Over the years, I’ve discovered just how important being transparent is to the health of my life and marriage. Sadly, in our day and time, transparency has been replaced with either pretentious posturing or defensive dodging.
I’d like to refer to pretentious posturing AND defensive dodging as actually choosing to be “invisible.”
People who react in this way often feel like they are improving their status—gaining approval from others. And/or they feel like it will serve to cover their flaws, sins and blunders. But nothing could be further from the truth on both counts!
First, consider an invisible man’s prayer in this parable told by Jesus …
“‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ —Luke 8:10-12
Now, let’s consider the transparent man’s prayer …
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ —Luke 8:13
Jesus could see right through the first man because he was living invisibly. And the second man who prayed transparently had gained Christ’s approval by that very risk taken in faith and offered in humility.
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” —Luke 8:14
With that in mind, I’d love it if you’d take this quiz . . .
- Do you consistently own up to your faults and sins, OR fear the ramifications of doing so and thus resist it?
- Do you let “trusted” friends (as opposed to all your Facebook friends) know how you’re “really” doing, OR do you tend to keep things to yourself?
- Are you and most of your friends more self-accepting, OR self-conscious and/or self-condemning?
- Do you accept conflict as a part of life—dealing with it humbly/responsibly, OR tend to defend, attack and/or withdraw?
- Do you humbly and honestly work through an offense, OR quickly let loose with your anger and/or stuff it down?
- Are you more concerned with honoring God by sharing the uncomfortable truth about yourself, OR more concerned with impressing others to gain some advantage?
If you answered yes to the first half of each question, then your answer indicates you are living “transparently.”
But if more of your answers agreed with the second part of each question, then you just might be living as an “invisible man or woman.”
[bctt tweet=”Discover 6 questions that can reveal whether you are living transparently or invisibly. #invisiblemanorwoman #transparentliving #messymarriage” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
So what difference does any of this make?
If you’re operating as an invisible person/spouse, then you …
- Won’t feel like you can really connect with people—in particular your mate.
- Will feel like your conflicts with your spouse go ’round and ’round—devolving into arguments instead.
- Probably have a constant sense of shame or fear that often interferes with all your relationships, but especially your marriage.
- Most likely are tired of trying to please your spouse and perhaps feel taken for granted.
- Will feel a pervasive sense of emptiness and disconnection that not even your spouse or family can fill.
What does being transparent involve?
It involves taking the risk of letting others into your heart and life. But more importantly, you’ll need to trust God enough to let others, especially your spouse, see you as you are—warts and all. In this way you’ll be saying to your spouse, “In-to-me-see” (get it? . . . “Intimacy”).
However, if you live like an invisible man or woman, then others, especially your spouse, won’t see “into” you.
Instead, they will see through you. 😦
Try as you might, whenever you put your best face forward—pretending like everything’s just fine—you’ll miss the chance to really connect.
And whenever you try to control or manipulate others by pretending to be open and honest, you won’t keep them from seeing through you. At least, eventually seeing through you.
They may not completely realize what they’re seeing, but they’ll feel like you’re hiding something—not being real. Not really trusting them with your heart.
And, because of it, they won’t trust you!
Now, I in no way claim to have achieved perfect transparency in my marriage and relationships. But it is my ongoing desire and goal each day, because I’ve lived both invisibly and transparently. And let me tell you, I LOVE the way transparent living feels.
2 Ways to Become More Transparent …
1. Trust God above all others.
He’s the only One who can protect you from the hurt that you’re trying to avoid.
Jesus is the only One who can fill the huge void that you want to fill with the approval of others.
He’s the only One who can forgive you of the sins and mistakes that plague you like a stubborn stain on your soul.
2. Cling to Him—not your pretenses.
This idea is summed up very well by the Apostle Paul …
“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.” —Philippians 3:8-10 (NLT)
The secret is to …
[bctt tweet=”Rest in the Lord’s protection of who you are in Him, instead of wrestling with how your image is coming across to others. #restnotwrestle #messymarriage” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
Click on the image below and you’ll be able to download the pdf from Dropbox at the “…”
What fears do you have about being “transparent” with your mate and others?
On a scale from 1 to 10, how are you’re doing on becoming more transparent in your life?
I am currently still on a blogging break, but will continue to share updated old content from MM until I return next week, August 12th, with a series called, “Marriage According to the Bible.” Because of my break, I will not be replying to comments on this post, but would love for you to still comment and share to all of your favorite social media places on the web. Thanks so much for your support and blessing of my life and ministry!
Interested in participating in my upcoming closed Facebook Bible study on the book of Ephesians?
Then check out the graphic below for more info or go to my Bible Study page to read more details. If you are not my Facebook friend, you’ll need to friend me here—letting me know you want to be added when you friend me (I can’t add you without being Facebook friends). I’m also taking names and email addresses if you want the weekly notes emailed to you instead of joining the Facebook group. Let me know in the comments, if that’s what you’d like to do and I’ll contact you ASAP. Thanks so much!
Here are some lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me Monday, Literary Musing Mondays, Tea and Word Tuesday, Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, Recharge Wednesday, Porch Stories Linkup, Break Through Homeschooling Linkup, Coffee for Your Heart, Sitting Among Friends, Destination Inspiration, Grace Moments Linkup, Tune in Thursday, Heart Encouragement, Moments of Hope, Grace and Truth, Faith and Friends, Blogger Voices Network, Faith on Fire Friday, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday
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