Studying the landscape out my window, the trees stand, completely exposed and naked. They can't hide what they are to the core. Transparent.
Driving down the road, Plumb's lyrics repeat the theme
I could bleed to death...
In Cinderella, I watched the country, slave girl look in the mirror before approaching the searching prince, in ragged clothes, dirty face, disheveled hair and say, "I have no magic to help me now." She must meet the prince just as she is. Transparent.
Studying in 2 Corinthians for Bible study, I watched the apostle Paul, expose a multitude of emotions and feelings to his readers. Transparent. And I wonder, why do we hide behind facades? Why do we pretend to have it all pulled together when in reality, it's the furthest thing from the truth?
That's when I felt compelled; the rubber meets the road here. Strip it off. Start with your make-up. I stood in front of the mirror staring for five-minutes before I decided to go to church without make-up on. I felt exposed. Quite literally. There was question in the engineer's eyes and hesitation as if to say, Are you sure you're ready for church? Did you forget something?
Transparency is a choice that yeilds beautiful, authentic results.
Though Paul doesn't use the word, I feel it's part of his message in chapters 6 & 7 of 2 Corinthians.
We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians: our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return..widen your hearts also. 2 Corinthians 6:11-13
Then Paul launches into a discussion on not tying yourselves to unbelievers before returning to the idea of being open and transparent with him in 7:2, "Make room in your hearts of us," and bearing the emotions of his heart.
I have to assume that this isn't just a rabbit trail Paul went on about being yoked with unbelievers, but rather, it's a principle to apply. It just isn't beneficial or even recommended to be completely transparent with non-believers. Be real, not hypocritical, but guard your heart when working and living with unbelievers.
However with God and with those who you are in covenant relationship (marriage, church, mentorships, friendships, family), open wide your hearts! These are the people who "are in our hearts, to die together and to live together," Paul says in 7:3. He goes on to use ten descriptors of his emotions:
boldness (v. 4)
pride (v. 4)
comfort (vv. 4, 6, 13)
joy (vv. 4, 7, 9, 13, 16)
fighting (v. 5)
fear (v. 5)
downcast (v. 6)
regret (v. 8)
confidence (v. 16)
Paul flings open his heart and what happens? Rejoicing! He mentions joy five times. It is embarrassing, humbling and sometimes painful to be transparent. But there must be joy found it.
My mind returns to the trees getting ready to burst out in glory and joy. They've been sitting exposed and bare for nearly seven months. Only after they've had this time of transparency are they ready to become what God created and intended them to me. This must be true in our own lives. Only after we've been transparent and bared all, can we experience joy and flourish. And it must ongoing. After five months of glory, the trees will again be exposed. Fall will come and their leaves (or make-up) will be stripped away. The seasons remind us to be continually transparent.
Will you choose to bear your true heart and emotions in covenant relationships? It's painful, hard and humbling, but you will experience joy in becoming the beauty God created you to be.