Friendships of Women, Part 4- Transparency is Vital

This post will seem obvious to some people. And to others, it will seem completely foreign, like learning a new language. Perhaps some might even see this as a fearful thing to be avoided. But I feel compelled to share this: I believe that transparency is vital for a friendship to grow beyond surface-level interactions.

If we are going to have authentic friendships, others have to know us. We have to open up; we must let others see us for who we really are. Without pride and pretense, but without false humility either. Others won't be able to speak into our lives if they don't know where we are, nor will there every be anything beyond shallow conversation if they don't know about the things that make our hearts soar. Basically, we will not have any genuine friends if we don't let the door of our hearts open up to allow others inside.

It can be a difficult thing, yes. It requires risk, yes. It may even mean rejection, yes. At times, we will have to be very wise and use discretion as to
who we share our hearts with. But the rewards infinitely outweigh the risks. Opening up to others not only ministers to you- but it will minister to them.

Now I'm not talking about telling your deepest, darkest secrets to a lady you've just met at a luncheon. But I AM saying that when we are in a friendship and the opportunity comes to share, then more often than not, we will be blessed if we opt to share transparently with the other woman. Yes, there are gossips who will nibble up morsels and tidbits and consume our lives as they would a romance novel, but that concern is really addressed in the initial discussion of how to choose a godly friend.

Honestly, I find that my life is more effectively used by God in the lives of others, and that my friendships have grown deeper when I treat my life as an open book. I hate having secrets or trying to remember who knows what. It is just easier for me to love others and minister to others if I am open about my own life- the good, the bad, and the ugly things that have happened to me, that I have done to others, and that have been part of the shaping of who I am today.

That's not to say that I go around blabbing my most personal and intimate details to any stranger on the street, but I am not going to keep a closet full of hidden away facts about myself. Instead, I'm going to try to shed the light of Christ into every area of my life, confess those things that are unattractive and ugly, and share my story--even my failures and hurts-- with anyone I can, in hopes that God can use my good, bad, and ugly to encourage others towards Himself.

I want my whole life to count for Him- and I want to have friendships with all kinds of women that will draw more and more women deeper and deeper in their relationship with Jesus. If it takes me being open about my life in order to help others walk more closely with Him, then YES- it is ABSOLUTELY worth the risk, the potential rejection, the possible shame, and anything else the enemy might try to use against me as a result of my openness.

Here's what I'm trying to get at: THIS is your real life. Your past, present, and future all make up the story He's weaving in your life... there's no re-do. This is the one crack you get at this thing called life. Whether it's ugly or painful, boring, or embarrassing, it's your story. And the same goes for my life - THIS is my real life... so, for my part, I want Him to be glorified from all of it. I want every single drop of my life to be squeezed out and used for His potential glory. I want even the pain and shame of my past to encourage my friends and the women I know towards godliness.

We all like to be around someone who is REAL- who has flaws and isn't afraid to admit it, but who is fully and intentionally running after God. I want to be that kind of woman, so that I can be useful, so that I might have deep friendships, and ultimately, so that my life will glorify the God Who made me. And I want to encourage
you to be that kind of woman, too.


Anna S said...

Another terrific post on friendship. What a blessing it is, being able to share yourself with others!

Melissa said...

Oh, it's so true - I just want to be around people who are real! This in turn, makes me want to be real with others so that we can actually have meaningful friendships. Great post!

Karen Wingate said...

I love your website! This is excellent material. Thank you for sharing.

LisaM said...

what do you think about sharing negative things when your husband is in a very public position of influence, and you're afraid that baring your soul might reflect badly on him?

Jess said...

I think first of all we should determine the differences between transparency about ourselves and transparency about everything in our lives. It is one thing to say, honestly, "I've had a really rough week and need prayer." It would be quite another to share a laundry list of criticisms of your husband that you've accumulated throughout the week.

But I do think we can select friends wisely and share in such a way that, even if our husband is in a public position, we can be honest and open in our struggles. Something that may be helpful is to find another woman, even if you have to seek her out, whose husband is in an unrelated, but equally public, position. There may be a feeling of comraderie and understanding there that could not exist with another woman.

Also, obviously, the best thing is to deal with the soul issues with your husband, so that the things you're sharing aren't going to reflect negatively on him. But if there are things that prevent that (i.e., he's not a believer, or perhaps he's backslidden), then we are to speak lovingly of our husband and yet are not prohibited, in my view at least, from speaking honestly about it with a close, personal friend.

I hope this helps... as always, I'd love to flesh this out more with you, if you have further thoughts or questions.