It’s risky to be transparent. We humans can sometimes be very hard on each other. Our honest confessions may not be received well. We might leave feeling misunderstood, alone, ignorant, or unspiritual. Sadly, that happens sometimes—even among those of us who say we are saved by grace.
But I believe the benefits of transparency are worth the risks. I sense a common theme among women today that we are tired of posts and pins that only show the beautiful and the impeccable and leave out the messier parts of our lives. We have exhausted ourselves trying to serve dinner like a cooking show, mother like the parenting book says we should, craft like a pinterest champ, decorate like HGTV, and all the while looking like a Photoshopped model. I feel a collective, “ENOUGH!” rising up within us.
It’s time to be brave and get real and give others permission to do the same. Life is hard enough without us nit-picking at each other. We need to listen without criticism, love without judgement, accept without shock, and serve without superiority. That’s what Jesus did and that’s the transparency we all crave. Let us be the response we are hoping to receive from others.
Actually, people are generally not as critical we imagine them to be. More often than not, real honesty produces more “me too’s” than “shame on you’s”. It’s what we imagine people might say rather than their actual words that hold us back from sharing openly. In truth, others will draw their own courage to share by witnessing the transformative power of transparency in us. When we share our truth and allow others the same freedom to share theirs, the farce of isolation melts away and we find life-giving community.
We want our lives to bring glory to God, but maybe our ideas about what bring Him glory are skewed. We think we will glorify God when we have our act together. But I think God is trying to tell us something different. Let’s read what He said to Paul.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
God’s power and grace shine brightest through the cracks of our brokenness. We are to admit—Paul even goes so far as to boast—in our weakness for it showcases God’s power and strength. Our weakness allows others to see God at work in our lives without our personal strengths blocking their view. That’s transparency.
We yearn to be known and accepted and loved just as we are, not as we should be, right here in the middle of our mess. God loves every one of us like that. And if we drink deeply of His grace, we will love others that way too.
God sees the beautiful in our hearts even when our outward expression of the treasure we hold inside is not pinworthy.
God knows how deeply we care for our people even on those days when we lose it, or forget it, or blow it.
God watches us as we faithfully serve in thousands of ways that no one ever sees and will never be acknowledged.
God displays the artwork of our lives for His glory even when we color outside the lines or break our crayons.
His heart is for us. And when we grasp that—when we really get it, it becomes easy to have a heart for all people, especially the messy ones; because we know that we all need to be loved like that, especially when it’s our turn to be the messy one.
So go ahead. Be courageous. Share your truth. And be ever-ready to listen with the heart of Jesus when someone else is ready to share hers.
What is a time when you were brave and risked transparency? What was the response? Are you glad you did?
“The Real Me” by Natalie Grant
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