Last night, I had my second Fiction workshop. I find it to be such an honor to have fellow writers read and critique each other’s work with nothing more than the honest intention of helping one another grow in the field.
We were working on a particularly beautiful piece when our tutor said something that struck me:
“Where’s the story?”
As readers, we all want to be able to empathize or at least see a part of ourselves in the text we are looking at. That’s just the way we are as humans. In order to truly connect with a book, a short story, or even a song, the words must have an authentic, story-telling power behind them.
The same is true for us as Christians. We long to see authenticity amongst our fellow believers, but sometimes we cover ourselves with a cloak of pretense or shame. We will show a part of our story to our brothers and sisters, but the rest shall remain concealed.
If I have learned anything from attending Heart Church and getting plugged in with some amazing women of God there is that choosing to be transparent is the most rewarding (and challenging) way to live life.
Sometimes as Christians we get so bogged down in trying to present ourselves in a certain manner that we have placed our testimony, our God-given story in a neat little box and shoved it under our beds.
We can use the most elaborate phrases and we can quote Scripture left and right, but if we aren’t allowing for ourselves to be vulnerable for the sake of edifying other believers, what’s the point?
I’ve been guilty of this before. If you don’t already know, I have struggled with perfectionism in various areas of my life where I have defined myself on how well I accomplished something.
I would wear a mask and bottle up my story and what was going on in my life with a huge “I’m doing great” smile. And guess what? I was far from doing fine, much less great.
But in these past few weeks the Lord has really been pressing on my heart the importance of actually living life with people. Let your walls crumble and share! Yes, as a person who has been hurt in the past I understand that letting others in is a terrifying concept, but God!
When you hide your story behind false smiles and artificial conversation, you are missing out on the abundance God has called us to live in.
Don’t be afraid to share what He has done is your life, and stop quenching the Spirit with fear and doubt.
In Acts 2:44-47 we see the mighty results of living transparently:
“And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
When we are open with our brothers and sisters we do three things in our lives:
- We offer God the glory of our story
- We erase any foothold the enemy might have had over our secret things
- We build a covenant-centered community!
So, my prayer for you today is that you will be given the strength to break down the walls you have built around your heart and that you would allow yourself to be transparent before the Lord and before the Body of Christ. Serving God isn’t a safe choice, but it is a sure one. We can be sure that He will walk alongside of us every step of the way, and that He won’t leave us to flounder about on our own.
He has made us conquerors, and it’s time we stopped living in fear. You aren’t protecting yourself, you are paralyzing yourself. I would know because I’ve been there for far too many years.
Scared to hope, scared to believe that something even greater than I could imagine was on the horizon, but if you are in Christ, I assure you the best is yet to come!
Take heart, and move forward. You will be amazed at how much more opportunity God will have to move in your life when you cease putting on airs and actually live life with those around you.