. All I wanted in that moment was to wrap that child in my arms and express the deep, deep love of Jesus, but all I could do was sit there, acknowledge the heartbreak, and instill value in Casey’s life.
I walked out of the classroom that day, went straight to my car and cried. I sat in the parking lot of that school and wept. I prayed for Casey. I told God that I trusted Him with Casey’s pain, and I asked for His kingdom to break through in Casey’s life.
That day, I sowed seeds.
It was richly meaningful to be with Casey in that place, and I left having to trust that God would continue to be at work in Casey’s life.
The Reality Project is one facet of God’s Kingdom work in the world, and we work every day to sow seeds of God’s truth into the hearts of young people. Then we pray, and we trust that God is at work.