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.”
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.
- People lie because they want to protect themselves or others.
- People lie because they do not want to get in trouble.
- People lie because they are afraid of what others with think of them.
- 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.”
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.”
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.”