Everyone loves a good testimony. It’s refreshing to hear what the Lord has done in one person’s life. But you know what else I love? I love a good present-mony. A present-mony? What in the world is that? Well, in the dictionary of Dana, a present-mony is like a testimony. However, it’s when a person shares what they are going through in the present moment and what God is doing in them right now, even sometimes during the fire. It’s what I like to call transparent Christianity.
When something is transparent, you can see it from the inside out. It’s not hiding behind pretty facades or false pretenses. It may look appealing on the outside but you will quickly be able to see if what’s on the inside is flawed or not. I think about the ocean. When I get in the water I love when I can see through it to where my feet are going. From the outside it’s beautiful and serene, but on the inside, there are some wildlife and rocks that can hurt me if I’m unaware of stepping on them.
We all go through stuff. We are all “hot messes,” as I like to say. But for some reason, we Christians have learned to put on our “church faces.” You know what I mean. We love to pray for others and maybe even share about our past sins, but God forbid we show any signs of current struggles or temptations. We smile through the pain, all while desperately crying out for ANYONE to just understand what we are going through. We turn our noses up at that addict or sinner, when we ourselves serve our own gods in private. Oh, that’s deep stuff.
I think it’s time for the church to be real. I’m not saying we should pet sin and call it ok. I’m not saying we air all our dirty laundry when it’s unfruitful to others. I definitely think we have to use wisdom in what, how, and who we say things to. I think social media is a good example of where you need to pray about whether your words are to create glory for God or dramatic attention for yourself. But it’s time to reveal the heart, imperfect and all.
I shared a week ago that my marriage recently was in one of the darkest places it had ever been in. I was humbled by how many women and men came to me and my husband about the blog. It wasn’t to condemn us or to get juicy gossip. It was to THANK us. They weren’t thanking us for nearly divorcing, but they were thanking us for being transparent enough to say what we were going through and the hope and courage it gave them to know they weren’t alone. You see, the enemy would love to make you think you are alone in what you go through. It may look a little different to each person, but we all are tempted. Even JESUS was tempted! And all of us will fall to some kind of temptation eventually.
The devil also would love to keep you silent about what you go through. There’s no freedom in isolation. He doesn’t want you free, and he for SURE doesn’t want you helping someone else be free in the process. So he brings guilt and shame to silence you. Then the fear sets in of others finding out your secrets, so out comes the mask you wear so well. It’s easier to play a part then face reality. We believe in Jesus, but we are performers on the stage of the show that we put on daily. When are we going to stop being actors and start being doers?
The Bible frequently shares stories of imperfect people who God used regardless of who they were because their hearts were transparent and after His. It’s ok to be flawed. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need Jesus, bottom line. He created me. I think he knew what He was in for with my struggles of low self-image, fear, doubt, selfishness, attention and approval seeking, anger, pride, and the list goes on and on and on. But can I tell you something else? He’s never ONCE rejected me or refused to use me, even when legalistic Christians who were supposed to bear His image did.
I want to encourage someone today to be brave. Be bold. Be courageous. You NEVER KNOW what your transparency can do for not just your own struggles, but for the lives of others. Again, it’s ok to use wisdom in what you share, but find accountability partners who are FOR YOU and your salvation to go to. And when you feel comfortable, use that experience to build others up. In blessing others, you will find how easy it can be to admit your flaws because suddenly you realize the peace and freedom of the unveiling of the mask and exposing the true person underneath. Know that others could or may judge you, but that means they are just deflecting from their own show and performance. That’s their heart issue, not yours.
It’s time for the church to raise the standard. The world keeps it ridiculously real in its actions. It’s time for us to keep it real as well. It’s time for us to take a bow and end the performance.
Light can only shine through transparency. It’s time to shine.