Nearly everything is shared online these days. Moments of family fun, date nights, articles, songs, Bible study musings, you name it—we’ve probably shared it. Some people stay far away from exposing any personal details on social media. Meanwhile, others are an open book, allowing even strangers a ticket to see the inward battles they face.
In this culture we’ve created of sharing without thinking, and where authenticity is praised, we must learn not to share our struggles or heartaches simply for sharing’s sake. Many times, our openness is self-centered. We long for the praise that comes with it—the “you’re so brave’s” and the “you inspire me’s.” Or maybe we just want pity, so we share to get the attention our hearts crave.
As Christians, we should see the value of openness while also discerning what our motives are for sharing. Then we must strive to align our motives with scripture.
We Share to be Healed
We live in a society where the admission of sinful tendencies is often praised with no pursuit of growth attached to it. Think: “I love Jesus but I cuss a little.” But true transparency regarding our sin should lead to confession in order that we would be healed. It’s not a reason to rejoice together in our sinfulness. Our confession should always be followed by, “Okay, what’s the plan of attack here?” It holds within it a need for accountability and working alongside another to fight sin.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (James 5:16 ESV)
The context for this sort of transparency should always be with a mentor or trusted friend. This is also where we go to confess lies we may be believing about God or our circumstances. Maybe our feelings are overwhelming and we don’t know where to start to dismantle them. A mentor or friend in our church is the safest place to wrestle through these things as well.
So we confess not to wallow in our filth, but instead to be healed. We do so not just for our own sake, but for the sake of the Body of Christ and God’s glory. When we remain entangled in sin, we cast a shadow on Jesus and his Church. As a part of his Body, let us remember our sin doesn’t only affect us. We must strive to kill it.
We Share for the Healing of Others
When I became a writer, I knew that meant I would have to be willing to publicly share more of my personal life than the average person. I knew I was being called to lay aside my pride and use my life as a testament to God’s grace, being obedient to share whatever would glorify him most. I had no idea that would include the loss of three babies and the very deep grief that accompanied such a circumstance.
There were many times where I hesitated to hit publish on articles I knew exposed my heart for many to see. But in doing so, God always brought blessing in the form of using it in the lives of other women, drawing them ever nearer to himself.
Here’s why being transparent matters: Our suffering, the sins we battle against, the lies we’ve fought to correct—these things are not unique to us. There are women around us who are fighting the same battle we may have previously won. There are women believing the lies we believed. Still, there are women walking through similar suffering we’re walking through. We were never meant to keep these things to ourselves. God allows hard struggles and circumstances in our lives so that we can glorify him by comforting others with the comfort we’ve received, and sharing with others what we’re learning along the way.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. (2 Corinthians 1:3-6 ESV)
The Battle Wounds of Transparency
The hard part? When we choose to share openly about our struggles, fears, and emotions, whether in an article like me or privately with another person, we may be misunderstood, mocked, and even have our motives questioned. This is unfortunate and often deters people from being transparent.
But if we strive to be others-focused with our transparency (meaning we share our lives for the sake of building others up), when the one person uses our transparency as a weapon against us, we can take the bullet for the sake of the many it set free. When we’re open about our struggles, we will be misunderstood at some point. But maybe it’s worth the pain we endure to watch God use it to strengthen others.
I’m a naturally transparent person. I believe God created me this way for a purpose. But I’m learning how to reign in that particular part of my personality and use it for his kingdom and glory and not my own. I’ve learned and am learning to use it as a tool to seek to encourage others rather than grasping for encouragement myself.
Whether we gravitate toward hiding away the messy parts of our lives or airing it out like dirty laundry, we must seek to be kingdom-focused and therefore, others-focused with our authenticity. This means we should be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading on when to share and when to hold back.
Let us not ever believe the lie that the trials and sins we’ve faced were for no reason. Nothing is wasted; all should be used to bring God glory—even the things which may expose us for the sinners we are. Even the things that may cause others to
Truly, at the end of the day, we are accountable to God alone. Let not fear of man keep us back from humbly obeying his call to share our lives with others.