Many times growing up I have heard the term to “be transparent” with one another. I heard it at youth group when we were encouraged to share about our lives, I heard it at work where you are working to bring kids to Christ. I always have shrugged it off as merely meaning to not do anything wrong that would shame ministry or your group but this term has taken a whole new meaning as I have taken steps to be transparent with God and then with others.
Taking those steps is so important! If you are wondering why you are feeling far from God perhaps it is because you are masking your real self from him. For so long I struggled in vain to hide my sin and shame from my savior who would have happily comforted me in my sufferings and turned me onto the path of righteousness. It is when you turn from your deviousness and turn to being true and honest with yourself and with God about the person you have made yourself that you can start about the business of becoming that which you ought to be. When you have some false air of purpose and importance God can not use you. It is such a hard concept to grasp but one that once you have decided to live into it will transform your prayer life and partnership with our mighty Lord on this great mission field. You can never be completely real with people until you are real with God.
1. You have to be self aware: Look into yourself. In what way have you formed yourself as a person? Think of the person that you long to be. How does that match up with the person that you are. Once you are aware of your shortcomings, your failures, your buttons, your problems you can turn them over to God.
2. Turn them over to God: If you are aware of your shortcomings then it becomes easier to work on those things. For me one of my biggest shortcomings is seeing the bad in a person and avoiding awkward friendships and people. Once I became aware of this I began to turn these situations over to God. If there was a person who annoyed me I automatically turned it over in prayer. I had one co-worker to constantly got on my nerves by correcting me when I was not wrong. I wanted nothing to do with her. I turned it over in prayer and amazingly God began to help me see the good in her. She became one of my closest friends and she means the world to me now. That is a friendship that I might have lost out on had I not turned my weakness over to God so that he could work it out for good. What is your shortcomings? How can you grow? What do you need to turn over to God?
3. Take Intentional Steps: Sometimes you have to pursue things. It will not all be brought to you to just take. Sometimes you have to take intentional steps towards the culmination of your goals. There will be times when you are led to take a step sometimes they are easy steps such as taking 5 minutes out of your day to pray. Sometimes they will be harder steps such as giving up something you want to help others. Those intentional steps are so vital to your growth. When you follow with trust you will see such a blossom of growth towards being the person that you want to be. For myself there was a friendship that could have definitely ended in an awkward mis-communication. I wanted to hide in a cave embarrassed of the awkward situation I had found myself in. I prayed that God would keep me from shame and work out this situation for good. I was called to intentionally seek out and pursue ways to love on this person and support them even though it would not be the easiest thing. It has been a tough task but it has taught me so much in the line of unconditional love and how Christ loved us though we are a big ole mess. What are you called to do today? There is not a day that God does not wish to lead you through the path of his will. What intentional step are you being called to take today? Is it to forgive someone? Are you to show love to someone that will be tough? What can you do today to come one step closer to your goal tomorrow?
You could end there but then you would not experience the blessing of being transparent with people. There is nothing better on this planet then to be completely real with a person and to be accepted as who you are. When you take down all the shields, as you take down all the walls that you have constructed you become aware of your brokenness, you become aware that you are not the person that you want other people to see. To do that leaves you so vulnerable where you are able to be hurt. This is the reason that people avoid being transparent but it is so vital to the Christian life. We are to encourage and uplift one another leading them in our actions and interactions. How can you encourage one who is not real with you? Full circle: how can you be encouraged if no one knows you? How can you take a step towards being real with someone?
1. Pray about it: God can really help you to find that person. If you are nervous pray about it! God is everywhere so pray anywhere! In all things pray! If you pray for that person to share with certainly God will bring that person to you.
2. Intentionally seek out real conversation: If you stick to “how are you? good, you? good” conversations you will never open up. Talk about your passions, what makes you excited about the world? Talk about your loves, talk about your true feelings, talk about your shortcomings, talk about God.
3. Repeat #2 when appropriate.
I know that I haven’t posted in a while and that this post is a little scatterbrained but I hope that you will take something from these haphazard thoughts of mine from this amazing Sunday. May you have a blessed week and on. I want to encourage you to pray this week as you encounter those walls and shields in others. Open up and let his love in! God Bless. A.