I have had so many thoughts running through my head these past few days it’s been hard to focus. But one word keeps emerging to the forefront of my cerebral cacophony—“transparent.” It’s a word I hardly considered a few months ago, but recently it’s popped up repeatedly.
According to dictionary.com, “transparent” means:
1. having the property of transmitting rays of light through its substance so that bodies situated beyond or behind can be distinctly seen
2. so sheer as to permit light to pass through
3. easily seen through, recognized, or detected
4. manifest; obvious
5. open; frank; candid
For some objects, transparency is a desired characteristic: windows, wine goblets, drinking water, aquariums, eye glasses and Ziploc bags come to mind. The benefits are pretty obvious.
But, when it comes to ourselves, transparency isn’t a trait we aspire to. We prefer the safe, protected, controlled cover of opacity. It’s been said people are like icebergs: 10% of who we are is visible and 90% remains unseen.
“You’re so transparent,” is generally not a compliment.
So why was I pleased a few weeks ago when a magazine editor told me, “…you are honest and transparent.”? Because she followed it up with, “These are some of the most necessary attributes of a writer whom God can use.”
During the past few months that I’ve written this blog, several people have expressed discomfort at my honesty. Others have said, “I could never do what you do.” A few have even wondered, “Why?”
I belong to an online writers’ group. Last week the concept of being transparent (there’s that word again!) was raised as a discussion topic. Here’s an excerpt of what I wrote:
“I’ve found that writing from the heart is a vulnerable experience. It magnifies the struggles I already face. But, it’s what I believe God has called me to do. What good is it if I put myself out there like I have it all together, when I really don’t? Yeah, my 10% is OK, but that serves no one, especially not God. I might get hurt by being so open. But, if I’m not honest why even bother to write at all.
I rely on the verse, “‘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.” (2 Cor. 12:9)
I am learning much about myself in this process and I know that my words have touched others as well. I pray that on this journey my readers and I experience our awesome God together.”
I chose to take a risk and have seen Christ’s power gloriously shine through my weakness into others' lives—and into mine as well.
As believers, this is a choice we can ALL make.
We can choose to let go of our pride, and our fear of rejection and judgment. We can choose to share the 90% of ourselves we keep hidden. We can choose to be honest about our brokenness. We can choose to admit when life is rough and we need a hand—and a prayer. And we can choose to believe that God’s power WILL be made perfect through our weakness.
It’s OK that we don’t have it all together. God didn’t send His only Son because we’re alright on our own, He sent Jesus because we aren’t. We grow as believers when we embrace this truth.
As Cecil Murphey, co-author of 90 Minutes in Heaven (and a mentor of the above mentioned writers’ group) boldly stated, “I would rather be disliked for who I am than to be admired for who I’m not.”
Authentic. Honest. Vulnerable. Transparent.
Not easy characteristics to choose, but certainly ones God can use. “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10)