When I wrote my first book, a memoir, I revealed things about my life I wasn’t exactly thrilled to reveal. On the blog I’ve shared things I didn’t know I’d share until I prayed and sat down to write. And this weekend at Women of Faith in Des Moines, I told an audience of thousands a personal family story I’d hardly told anyone.
And I am by nature a private person.
The irony astounds me. Left to myself, no one would know much of anything about me. I consider that safer, I guess. But God won’t let me stay there. He moves me to peel back the layers and show the stuff that’s ugly and even painful. In doing so, I have to reflect on those layers and relive them, often reliving the emotion as well. And it’s risky, not knowing how your layers will be received.
That’s what I dealt with this weekend. I didn’t give the same message I’d given in Columbus two weeks ago. During the speakers’ workshop, God woke me up early one morning with a new one. I wasn’t sure about sharing it at first, knowing it was tied to my heart. But when I couldn’t get back to sleep and instead had to get up and take notes, I knew I had to.
I did relive the emotion as I told the story Saturday. Afterward, when I’d gone up to the concourse for a book signing, I was stopped by woman after woman—and even a male security guard—who wanted to share their own story and tell me that my message had inspired them. It had helped to focus them on the truth that God is faithful, even when we can’t quite see it.
I know that’s why God transforms us “private people” to be transparent. Connection comes in the layers. When I reveal the deeper parts of myself, others feel free to reveal themselves. They discover they’re not the only ones with painful stuff. And together, we find hope and encouragement as we share how God has shown up in those layers.
If my transparency reveals the glory of God, by His grace, I’ll keep on peeling.
Do you find it easy to be transparent? Or are you a private person by nature, like me? Has God moved you to peel back your layers with others?