Being transparent as a leader is tough! Transparency means being honest when things are “not okay.” Transparency means that you have to admit that you are “vulnerable.” Transparency means that you have to be honest with yourself and allow others to see where you are now. Transparency is frightening, because many of us do not know how to be authentic.
Being the stoic leader that I am, I used to ask my clients to be transparent about their lives with me. I would begin my sessions by asking them how they were doing and how they were feeling. Some of my clients responded the way I would-sharing just enough facts to answer the questions and avoiding the depth of the conversation. These type of clients made me feel comfortable, because I didn’t want to connect to any “emotions.” However, I would have other clients that were transparent about their feelings. If they needed to cry, they felt comfortable enough to cry in my office. If they needed to vent, they would share their hurt with me. These clients were the most uncomfortable to communicate with, because their response to pain was much different from mine as a leader.
Eventually I became more comfortable with being vulnerable. The process wasn’t without a fight. I didn’t want it to be true! The “leader” had to embrace transparency? I had to be authentic about my feelings good, bad, or indifferent? I had to be brave enough to express my hurt without feeling judgement for being authentic? Once I embraced this process, I felt great! I felt comfortable with being transparent in safe environments. I naïvely thought I had conquered my fear of being transparent forever. Life took some unexpected turns this year and I learned I wasn’t comfortable being transparent. The process would need to be repeated.
This time I needed to learn how to be transparent with God. Many times I would ask, “God, do I really have to be transparent with you?” This is painful! In the midst of difficult moments, I found myself hearing the voice of the accuser. “Aren’t you ‘supposed to be a Christian? Do you really believe in God?” I began to question my relationship with God, because everything seemed to suggest there was something wrong with me. Eventually I felt hopeless, afraid, and alone. I tried to read my Bible more, because maybe the issue was my attention to studying. This did not stop the accusatory words. I tried to pray more, hoping that my increased attention to prayer would make the pain stop. The more I prayed for situations to get better, things seemed to be getting worse.
I tried everything I knew. However, the pain was real. I thought I was being open with God, but I tried to hide my hurt from Him. I wanted to be the good, strong Christian that always wins in life. I felt more like the challenged, broken Christian that did not want to stay in the race. I received help when I admitted to God that I was hurting, disappointed, crushed, and even confused. I could no longer pretend things were okay when they did not seem okay. As I would pour out my truth to God, I would apologize to Him. How could I ask God to hurry up and make the pain stop? He is in control isn’t He?
Yet, God didn’t judge me for bearing my heart to Him. He didn’t say, “You sure are weak. Get it together down there!” He loved me! Though I was a crying puddle of transparency before Him, He lifted me up. He acknowledged my hurt. He assured me that He was still committed to me, even though I was hurting. When I was honest with God, then I could embrace freedom.
- You might feel that you cannot share with anyone where you are.
- You might feel that you are too broken to receive help.
- You might even feel that your challenges mean that you are a failure.
His arms are open to you now. Just as you are. His reminder to you is the same gentle reminder He has given to me many times over. Give all your worries and cares to [me], for [I] care for you ( 1 Peter 5:7). It is time for us to be real. It is time for us to share our hearts, so that we can heal from the wounds we have pretended are not there. Transparency with God doesn’t mean that we are weak. It means we are strong enough to reach out to Him for help. Will you be brave and transparent with God today?
Is this a message you needed to hear? Let me know how you were blessed by this week’s blog by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Do you need additional support in your journey as a leader? You can also reach out to me by e-mail at email@example.com. Let’s have a conversation about how I can serve you.