But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:7-9
I woke up today with the most unusual request from the Holy Spirit, and it was to write about transparency. Well, to be honest it’s something that I couldn’t dive into immediately since the concept of transparency was something I had to study. You see friend, transparency is not about saying everything to everyone, (We’ve had bad experiences with that, haven’t we?) or letting people see everything about you, it’s about living a life with no hidden agendas. I used to be that kind of person that wanted to be everyone’s friend, which can also be translated into ‘I-didn’t-want-to-be-rejected’ mentality. Being brought up in a dysfunctional system where I had to announce every little thing I had to do developed an unhealthy second nature lifestyle of oversharing. To be informative is one thing, to give away “free information” as my auntie would say, is a completely different thing. Because I was sometimes reprimanded for not living an “open” life, meaning sharing my secrets, privacy, and plans, I started having paranoid tendencies with my personal life. The constant questions of where I was, with who, why, and what was I doing became so normal to me that I lifted my hands to the sky while waving a white flag in sign of surrender. I surrendered my identity. The paranoid rivers and streams in my behavior traveled beyond I could imagine; it met an estuary of insecurity and frustration. I remember a couple of months ago I had written several things on my white board to remind me on the things I had to work on.
“Who are you?”
“The parts of me I show to people are important to identify. I cannot share all of me with everyone. There is a difference between being who you are and showing all you are. I can exercise the beauty of my personality within my identity in Christ without sabotaging myself. I can love people even if I am hurting. The extent of how far I am willing to love others begins with my perception of how God loves me right now. Just because I cannot share all of me with certain individuals, doesn’t mean I have to shut down. Limited trust does not mean limited love.”
I find it shocking how invested I can be when it comes to trusting more in people than God. Not proud of admitting that. AT ALL. The present struggles in this recovery; the journey of becoming the woman he called me to be has been hard. Everyone goes through hard seasons, but most people like to fake they’re okay. I want you to know you’re not alone, whether you’re a survivor or not. If we were best friends I would probably share a bunk bed with you in this train (or journey…whatever you want to call it. And yes, trains have rooms.) and turn on a flashlight and talk about everything that troubles this imaginative mind, what I think about before going to bed, what keeps me up at night, what are my fears, how I project my insecurities on people, who I like, and how ashamed I am of being me sometimes. I would also listen to you, sing some Coldplay songs to cheer you up, and empathize with you to the best of my ability. We would pray and worship God and just have an enjoyable time. Now that I think about it, we might not need the flashlight. We could just open the curtains and see the trees passing by as we reach our destination. (I have a thing for flashlights…I think you might noticed that by now.)
These are the things that I have learned about myself in this season:
I think everyone has struggled with one of these at some point in their lives. As I craft this delicate declaration of humanity, my eyes swell up in perfect dime sized see through bowls. I was not counting to be this open, but this might help someone.
I appreciate things that produce comfort, and if you’re human I’m assuming you do too. Comfort can be incredibly addicting and validating. There’s nothing like a beautiful view of nature, a big fluffy blanket, insured socks (the fluffy kind that have the plastic grips at the bottom of the feet to avoid any mishandling of 70’s dance moves. Yikes. The cat is out of the bag now.), fluffy PJs, hot cocoa, marshmallows, Bath and Body Work’s Warm Vanilla Sugar, and an unending playlist of the great Chopin. What about a good empanadilla de camarones or a mouthwatering alcapurria? Maybe an all-natural frappe or delicious tea, depending on the occasion? Well the list goes on and on…
I don’t know what you consider as comfort friend, but sometimes it’s best to let go of it. Being uncomfortable brings many blessings into our lives. I don’t think our Lord was comfortable dying on a cross for our sins. However, his sacrifice brought restoration and reconciliation with the Father. There is something that must be over any feeling of comfort, and that is a decision. Deciding to have boundaries, deciding to pray when you would rather watch movies on Netflix for days, deciding to love high maintenance folks, deciding to go to church when you don’t want to be around people, deciding to be established and rooted in love when your environment is hostile, these things come with a price. Decisions goes beyond feelings. Deciding on being transparent is a conscious decision that everything you do is rooted on the right motivations. Being transparent does not mean you have to share every detail of yourself with others, but rather opening your heart to God. When was the last time you sat at the feet of the Father and poured out your heart to Him?
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7
I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles.
This morning I couldn’t help but to ponder of the underrated wonders shower liners possess. Not curtains. You know the ones for your bathtub? The plastic see through kind? The ones resembling vinyl are the best, dude. I can only imagine your facial expression right now. Please stay with me. There’s a point in this. They’re sturdy and maintain its shape most of the time, unlike the cream or white colored liners that tend to be thinner. And to further sustain its appearance these liners have little magnets at the bottom that works like magic when you accommodate them on the inside of your bathtub. Where were these magnets during the second half of the 90’s!? I would love to be as anchored and transparent as my shower liner. I get so envious every time I catch a glimpse at it, because it reminds me that my life is more accurate with the outer curtain. If you would be given a dollar for every second you invest hiding the real you from your friends, family, and God, what debt would you pay off? I would’ve paid my student loans and bought a lake house in Italy, sweetheart. So many times, we pray for God to use us, but we lack being vulnerable with Him. Is the following familiar?
“Okay I already prayed for this, that, her, him, this personal issue, Siri (because Lord have mercy she can’t never understand a word I say), I prayed for my friend’s test, my mentor’s sanity, that person’s healing, my willpower to finish college and for-” Blahbity blah blah. What about your needs? What about those places in your heart in need of desperate healing? Remember the more transparent we are with Jesus, the more transparent our motives and vision will become. Hiding the real you take a toll on your emotions, it blinds your perception, and robs you the ability of being consistent. Transparency have these characteristics:
He says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
This exactly how Jesus is. I don’t know what things you are struggling with friend. Maybe you have to reconnect that deep friendship you had with the Holy Spirit, open up and address your hurts. He already knows, but assuming He already knows does not mean He will work certain things on your behalf. I encourage you live a transparent life and be specific in your prayer life so that you avoid the pain of unmet expectations down the road.
It’s getting dark. My eyes are closing like those curtains. Tomorrow is another day. Sometimes when it’s time to go to bed and being transparent with God is difficult I imagine Him singing this to me:
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you
Click here if you want to start living a transparent life.
Thank you for transparency. We believe your love will engulf us as we go to bed tonight. We thank you for your ability of believing we can win the race you have called us to run, as you cheer for us enthusiastically. May our lives glorify your Name. We love you. In your name we pray Jesus Amen.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.