Transparency. What does that really mean? The dictionary definition of transparent is: One, allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen; two, easy to perceive or detect; three, having thoughts, feelings, or motives that are easily perceived. That sounds all flowerly, but how can we really be transparent in our lives, or show transparency outwardly?
This has been a topic of discussion in my mind for years. I would feel God pushing me to be transparent in my life and in my relationships, but the mask would always feel more comfortable and I would go on about my day, week, month. Before I knew it, another year had passed and I, again, wasn’t being who God wanted me to be.
I think we can confuse transparency with dirty laundry airing on Facebook, or being that constant downer person that we avoid at Walmart. That’s not who God called me or anyone else to be, but how do you achieve this without becoming either of those people?
The other day I was shopping and recognized someone coming down the aisle toward me. We don’t really know each other, but the face, voice and mannerisms are familiar. She strikes up a conversation with me, asks me what I’m doing. I reply “Oh, just looking for a few pieces for our kitchen. We’re renovating right now and have finally gotten to the decorating stage, so I wanted to see what else I might find for this particular wall.” Almost before I got out my last word, she started in on “Talia, your life is just so perfect. It always has been, it always will be. You’re just too perfect for me. I have been living in the same rundown house for years and we would never have the money to renovate. Must be nice.”
My jaw about dropped to the ground.
I wasn’t really sure how to take that statement. I knew what she was saying about me and my life was a lie, but I didn’t really even know how to go on from there.
After an awkward pause, she says “Well, gotta go. It was good seeing you.”
As she and her cart left my peripheral view, I thought “How dare you say that to me. You don’t even really know me. You don’t know what makes me sad, what makes me mad. What absolutely crushes me and fills me up. You don’t see my everyday struggles. You’re not in my mind. You don’t know my past, a past that has shaped me in a way I never imagined. You don’t know me because if you did, you would see that my life is far from perfect.”
No, we’re not living in a shack, I don’t have to walk to work, money is there for the bills to be paid. In a material-focused world, yes, we do have nice things and have worked hard for them, but if God said tomorrow, “Sell all of your belongings and follow me,” would we do it? You better bet we would.
For the past six weeks at church, we’ve been doing the study “Not a Fan.” You may have heard of it, your church may have done it, but it has completely impacted me and the way I want to live. The series is video based – we watch a 30 minute movie with real life events being portrayed – and then we break out into small groups for discussion. Our young adult group (ages 20-35) have been the most consistent attendees and, in our eyes, the most impacted.
Each week, I came expecting. I wanted to be challenged and refused to miss even a week. Our young adults group became so close and really shared a lot of what was going on in our own lives, the struggles we had and the areas God was working with us on. There, I finally was able to take off the mask I had been wearing for years and allowed the group to really hear my heart.
Each week, the video would show you snippets of this man’s life. He was like me, caught up in himself and trying to reach the top of his company, have the big house, never worry about money, etc. but he had a heart attack and in that extremely low point, Eric made a choice to live fully for the Lord instead of himself. That choice changed everything about Eric’s life. His family wasn’t supportive of this and questioned him numerous times, but he stayed strong. At the end of the series, the video portrayed the man’s funeral. The whole service showed person after person coming to the front to tell their story about how Eric helped him when, or Eric stopped to listen and showed them that there still are good people out there. Person after person, story after story was told.
As I watched that, I thought “What will my funeral be like? What would people have to say about me?” Right now, I know it wouldn’t be like his, or what I ever hoped and envisioned.
You see, it wasn’t just the series that impacted me, but it was the way God spoke to my heart. He kept tapping, tapping, tapping for years and years asking me to be different and I was too afraid. My friends may think differently of me. I hope many know I’m a Christian, but with this, God, I might be labeled something else. Taking on this challenge may put me in uncomfortable situations, and I don’t want to sign up for that. It was always one excuse after another. But I’m done living under a mask. I want to be remembered for something different than a pageant girl, so-and-so’s daughter, obsessed with herself, clothing and makeup, because really, those things aren’t true about me.
My life may look perfect on the outside, but this year, I’m stepping in my long-time-a’coming calling: True transparency.
I want to be considered the first description of transparent: Allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen. I want to be the light in other’s darkness. I don’t want to be so caught up in my own life, with my own to-do list, that I can’t see the person in need of genuine encouragement. I want to be that person that almost causes a wreck because she turned around immediately to pick up that person on the side of the road rather than thinking “Someone else might be a better fit to pick them up.” Shame on me.
This world is full of too many fake people, and I don’t want to be remembered as that. At the end of my days, I want to be remembered for two things: Loving the Lord with all my heart and impacting others to do the same.
So where do I begin?
Kayla Hayhurst and I will be hosting a weekly Bible study on Monday evenings from 6:30pm-8:00pm. We’re unsure of the location at this time because we’re really trying to see how many we’re going to have attend and where those individuals may be coming from, but a location (Ripley or Ravenswood at someone’s house or church) will be chosen by Saturday, March 7th.
Are you one of these ladies:
You know there’s something else out there for you, but you’re not sure of what it is or how to even go about finding it?
Do you need friends in a bad way, and not just friends, but positive women that will uplift and encourage you?
In need of “me time” but you’re your own worst company?
Need to be surrounded with other relatable women who are also just trying to tread water in this crazy life and you need that extra boost of Godly encouragement?
Want to know God in a more intimate way?
Unsure about your relationship with God, but want to explore who He is in the company of great ladies?
Or you may be one of those who have been hurt by “church people” but have a longing to try this out and see what we’re offering.
If you’re any one of those ladies, please comment below or reach out to either of us here or here. We cannot wait to join together, get to know one another in a real way, and get to know who God is in our lives and how He wants to use us.
For me, this transparency thing may get a little hairy. I may be writing about some touchy and upsetting subjects (for me). I may be faced with questions I don’t have answers to. know I’ll really be stepping out of my comfort zone at times, but with God’s leading, I’m following.
I hope transparency looks good on me because that’s who I’ve become: Transparent.