Are You Invisible or Transparent?

Transparent

Take this quiz:

  1. Do you consistently own up to your faults and sins or fear the ramifications of doing so?
  2. Do you let “trusted” friends (as opposed to all your Facebook friends) know how you’re “really” doing or keep things to yourself?
  3. Are you and most of your friends more self-accepting or self-conscious/self-condemning?
  4. Do you accept conflict and deal with it humbly/responsibly or generally avoid and/or fear conflict?
  5. Do you humbly and honestly work through an offense or quickly let loose with your anger?

If you answered affirmatively to the first half of each question, then your answer indicates “transparency.” But if more of your answers agreed with the second part of each question, then you just might be an “Invisible Man or Woman.”

You may be scratching your head, wondering, what difference does any of this make, Beth?

Well, it does …

  • If you feel as if you can’t really connect with people—in particular your spouse.
  • If you feel like your arguments with your spouse go ’round and ’round.
  • If you have a constant sense of shame or fear that often interferes with your marriage.
  • If you’re tired of trying to pleasing your spouse and in the end feeling taken for granted.
  • If you feel a sense of emptiness that not even your spouse or family can fill.

Being transparent means letting others into your heart and life. It’s trusting God enough to let others, especially your spouse, see you as you are—warts and all. It’s a way for you to say to your spouse, “In-to-me-see.”

On the other hand, if you live like an invisible man or woman, then others, especially your spouse, won’t see “into” you. No, they will see through you. Try as you might, your efforts to put your best face forward, to pretend like everything’s all right, or to wear your emotions on your sleeve in an attempt to control or manipulate others will not stop them from seeing through you.

They may not completely realize what they’re seeing, but they’ll know that you’re hiding, not being real, not trusting them with your heart. 

And they will not trust you because of it. 

Now I, in no way, claim to have achieved perfect transparency. But it is my ongoing desire and goal. And I hope transparency is reflected here in the posts you’ll find at Messy Marriage. I also hope that clarifying some of the issues surrounding this problem will move you (and I) forward. So …

What’s the remedy?

Trust God.

  • He’s the only One who can protect you from the hurt that you’re trying to avoid.
  • He’s the only One who can fill the huge void that you want to fill with the approval of others.
  • He’s the only One who can forgive you of the sins and mistakes that plague you like a stubborn stain on your soul.

Cling to Him—not your pretenses.

“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.” 
                                                                                  –Philippians 3:8-10 (NLT)

Photo by mysza831 (Flickr)

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Linking up with NOBH, Playdates with God, Rachel Wojnarowski, Life in the Comments and Matrimonial MondayImperfect Prose, To Love Honor and Vacuum, and New Life Steward

  • Define “consistent”. (Heehee). It was ten years into my marriage before I was treated for ADD. In those ten years I did A LOT of shooting my mouth off impulsively with disastrous consequences. I learned to measure my words more carefully, but think perhaps now I may sometimes think too much about what I say to my spouse that I don’t give the nitty gritty, though often more genuine feedback. This really helps put my core issue (or core sin) FEAR, under the spotlight and how being comfortable with my fear affects my intimacy with my huband

  • I am working on being transparent! There is freedom in not “fighting the good fight” alone and letting others in. Found you on Matrimonial Monday!

    Blessings,

    Rubi

    http://www.lilyamongthornsblog.blogspot.com

  • A beautiful distinction between transparency and invisibility. My husband and I blessed with much transparency, but we have to continue to work on it; I don’t want to ever lose it.

    And I love this:

    “In-to-me-see”

    Thanks for blessing us again today, Beth.

  • I love the questions that you’ve asked …

  • Becky Kopitzke

    These questions are painful… yet liberating. I’m afraid I score about 50/50, but thanks to your clear message, I have a better understanding of what I need to work on. Wise as always, Beth! Thank you!

  • Wow some of your posts are exactly when I’m dealing with and/or learning at the moment. Recently I’ve decided to go back to a support group for codependents and feel it can help to internalize and work on these things, ultimately to trust and depend more on God. i feel God using you to further challenge and encourage me. Thank you!

  • This is foundational. Absolutely an essential message, Beth, which you wrote *so* well. Gotta share. 🙂

  • This is just full of wisdom, glad Kelli shared it. I had to do some soul searching when I answered those questions.

  • Beth this is really good! I can’t help but wonder how many of the second part of the questions I would have answered “yes” to if I didn’t have Jesus in my life.

  • messymarriage

    Definitely, Rubi–we should never “fight the good fight” alone. So true! That’s where I’m learning some of my biggest lessons on transparency–in the context of small groups, close, accountable friendships and, of course, my marriage. Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me, Rubi. So nice to meet ya!

  • messymarriage

    Thanks so much for your support, Linda. It does not go unnoticed, my friend!

  • messymarriage

    You know, these posts and the issues I tackle really help me to process through and evaluate important areas in my life as well. I’m sure you get that same benefit with your wonderful blog too, Becky. I’m so grateful for your friendship, encouragement and kind words here!

  • messymarriage

    Thanks so much, Kelli. I appreciate your kind words and that you shared my post with others. It’s the ultimate compliment. I hope you’re settling into your new home too. 🙂

  • messymarriage

    Yes, I had to do some soul searching when answering the questions too, Shelly. It’s one thing to know these things and quite another to live it out. I’m a work in progress, but so glad that God hasn’t given up on me yet. 🙂 Thank so much for coming by and encouraging me!

  • Mia

    Hi Beth
    Nice meaning you at Mindy’s! Oh, you ask hard questions …….
    But I know our Lord is not surprised by our sins (the woman caught in adultery), and neither does He condemns honesty (the Samaritan woman with the five husbands), for He came to save us. I think we can take of our masks in His presence and just be ourselves. That makes it so much easier to just be open and honest to others around us. Thank you for making me think!
    Hugs XX
    Mia

  • I like the way you explained the difference between the two. In our society, it’s hard to be transparent. We like for everything to look good and portray the perception that it is. But we are all broken, sinful people. God has given us each other to encourage and walk beside. May we be more transparent and honest with those God has placed in our lives. Great post!

  • messymarriage

    Yes, Jesus brings such comfort into our lives. We can be comfortable in our own skin, knowing that the King of kings lives within us! Thanks so much for coming by, encouraging me and adding to the conversation, Mindy!

  • messymarriage

    You give some great examples of where Jesus challenged these women to be honest with themselves and with Him. And there’s such freedom in that … even though we fear it and sometimes believe it will keep us bound. I’m so glad you found my questions helpful, Mia. And I appreciate you coming by and encouraging me!

  • messymarriage

    There is healing in the transparency. That’s what I am learning as I endeavor to walk that path, Christina. And I would not be able to walk it as much as I do without Christ emboldening me as well as using my “messy” story to help others. Thanks so much for coming by. I always enjoy your encouraging words and friendship!

  • Kimberly Green

    Define “consistent”. (Heehee). It was ten years into my marriage before I was treated for ADD. In those ten years I did A LOT of shooting my mouth off impulsively with disastrous consequences. I learned to measure my words more carefully, but think perhaps now I may sometimes think too much about what I say to my spouse that I don’t give the nitty gritty, though often more genuine feedback. This really helps put my core issue (or core sin) FEAR, under the spotlight and how being comfortable with my fear affects my intimacy with my husband

  • “Cling to Him—not your pretenses.” Perfect summary 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

  • soulstops

    Such a crucial difference between transparency and being invisible…I think we can only be transparent if we are clinging to Him and resting in His unconditional love for us…Great post, Beth 🙂

  • hmmm. i’ve never seen ‘invisible’ chosen as the alternative to ‘transparency’. it’s interesting and I resonate with it. I’m definitely more invisible and I struggle some with it because, while I think all of what you said here is true, I do think simple elements of personality play a role and sorting out what needs to change and what doesn’t is not very easy

  • I think you are very real here, Beth. And I agree with the other voices here–I’ve never thought about being “invisible” this way either . You’ve given me something new to think about, as usual 🙂

  • smoothstones

    Thought-provoking! (Marriage is so hard!)

  • Would love to say I scored 100% on the transparency, but alas, my spirt was convicted on a couple of these. Just love how you remind me in small and large ways to reach to have a healthier marriage!