Hair dyes. Permanents. Weaves and extensions. False lashes. Chemical peels. Retina. Derm abrasions. Collagen. Botox. Tattooed eye-liner. Teeth whiteners. Tummy tucks. Face lifts. Spray tanning. Augmentations of every sort. Spanx.
When I was growing up, my mom used to say she was going to put on her face. My great grandmother used to say, "If the barn needs painting, then by all means paint it." I am all about putting on some make-up, covering my roots, and trying to look my best, but too often as women we put on other "faces."
Make your best "church face." Make your best "mom face." Put on your "don't mess with me face" – you know this has a bobble action of the head with the hand on the waist. Your "loving wife" face. Your "confidant" face.
The thing about these different "faces" we wear is that they often protect us or put barriers around our hearts. How often have you gone to church and put on your "church" face when inside you were beaten up, battered by life, and just plain worn slap out. We hide our hurt, our pain, our weaknesses. We've bought into the world's motto, "I am woman hear me roar" – bunch of hogwash.
Sometimes we hide our pain by eating in excess, over spending, seeking the approval of others, or we self-mediate in some other way. None of those, by the way, are Scriptural.
The last Sunday of the fast this year, I was given the opportunity to be transparent. Actually, I really didn't have a choice to be anything else. During the fast, I had been attacked from every angle and every avenue in my life. I was raw and broken, and I had to teach. I chose to teach on hope because it is what I was holding onto with a death grip. Needless to say, I cried through the lesson. Fortunately, I teach a class of all women, and on any given Sunday, we are passing the Kleenex box for one reason or the other. This Sunday happened to be my reason. After the lesson one of the ladies said, "I've never seen you like this. You're always so strong, but you've been attacked, so it's completely understandable." My transparency allowed her to see that I am human with frailties, but it also allowed her to see how God would use these situations in my life to bring Him glory.
Transparency means the LIGHT passes through it without altering its makeup. If we hide our struggles and hardships, then we are putting a bushel over a candle. For God to get the glory, we have to allow others see us struggle.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7, 10
3. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of COMPASSION and the God of all COMFORT
4. who comforts US in all our troubles, so that WE CAN COMFORT those in ANY trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (How can we know that someone else needs compassion and comfort unless there are visible signs? We give off visible signs when we are in pain, hurting or in discomfort. AND WHY WOULD ANYONE take advice from us if they never have seen us struggle or go through hardship? If you know someone who's been through the furnace, wouldn't you take their word over the pie-in-the-sky person? If you are arguing and fighting with your spouse, would you prefer the wisdom of someone who has been through a similar struggle as opposed to someone who isn't even married? If you are fighting for your own life, wouldn't you want the wisdom that comes from a cancer survivor over someone who has never been sick a day in their life? HOW WILL OTHERS KNOW WHAT YOU'VE BEEN THROUGH IF THEY DON'T SEE IT? HOW WILL OTHERS KNOW YOUR SOURCE OF WISDOM AND STRENGTH UNLESS YOU TELL THEM? Weakness is not anything to be ashamed of – it's an opportunity to show how God used it for His glory and restored you. It's an opportunity for His Light to shine through you.)
5. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. (Nothing happens in our life that hasn't first gone thru the hands of God. No hardship has come to man that He doesn't know about. When we STAND against wrong, when we STAND against the world and their values, you can bet it will be uncomfortable at times. But PTL, Jesus has been there and done that and gives the peace that passes all understanding)
6. If we are distressed, it is for YOUR COMFORT AND SALVATION (Whatever distress or struggle we are in today, can be used to the benefit and comfort for someone who will come behind you and endures a similar situation – infidelity, infertility, cancer, anxiety, worry, financial difficulty)—GOD DOESN'T WASTE ANYTHING; if we are comforted, it is FOR YOUR COMFORT (when the Spirit comforts us, we use that lesson to turn around and comfort the next person), which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.
7. AND our HOPE for you (there are people who will stand in the gap for you and hope for you when you can't hope for yourself. When you can't see a way out, when you can't see the positive – as Christians we are to stand in the gap) IS FIRM because we know that just as you share in our sufferings so also you share in our comfort.
8. We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure (Have you ever been here?), far beyond our ability to endure (Has there been a time in your life when the weight of what you were carrying seemed to suffocate you, overtake you, or just drown you – You are not alone)
9. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. (When life is too much to bear, when the hurt gets to be too much – then God will get the glory. Why is that? Because when we are at our weakest we allow Him to be His mightiest. Not by my strength but by THINE and THINE ALONE.)
10. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. ON HIM WE HAVE SET OUR HOPE THAT HE WILL CONTINUE TO DELIVER US.
If we are not transparent, then how can God receive the glory? Transparency requires us to be authentic in our faith because if we put on Christianity like a jacket and take it off whenever the mood strikes, your phoniness will be on display for everyone to see (like they don't see it already).
I encourage you to find a group of godly, growing, Christian women with whom you can be authentic and transparent. Make sure these women will hold you accountable and require you to take off your different "faces," so that you may better reflect the light of God.