“One difficulty with being both authentic and transparent is that we have to face our real, imperfect selves. We can’t discover our true self without considering our false self.”  

-Quentin Schultz and Diane Badzinski 

Once again, I’m inspired by a class assignment. None of the thoughts below are original to me. Please note the list of references at the bottom.

Transparency feels vulnerable. It allows others to see potential imperfections before we recognize them ourselves. Our hearts are so sinful we do not always recognize our evil thoughts or desires as coming from within. For this reason, God created us to crave community. God never intended for us to be self-sustaining individuals. Yet we often walk through a broken world trying to understand ourselves without help. We all possess the need to be utterly understood so we can feel fully loved. Without self-awareness, we are unable to recognize our need for the grace that atones for our sins. Without drawing from the bottomless well of the grace provided by the cross we are unable to extend the same grace toward others. 

We see this play out from the very beginning of time. Adam and Eve are ashamed when they hear God searching for them in the garden after they have eaten the forbidden fruit. When Adam and Eve hear God’s voice, they are instantly ashamed and try to hide their actions. This is the precise moment they realize they are naked. When we act as though we are something we are not, we feel isolated and afraid. Everybody carries shame and when we allow our individual shame to be seen we are accepted, encouraged, and find freedom.  

While the emotion that produces shame feels miserable, it is very good. Just as a smoke alarm lets us know there is a fire, our shame alerts our hearts something needs our attention. We are often tempted to isolate ourselves because of our shame. When we try to manage our shame on our own in order to keep others from seeing our real selves, we unintentionally create invisible walls. We are created for unity and allowing a false sense of self or even portraying a false reality disrupts relational connection and our ability to truly commune.  

Further complicating our spiritual selves, our brain holds onto emotion our mind has long forgotten. Unknowingly, without effort, each one of us subconsciously collects a list of sorrows we have experienced over a lifetime. What we feel as a response to someone’s words can irritate a dissociated feeling that is completely unrelated to the current conversation. 

How do we find the courage to achieve the type of vulnerability for which we have been created? In his new book, Gentle and Lowly, Dane Ortlund looks at God’s goodness through the meek heart of Jesus. Our lifelong battle is to resist the temptation that rises out of our heart’s broken desires. Rather than acting out of those desires, we attempt to pursue the holiness we can never completely attain. Thankfully, the heart of Jesus is fervent in his love for us. He seeks us out, continuously grieving when we fail and graciously drawing us back to himself. “His heartful thoughts for you outstrip what you can conceive. He intends to restore you into the radiant resplendence for which you were created (Ortlund, 2020, p. 160).”  


Bibles, E. (2012). ESV Single Column Journaling Bible (Black). Crossway. 

Carbonell, M. (2008). How To Solve The People Puzzle. MBS Content. https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/books/MBS1878948 

Ortlund, D. C. (2020). Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers. Crossway. 

Petersen, J. C. (2015). Why Don’t We Listen Better? Communicating & Connecting in Relationships (Second Edition). Petersen Publications. 

Schultze, Q. J., & Badzinski, D. M. (2015). An Essential Guide to Interpersonal Communication: Building Great Relationships with Faith, Skill, and Virtue in the Age of Social Media (Illustrated ed.). Baker Academic. 

Thompson, C. (2015). The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe About Ourselves (1st ed.). IVP Books. 

Van der Kolk, V. B., MD. (2015). The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma (Reprint ed.). Penguin Publishing Group.