What is transparency? Is it that section of your speech where you “feel” you’re being open, honest and vulnerable? I believe it’s that place that one goes to where every thing is unveiled to God without reservation. It’s that place where there’s no more murmuring, complaining or blaming but more so ownership. Transparency is what I choose to call a destination, an action, or even a description of oneself.
I often ask myself, why aren’t more people completely transparent with God? Don’t they realize he sees everything, hears every thought and lives everywhere? I believe this word sums up the answer to these questions: Self-Preservation.
God is not looking for the perfect role model, the most secure men or humblest of women. He wants you and all of your imperfections to trust Him. Trust him when you don’t have the answers and need them. Trust him when you have a deadline and still have not been given guidance. He can be trusted with all of your present, past and yes even future mess, but only if you’ll be totally transparent with Him. Whether you whisper, speak, cry, scream or say nothing at all…he still hears your thoughts and longs for them to be completely transparent.
Transparency is when you and God really get down to business. The gloves are off and the masks can’t be found. He’s able to be real with you, and although you have limited understanding of his motives, it always benefits your state of being. Human beings tend to judge the weight of their existence by what others say about them, how much money they’ve got available or whether they’ve accomplished mediocre tasks in God’s eyes. Fortunately for you and I, God has refused to minimize the existence of mankind to those categories. You and I are his most valuable creation. When God decided a sacrifice was needed to ransom all of humanity from the grips of sin, he could have given anything he pleased. Think about this for one moment. God owns everything. Everything! He could have given all of the oil in the earth, every diamond, all the gold and silver even every galaxy for the atonement of sin. God knew your worth and found no suitable sacrifice other than His very Son. He gave his very best so that you and I would understand in doing so, he set an example for living. Jesus did not mince words or actions. He has told you and I what is required in order to properly carry his name throughout the earth and to enter into his kingdom of heaven. It requires total surrender, total transparency and total obedience.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21
For some, this requirement is a steep expectation and not possible to deliver. It seems like a foreign concept to willfully give up your personal defense system while allowing the walls of protection to come down, but that is what Jesus is asking you and I to do. He is asking us all to trust his way of doing life, in order to get on the straight and narrow path. A path of justice, order and completion.
Transparency is a gift that is often overlooked as a weakness. Perhaps it’s because the value of this gift is not properly understood. Allow me to go slightly off course for a second in order to describe the serious value of being transparent. When I receive testimonies from people who have read my blogs and decided to make a U-turn in the way they live, I see the fulfillment their transparency had in my life. I realize it is without question a gift carrying a dual purpose. One to release and the other to bless. In being transparent about needing a savior, a peacemaker, a counselor, an overseer, a protector what you’re saying is “I need life to continuously be breathed into me.” There is no shame in admitting you cannot continue walking down a dim lit road with an expectation to see with total clarity. The shame can only be justified if one willfully continues down a dark path after having been offered a flashlight to adjust their vision. You will never know the need for a Shepard until you’re walking in total darkness. Jesus, is your Shepard and a life apart from him is total darkness.
In 2012, when I began my journey with Jesus Christ I realized I was a blind woman walking in complete darkness. I was made aware by revelation from the Holy Spirit that I lived a life based on feelings for years. I carried baggage with a luggage tag that marked the contents as “not owned.” I wore this baggage proudly on my back and shoulders. Not realizing how to release this baggage, I learned how to live with it. It had somehow grafted itself into my very existence, changing the way my personality responded to others and myself. It was as if, the weight I carried year after year became a part of my own skeletal structure grafting itself into me permanently. My own existence was masked by the dead weight of disappointments, uncontrollable addictions, personal shame and public humiliation. I needed someone greater than the vile stench of bondage to release me from this emotional and spiritual baggage. I thought, who could I turn to who held that level of authority and power to do this? It took for me to be completely transparent with Jesus and myself, that I truly did need him. I came to realize I was in need of deliverance and total restoration of my broken spirit and sick soul. I needed my identity back. The identity I had adopted in sin literally altered my true identity having left me with a slight misguided memory of who I was created to be. I had no recollection or foreknowledge of the depth of Jesus’s love due to a clouded memory of lies and disappointments. My heart was polluted by error, false conclusions and rebellious affirmations of who I was, thereby rejecting the very nature of Christ in others. For clarification, Jesus did not ask me to expose my “dirty laundry” it simply happened in his presence. He is Holy and Righteous, therefore in his presence all hidden things become exposed and rise to the surface of safety. His exquisite presence reveals the depth of his love for you without any ability to deny it. My transparency with Jesus, on one mid-morning day has led to me living a new life of vigor, zeal and joy. I once held my head low in shame and guilt, but now I find myself bowing that same head in reverence and gratitude. I once had a heart full of deception and discontentment. Now it is full of reverence, purity and true love. There is no response good enough for Jesus Christ except, your honest answers of total transparency. He loves your heart even though it is considered the most wicked thing in mankind.
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? ” Jeremiah 17:9
You might find yourself saying, Ciara I don’t know how to even tell the truth anymore about how bad things are. Listen up my friend, no matter how dark things have gotten or how scary they’ve become, nothing will ever surprise Jesus. He is Omniscient! Nothing you’ve ever done will cause him to turn from you, if you’re willing to repent and ask for his forgiveness. No amount of secrecy can keep you from receiving the gift of salvation gifting you with certainty, that you will one day be welcomed before a Holy God into a place of eternal glory.
Today if you so desire, you can have your heart recalibrated in order to meet the will of the Father in heaven. You get to be reconciled with him! This is the good news that Jesus offers all of us. It’s the message of the Kingdom of Heaven. He wants you in His kingdom and as an active member of His family. His family is made up of all people both young and old, all shapes and sizes and every color in between. Are you ready to live a new life of total transparency? Are you ready to admit you do not have all of the answers, regardless of your education level? If you said yes, this will be the best decision you’ll ever make while in the land of the living.
“I declare, my heart and values need a savior. Just as I am, I come. I confess I’ve not allowed God to be head over my life which includes my career, family, finances, habits or decisions. I repent of all selfish actions which have distanced myself from a loving Father known as Abba.
Today, I commit my entire life to the following and service of Jesus Christ. I confess, I am in need of His saving grace and daily gift of mercy. Lord, here I am. I declare I am a willing vessel for your message of hope and redemption. As an act of my free-will, I invite you deep into the bowls of my heart and ask you to drive out all of the darkness. Make me whole today! I acknowledge you are the Son of the living God and died for my sins.
In my transparency, I will grow to understand the blessing of being vulnerable with you Jesus. I trust you have my entire life accounted for and I willfully surrender to your plans. Guide me Holy Spirit into a glorious reunion with my Father and a fruitful life of obedience. I surrender. I will obey and will live to proclaim what the Lord has done, in Jesus name, Amen.”
— Ciara Leilani