the gift of transparency.

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5:00 AM

Merriam-Webster defines a gift as something that is given to another person or to a group or organization. Today gifts of all sorts are being exchanged. Sweaters and game systems. New phones and Barbies and toys of every shape and size. So much excitement and anticipation on the faces of children, young and old. There is something special about receiving a gift. A shiny, new thing you can use and hold and look at. Something that will cut down on kitchen prep time or help with work or will add a new dimension to your hobby.

Most gifts are unwrapped from pretty paper that held a bow or two but some of the very best ones are things you cannot hold in your hand or keep forever. The gift of time. Time with those you treasure so. The gift of salvation and promise of eternal life (John 3:16). The gift of forgiveness. Forgiving yourself and others for past mistakes and failures. The gift of transparency. Allowing yourself to be you, mess and all and giving God the praise for where you have come from.

Transparency is a key component in relationships of any kind. Being able to be honest about feelings and expectations and dreams is the only way for a relationship to be nurtured and have the capabilities to thrive, especially our relationship with God, who already knows it all.

The bible states how nothing is hidden. God knows everything about you (and everyone else, if that is of any comfort, Psalm 139).
No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Luke 8:16-17
Everything is exposed and if it has not been yet, then it will be. Just give it time. Jesus came that we would have freedom (Isaiah 61:1). He came to set us free. Being transparent aids in our freedom - for ourselves and others. We are not made to hide our short comings or malfunctions. We are made to openly share where we have come from and because of the power of God through Jesus, we are no longer there. We were meant to shine with the light we have been given. To shine through our past situations or current trials. It teaches humility and shows others what it looks like. 

Being transparent turns your shame into God's fame. Transparency allows you to be okay with who you are - who God made you to be. It allows you to openly admit that you are not perfect and did things you would rather not have done or had things done to you that were out of your control. 

Being transparent takes some of the hardest life experiences and allows God to transform them in to more beauty than has ever been. It allows God to take out the victim aspect from rape or domestic abuse or child abuse and turn it in to his victory because through him, we can overcome. It allows God to take the shame out of the divorce or addiction or depression and allows him to give us new perspective on it all and restore us.

It enables us to being honest with others instead of shimming around for an indignant answer. It allows us to be welcomed in to the club of redemption. Redemption from disappointments and struggles and breakdowns.

Praying that you would give the gift of transparency throughout this coming year. That you would have discernment to know when to speak and what to share and what is better left unsaid. Praying that any shame you find yourself carrying that God would redeem to it to a source of victory.

Praying that you would give it at any cost because giving when something actually has a cost - a reputation or job title or relationship status - is the hardest to give. Praying that you would experience the candid warmth that is brought through transparency.

Here's to gift giving and transparency and a merry Christmas.