The Transparent Life

What does it mean to live a transparent life?
It means you start being honest about things. There was a lady I met recently that told me something very profound.  She said, “Erin, I love your blog because you are transparent. So many of us Christian Moms hide behind fake pretenses.  We do not want others to know where we struggle.  You, sharing your faults and failings publicly, though I know it must be difficult to do, helps those of us that secretly struggle from day to day in those same areas.  You give us hope.”I did not know that people struggle.  I always assumed I was alone in my struggles.  I felt that other ladies could pull it all off while my life was in shambles.  How lonely to suffer silently.  You know, when we hide our faults we allow darkness to prevail.  I figured that one out years ago.  When I struggled in a certain area I would keep it a dark secret.  I was embarrassed to let others know that I actually had problems.  It would be admitting I was not as good of a wife or mother and I could not do that—it would certainly make others ashamed to even talk to me.How wrong I was.  I realized that God is a God of light.  It is like a dirty room.  You can not see the dirt when the room is dark.  When the light is turned on, the dirt is revealed.  That is how God is—He exposes all the spots in us as his light shines upon us.  We can either turn the light off and never gain victory, or we can leave the light on to allow the Holy Spirit to do a cleansing of our heart.  He washes us with His word. The Bible says,

“That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
Ephesians 5:26-27

When we hide things we become liars.  We lie to others because we do not want them to know where we struggle.  When they ask us questions that seem uncomfortable, we may avoid answering or change the subject because the truth is hard for us to face.

Why do people lie?
I often wondered why people lie.  I have caught people in lies so many times I could hardly count.  The other day as I was talking this question out with my children, they came up with the most simple answers.

  1. People lie because they want to protect themselves or others.
  2. People lie because they do not want to get in trouble.
  3. People lie because they are afraid of what others with think of them.
  4. They want to please others by hiding their true feelings.

It is like an unhealthy craving for the approval of others.  I have been there and done that.  You want everyone to be happy with you and like you.  If they only knew what you were like behind closed doors.

We are more transparent with our immediate family.  Why?
We can truly be ourselves with all our shortcomings and all our failings around our family because we know they will love us anyhow—they love us unconditionally.  God knows all the secret intents of the heart—we surely cannot hide from Him.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
~Hebrews 4:12

The first step to the transparent life, is to know who we are in Christ.  It does not matter what others think anyhow, for they will not be our judge at the end of our days.  We can rest assured they will not condemn us.  When we accept and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, accepting his blood atonement for our sins, we become the righteousness of God.  He approves of us and our faith in the finished work of the cross.

I spent years beating myself up and down until I could no longer fight against my own shame.  It nearly devoured my soul until I was nothing more than a complete coward—essentially a dog with its tail between its legs around others trying to be accepted and wanted. I would have done anything to win the approval of others at one time. I felt God was not happy with me and I wanted Him to approve of me.  I felt my husband was not happy with me.  I felt no one liked me.  And it was all lies.  The more you beat yourself up, the less fun you are to be around I found—who enjoys being around a person that desperate and that depressing.  I used to continually remind God of how lowly and sinful I was, beginning Him to help me.  I did not need to grovel like that because God had already forgiven me.  If you have chosen to believe and accept God’s eternal plan, God has already forgiven you, why must you keep reminding him of how sinful you are.  He accepts you and loves you, you need to accept and love yourself. And it is all by choice.  By choice, I was miserable.  God loved and forgave me. My husband loved me.  I did not experience the joy of it because I did not choose to.

When God gave the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself, He was acknowledging that He wants you to also love yourself.  That was the hardest point for me.  I just did not love myself—I was my worst enemy.  God instructs us to love not to the point of more than others, or others more than yourself—just love the same amount as yourself.  It is a balance.  God is always teaching us how to become balanced in His word.  When we are honest we are on our way to a blessed life in Christ.

Just the other day my dear friend Mike Hoff was on the phone with me.  I helped him with his website and his domain was getting close to expiring.  He asked me to call a company to make sure it was fixed and I did not want to call because I had just filled my bathtub with hot water and I wanted to take my bath.  I actually told him that I hate making those types of phone calls to big corporations that make you sit on hold for long periods of time.  It had to be done so I reluctantly said, “I will do it right now.”  I started the phone call and noticed a wave of anger passing over me.  That wave of anger was not good for me.  I was sitting there knowing my bath water was getting cold while I was sitting there on HOLD.  I lied about my circumstances by hiding them.  I should have just told Mike the truth.  I should have told him that I was in the middle of something and that I would call when I had time.  Instead, I became a people pleaser.  When I figured this all out in a matter of minutes, I quickly called Mike back and told him that I was not going to make that call right now that I will do it when I have time.  That was such a milestone for me!  I was glad that I was able to recognize the light of Christ.  That light was able to get me out of my corner I was hiding in for the millionth time.  Old habits seem to die hard.  We can overcome when we allow the light to prevail.

He said, “That’s fine.”  Wow, that was not so bad.  He would not have cared for me any less if I would have let him know that I had other things going at that time.  I make things way more complicated when I try to put pressure on myself that is totally unnecessary.  There is no reward in giving when we have feelings of bitterness or frustration when we give of ourselves to please or be seen of men.

“Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.”
~Matthew 6:2-4

We get our reward when we are a people pleaser.  Our reward is that they may or may not be thankful for our sacrifice and we may have the unhandy feeling of bitterness because we know we could have been doing something else with our time.  It is a selfish motive when we aim to please others.  Instead, we should be honest and if people are not happy with us saying “No” occasionally, they will soon find out that you are not always going to drop everything each time they call.  Then when we get the opportunity to serve with a clean heart, we will do it out of pure love and not for any selfish motive.  God will see the motives of our heart and we shall have an eternal reward.

Then we will enjoy the blessed peace of the transparent life in Christ.  It is a very FREEing feeling indeed.

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

~John 8:32

18 thoughts on “The Transparent Life

  1. Thank you, Erin! That was so well worded and so good. I often don’t want to say No, because I have a feeling of guilt if I do. But I need to rest in that what I am doing (or not doing) is as to the Lord, and let it go, no matter what the other people think. (with singleness of heart, as to the Lord, and not unto men). Thanks again!

  2. Hi Erin, I really appreciate you talking about maintaining a balance. I struggle with it a lot. I have a very black and white, all or nothing personality, so it’s been hard to find my Christian walk in this life. For some time, I stopped wearing makeup thinking that’s worldly. But it didn’t make me feel any holy. I just became very self conscious. Then I got to think that there is no difference between wearing makeup and combing hair, and I didn’t think combing hair was worldly, so I concluded that wearing makeup is O.K. too. Same thing with the transparency issue. When I first became a Christian, I was very transparent. Then I learned my lesson not to be as some people seemed uncomfortable with it and some used it against me. Now I only say things that people want to hear, but I”m very lonely. I have no real relationship with anyone, and yet I try very hard to please people. I even try to please telemarketers. I go through the same self beating process you went through except in my case, I really am that desperate person who is not likable. I can tell by how I get excluded from different groups in the community. I used to think that there was something wrong with those people, but now, I’ve come to accept the fact that it’s really me who has a problem. I try my best to be a blessing to everyone who brush against my circle (I have no one “in” my circle), but I never seem to be able to connect with anyone. I know I’m saved, but as far as living a victorious life on this earth, I haven’t got a clue. I am glad that you were able to overcome your situation. Thanks for the blog. I remember you in my prayer on a daily basis.

    • Hello, dear! Poor thing. I think we all feel lonely, sometimes. I just wanted to point out that you’re allowed to pray for God to choose your friends for you, and to ask that He would bring people into your life who are also striving to please Him, and to help you to treat others the way you want to be treated. God cares! “In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” (Isaiah 63:9) Darkest before dawn, right?

      • Michelle – I appreciate you taking the time out to write. I must confess I need to work on believing the passage because to be honest I don’t really think Jesus understands the feeling of isolation I am going through. Yes I know He was alone at the end, but He had close friends throughout His ministry. I’ve been doing this homeschooling thing alone for 10 years now. And in my experience, homeschooling community is more clickish and judgmental than any other community I have known. I don’t mean to sound bitter. It’s just my opinion. To borrow Michael Pearl’s words they have their inner circle and outer circle thing going on, and they are polite to me as someone in their outer circle, but they keep their distance. And I don’t blame them either. I would do the same. I wouldn’t let my children hang out with a family whose father is not a Christian and whose mother is not so transparent. It’s very hard for me to be transparent. I feel that if I say anything about my husband, first of all, it wouldn’t be right because I’m supposed to be trustworthy. And second of all it might give people more ammunition to shun us if I may borrow the concept of Amish shunning. So I keep everything to myself. Plus I’m just not one of those successful people who have things to offer. I desperately try everything, but things don’t seem to really work out for me. My tomato plant yielded about 30 fruits total this year and my egg rolls came out shapeless and my pumpkin bars were kind of doughy. I desperately try to be entrepreneurial, but I’m losing money. Yes I am a loser. I get that. And I’m not trying to be pitiful. But after trying so hard for so long, I came to accept the fact that not everyone can be Debbi Pearl or Erin. I am thankful for what I do have and I rejoice in the fact that I am saved, but it’s been a lonely walk. Thanks for letting me vent. I hope you have a great day, and God bless you for your kind words.

    • I appreciate your honesty and essentially you are very much like me. I am all or nothing as well. That is why each day I need to find balance, and if you get a chance to read my book you will find our lives to be very much the same. I have had good Christian woman be hateful towards me just after I told them my testimony in a transparent way. They told me my husband should have ran the other way. I have had a lot of rejection. I mainly just find the most contentment to be alone with God or with just my family. It took some years of pain and yet I still have pain at times dealing with people that are not kind and they are “above” me. It is a learning process and each year the Lord helps me to crave approval of people less and rest in His approval of me more. I hope you can understand that I am nothing, no one special. I am just a willing vessel, willing to learn and grow through my many mistakes and through much pain. I chose JOY, but some days that choice is a very hard thing for me. Even though you are anonymous, I will pray for you and I believe you have what it takes to minister to others. You will get there. You are very special, not everyone can be as open and real as you and that is the very thing that will set you free one day. God sees your heart and he will carry you through, I know he will because he did for me what I though impossible. Love to you, Erin

      • Thank you for your encouraging words. I know how much of a loving sacrifice it is when you write. I already know that you and I are very much alike. I too was molested as a child, I am very creative, I have a husband who is very steady and says very little and I have a closet no one is allowed to open except in my case it’s entire room (I’m working on it.) I am at a point where I really don’t care what others think. It’s not by choice, but since I have no close community to speak of, I have nothing to care about. I used to be very secretive about listening to the Pearls’ CDs and reading their books, because my church community doesn’t approve of them. There are ladies at my church who would spend their own money buying the Pearls’ books so they can come home and burn them. But I’ve been slowly letting myself slip here and there about my learning from the Pearls. It’s hard because as shallow as it is my church community is the only thread of Christian connection I have. And since I homeschool I desperately need even a weekly meeting with others. My greatest pain is the fact that I’ve not been able to provide my children with a healthy community. I don’t know how to do it. My husband is not a Christian and wants nothing to do with “church people”. He’s O.K. with me going to a local church, so it’s the only thing I hold on to. So yes PLEASE pray for me. I’m too much of a coward to tell you my name, but please pray for my children. Please pray that they will find others despite my isolation. There is so much I want to say, but I will stop as not to be a Day Goblin. My children and I pray for you everyday. We learn so much from you, and we have fun trying things. Thank you.

      • I will be praying for you and you family. Thank you for being so honest with me and never feel you are a day goblin. I am here to help those that are hurting, I consider it an honor to be here to help. If you ever need to email me privately, please do so. You can click on my email button on the side, it is a pink circle with an envelope on it. Have a blessed day, dear sister in the Lord.

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