Have you ever noticed that although you can see through plastic wrap, it distorts whatever is inside? Things look crinkly, or funny when viewed through it. When you look through glass, there is no distortion though, or if there is, I’ve never noticed it. Well, through my glasses things are distorted, but in a good way! ;o)
I’ve been thinking a lot about transparency lately. What does it mean for a person to be transparent? How are we to be that way? As a Christian, shouldn’t I strive to be more like glass than plastic wrap? When we go to church, do we put on our plastic faces, or are we like glass, sharing and showing what is really going on in our lives? I’ve worn the plastic face before. Most of us probably have. We don’t want to admit our brokenness. Our need for God. So many people today seem to think that since they are a Christian, they must not show that they are human. We almost seem to want to show everyone else how wonderful things are, even when we hurt. We all hurt. We’ve all got trials. Why not share them with your brothers and sisters in Christ?
In order to be willing to share, a person must feel safe. That they can share. That they won’t be judged or looked down upon. In order for that to happen, they have to know that other people are hurting too. That other people are just as broken and challenged in they are. Not necessarily in the same way, but in one way or another. We know that the Bible tells us all people have sinned, all people fall short of the Glory of God. (Romans 3:23) I cannot speak for everyone else, but I tend to forget that. As humans, we see the outside, we do not see the heart of other people, but we should. That is part of being transparent. Seeing a person’s heart, but in order to see it, they must let you. They must be transparent, opening themselves up to show one another what their problems and trials are. How they fall short. How they hurt, how they are broken. That goes back to feeling safe with one another. It’s a vicious cycle. How can I trust you, if you don’t trust me, but how can you trust me if I don’t trust you, etc. etc. etc. Someone has to start.
I’ll go first… I’m human, I hurt, I fail, I struggle. If you’ve read my blog before, you know some of my trials… I was in an abusive relationship, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety, my son struggles with bipolar disorder, my husband was very ill earlier this year. There is more than that though. I struggle with prayer, making time daily to go to the Lord with praise, with hurts, with needs, for others. I try, but I don’t always succeed, that’s part of my humanness. I struggle with food. In my first marriage when my husband turned angry, I would eat. Not just over-eat, but binge. I would drive through a fast food place, get several burgers, eat them so fast it would make your head spin, then go home and eat dinner so that no one would know I had already eaten, and so much. I struggle with my self image. Am I good enough? Do people look at me differently because I’m over-weight? Does that matter? I struggle with reading the Bible as I should, I’m lazy, I don’t always do what I know is right. Sometimes I do things for the wrong reasons, not putting God first, but putting my own needs and desires before His. I spend too much money, not being a good steward of what God has given me.
This post wasn’t intended to be a confession of all my faults, but to encourage others to be transparent, to go to their brothers and sisters in Christ, and ask for whatever help they need. Whether it is prayer, friendship, finances, whatever it is you are struggling with, take it to the cross, and take it to your brothers and sisters. Part of being a family is helping one another, lifting one another up, supporting one another, and being that safe place for one another. Family should be the one place that we can turn, when it seems that no one will understand, for support and help. We cannot help one another if we aren’t transparent. If we always put on our plastic faces and don’t let anyone see who we really are, and what our needs are. What are your needs, how can your brothers and sisters lift you up, support you, and love you as Christ does?