In 2005, I started blogging publicly. Before then, I had been keeping a private online blog for my own amusement. But in 2005, I discovered the ability to make people react just by sharing what was going on in my life. I would often share specific private details to get a reaction (like the time when I was figuratively bleeding out from a recent breakup and decided to share a play by play of my emotions from one day to the next). To have friends and even virtual strangers tuning in and following my shenanigans online gave me a thrill. I felt important. I knew it was dangerous to share so many intimate details of my life and journey but at the time, I did not care. I liked the attention and most of my writings were in revenge of those who have hurt me. I probably gave access to people who did not deserve it and gave ammunition to those who did not mean me well, but I was too hell bent on being heard that I said forget the consequences.
I did not realize that my oversharing was a perverted version of what God intended for me to do. Without proper relationship with God and the wisdom that comes from Him, I thought my gift of writing was just a way for me to get others to see me, and simultaneously give a not-so-friendly finger to the people I considered my enemies. As soon as I came to Christ, the script flipped. There was so much in my heart to share with people about what Christ had done for me. I had this hyper-awareness of feeling so desperately alone in all my past struggles. It seemed there was no one who understood what I had endured. Being in Christ and having found healing, I desperately wanted to be for others what no one had been for me – a transparent example of God’s redemption.
For someone who had been so secretive about her real struggles, coming to Christ and having Him give me the green light to share my heart with others was absolutely freeing. There was no shame attached to anything I had to share with others. The wounds were healed. Anytime I would share another part of my story and it would resonate and give hope to a young woman whose past resembled mine, my heart would flutter. The satisfaction of walking in purpose never gets old. Sharing my life gave me such satisfaction that I knew I would do it forever. Having others connect with me because my words touched them, helped them or gave them hope made me feel like I was exactly where God intended for me to be. After that, I made the most of every opportunity to be transparent with others.
The first time my openness came back to bite me is still the most painful experience of my new life in Christ. I was called everything from a homewrecker to a hypocrite for attempting to write about my life. Telling your truth and being belligerently misunderstood is traumatizing. It’s been seven years; I am still working through it. The experience was the first time I questioned my gift and my approach to connecting with others, but it will not be the last. After that, I questioned any of my posts that were too transparent. Was I sharing too much? Who was going to misunderstand my intentions and vilify me for speaking about this? Writing, which had always brought me joy, began to make me nervous. I retreated. I went back to locking my writings up away from the public eye. I almost deleted a 200 page manuscript because the fear of being misjudged and misunderstood if it were to get out (be published) was debilitating. It was the closest I have ever came to abandoning writing forever.
Eventually, God reassured me. Being THIS open and THIS vulnerable on a consistent basis takes wisdom. I know my journey helps other women. I have had that confirmation over and over again. But as I mature in Christ, I have learned that all of my truths are not for everyone. There are some truths that I have shared in my text messages or in front of a live group of women that will never make it online or into a book (unless God says otherwise). Those moments of speaking about my darkness were absolutely terrifying in some cases, but they were God-ordained. And because of that, I have never suffered any loss.
Transparency has been a gift to me. It has allowed me to build the community of sisters that I have today. Transparency requires a consistent commitment to examining your own heart and the willingness to have others hold you accountable to the standards of God for your life. Transparency also requires wisdom. You are not meant to bleed all over everyone who crosses your path. There are specific places – sacred spaces, safe places – that God wants us to go when we are hurting and bleeding out. Those spaces are filled with people God has specially equipped to bind up our wounds. Perhaps through their own experiences or maybe just the wisdom that only comes from Heaven, these ones are especially equipped to help us heal, without judgment.
I have found my save spaces (thank you Wives in Waiting, thank you Stephanie and Chloelle, thank you Maude, thank you Jessica my one and only Beauti Therapist, thank you Tierra Lebbie, thank you to every woman in my church, small group, community and even ONLINE who consistently lend me your ear and your shoulder). When a truth is too raw to be spoken without tears, it goes to my sisters’ inboxes before it goes public. When I have found a semblance of healing or God gives me something to share about my process, then it is my joy to transparently share it with the world around me. It has been a journey getting to a place where my desire to connect with others does not undermine the work that God wants me to do, but I am eternally grateful to be here now- writing, speaking and sharing – and suffering absolutely no losses because of it.
Transparency is my superpower. What is yours?