Two years ago, my husband and I made a commitment to God, each other, and our Pastor to begin the process of restoring our marriage from the destruction of porn addiction. At that time, our Pastor shared with us that he felt like God would use what we had been through one day as a testimony to help others. I had prayed for that many times but it seemed those prayers were to no avail. For some reason, hearing my Pastor say the very words I had been praying for YEARS, gave this broken girl hope and the determination to allow my heart to believe again.
Last July, which was a little over a year since we started our journey of restoration, we had a divine connection. We shared our “story” with a gentleman who had a heart and passion for seeing others live a transparent life and find freedom from issues that hold them in captivity. He asked if he could share our testimony on a video so that others might be encouraged and find hope for their own struggles. My prayers, we at last, being answered and the vision our Pastor had shared with us was beginning to become reality.
We are honored that we were able to be a small part of what God is doing through this gentleman and the ministry he is involved with. Transparent Ministries (See link on side bar) is a ministry that encourages a life of transparency. Isn’t that the very thing we all desire…. to be real and to be loved at the same time?
Last month, by God’s amazing grace, our testimony was shared by video to our church family.
Before that night, my husband shared what was going to take place with a small group of men from our church. Their response was amazing. After praying and giving my husband encouragement, they told him they were going to sit around us that night to show their support. What love!! They will never know how very much their support meant to the both of us. Little did we know then, but their support was a glimpse of how our church family as a whole would respond to our transparency.
Most of the people at our church did not know about our struggles. We truly did not know what to expect. Thankfully, we have a Pastor who covered us with his support, prayers, and encouragement. Being team leaders at our church, we know or are acquainted with most of the people in our congregation. I couldn’t help but wonder….
Would we be judged?
Would we be rejected?
Would we be treated differently once everyone knew our story?
Would we feel the need to leave our church after this was all over?
Only God knew the answers that we didn’t and trusting Him is what got us through.
My husband and I went that night believing it was all about giving hope to others, but in reality, it ended up being so much MORE. God not only used it to bring hope to others but He used it to bring more healing to our own hearts.
The outpouring of love and support we received from our church family was overwhelming.
This body of believers exemplified the heart of Christ with their unconditional love and created an atmosphere for transparency and healing to take place. Many witnessed this gift of love that few find in our churches today. This church was transformed into a “safe” place that night. I am confident that walls began to come down as people saw that it’s okay to be real, to be transparent, and to admit to the messy parts of their life. The congregation’s response spoke a clear message within this body of believers; you will STILL be loved no matter what your “story” may be. It is such a beautiful picture of Christ, Himself. (I realize there are many who, unfortunately, have been hurt in church..I have many thoughts about that, but I will save it for another post!)
Living a life of transparency is not what most of us are used to. Nevertheless, I can testify to you that being “real” with others can be a catalyst to bring freedom from your past like you have never known.
Are there risks involved in being transparent? Yes, you know there are….that is why it is so difficult to be real. BUT those risks will only have the power to devastate you if you are more focused on yourself and your agenda than on God and His character being revealed in your life. Don’t get me wrong, I understand all about the worries and the insecurities that rule in a person who hides behind a mask.
What will others think of ME?
Will they still like ME?
Will they say bad things about ME?
Will they reject ME?
The truth is, dear friend, you will not know the answers to these questions until all is said and done….and even then, you will still wonder.
Let’s be honest. Living a life of transparency may cost you something.
You may be rejected.
You may lose a friendship.
You may get hurt.
Been there, done that.
However, in God’s Kingdom, the losses do not compare to what is gained by allowing Him to use your life for His Glory.
Having the favor, peace, and joy of God surrounding you
is worth the risk.
Seeing lives changed because of what He has done in your own life
is worth the risk.
Having relationships that go beyond the superficial
is worth the risk.
With courageous faith, you can determine that your fears will no longer be what keeps you from having the divine, heart to heart connections with others that God desires for you to have.
What I am saying is that being transparent is a lifestyle. You see, as you share with others as the Holy Spirit leads, you become a “safe” person for others to open up to. Sometimes, somebody’s step towards healing may be encouraged by you, as you give the gift of listening. BUT in order for that gift to be received, you must first be transparent yourself.
Life in Christ is meant to be all about community and relationships. Real relationships, not superficial. Without transparency, relationships never go deep enough to really impact or influence others for Christ. Why does the world think the church is nothing but a bunch of hypocrites? Part of that is because we have given a false portrayal of who we really are. Perfection is the mask we wear and the beauty of Christ is hidden. Sadly, many of us walk around with fake smiles, wounded hearts, and without peace. Never really connecting, never really being the person God created us to be….and that is exactly what the enemy of our souls wants for you and for me. He strategically creates the masks we wear using things like fear, lies, shame and insecurity. The truth is, we become painfully comfortable behind our mask and the longer we wear it, the harder it is to expose the REAL us.
How much time and energy have we wasted worrying
about what others will think?
How many opportunities have we missed because
we feared that we would be hurt or
rejected if we were real?
Life is not meant to be about us, but about Him and His kingdom. Christ is our example. He was rejected and mistreated and yet He never let those things keep Him from living an authentic life full of love and purpose.
Real is beautiful and real is what will save the world.
Dear friend, are you ready to confront those things in your life that keeps you from being a real, authentic follower of Christ?