My Wednesday word is transparency.
Nobody likes their past out in the open for everyone to have a look at. We don’t want our dirty laundry waving away on the clothesline. We keep a dirty business to ourselves and pray that it is never seen. We feel constant shame from our past even though we have been forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ. We think that it is something to be embarrassed by and we’ll do all we can to keep it hidden; including lie.
I once went to a church that was open about almost everyone’s past within the congregation. Now you might be asking why would they air their dirty laundry within the church? So that if someone came in and needed some serious help we would know who to send them to for any special prayer or ministering. By doing this, people knew that the person standing next to them had once had a messy life and truly say, “I know where you are at. Let me show you who helped me. His name is Jesus.”
For a long time now we’ve been taught in the church to keep our past sin and shame to ourselves. Maybe not in so many words but by our actions. Think about the last time someone came into your church a little on the Rough Side or unusual. Did you go and greet the person? Did you shake their hand? If they went to the Altar for prayer did you at least put a hand out in their Direction and pray for them? I know that there are times that I did not. (As I write this, I can’t help but think What glorious blessing did I keep from someone and what honor did I rob of God?.)
We have to be willing to be open and honest with people in both the church and the world. We have gotten the stigma as believers that we are high and lofty and think we are better than the people that live in the world. But that idea alone is not a Godly one. It says in the Bible to share our burdens with one another and yet as soon as we accept Christ into our lives we hide large chunks of ourselves from our brothers and sisters.
We are called by God as believers to share and minister with those who are hurting, not keep the glory of what God has done in our lives to ourselves. This is transparency. To leave open for all to see the wonderful things God has done in our lives. It’s kind of like not being ashamed of your dirty house after your toddler has gone through and dragged every toy out of their toy box and left it laying all over the house. Then someone stops by for a surprise visit. We immediately want to hide the dirt and the food and the grime. But if we are to be open and honest with people around us we shouldn’t feel shame but be willing to share ourselves with people.
I personally have a very hard time with many Pastor wives. Not my own but those from my past. They put on this air that everything is perfect and there is nothing going on in their personal life or in their home. In reality, I know that is not the case and I find it very hard to be willing to open up to them if they are not willing to open up to me. On that note, I think we put pastor wives on too lofty of a pedestal and they feel like they have to keep parts of themselves away from everybody.
Our transparency with the world makes us more relatable and makes God more real to them. By being willing to tell people what God has done in our life we are witnessing and giving God glory.
I talk a good talk, but let me walk the walk a little for you. ( I can’t preach what I am not willing to do, right?)
I was raised in the church. My dad played in a traveling Christian country band (or something like that) and for as long as I have known, he has lead praise and worship in whatever church we attended. One church even made him the assistant pastor.
At a very young age, I was exposed to porn. I was at a friends house and we would take her brother’s magazines and look at them. I learned A LOT about the human body long before I should have. When my mother finally began to give me “the Talk” I already knew quite a bit.
Here’s the confession – That encounter sent me in a downward spiral that plagued me until a couple years ago. It was a secret shame that when coupled with molestation (at 5 or 6) and being groped by some of my male peers (at the age of 12 and 13) caused me to see intimacy with my husband as a dirty thing; even though I was told it wasn’t. I felt like an object. (I honestly think that is why I am not concerned with losing weight – but that is another story altogether) I felt like I had a job to perform. And trust, well that was a no go.
Three years ago, I shared this with my prayer partner at a women’s retreat. She witnessed my rage at the offenders and the peace that flooded my entire being when I made the choice to forgive them. I found healing in that confession; that willingness to be transparent with her. And, praise the Lord, my marriage has been beautiful in every way. I can communicate better with my husband because I don’t feel judged. We talk and laugh and I can honestly say we have never been this content.
Now, I still struggle with the effects. Lack of trust toward men I don’t know well (I don’t hug men unless they are my dad’s age and older or they are family. Not even a side hug). I have no full-length mirrors in my house. I loathe trying on clothes. When I sense that sexual predatory spirit, I run, or at least want to. There was even one time I put my own little girl between me and a man I should have felt safe around who tried to give me a hug. (I am still ashamed of that one) Each time one of these things happen, I have to stop and repeat over and over, “I have forgiven them. They can not hurt me. Jehovah Elyon (The Lord Most High) is with me and will protect me.”
So are you willing to be transparent and tell your story? Maybe not here but to someone. It might hurt (I went through a wealth of emotions writing this) but it might also bring about the salvation of someone who is lost. I don’t know about you but to me, keeping the beautiful things God has done in my life to myself just seems like a disservice to the One who Created me “beautifully and wonderfully”.