At a recent YOU Lead women’s leadership training event, we had a panel of leaders answering questions submitted by attendees. One of the questions asked was: How do you encourage transparency? Is it bad to be truly open?
We often talk about being transparent to reach women, and truly, to reach the younger women, we must be honest about our lives, our struggles, our failures, and our victories. Women must see that we are seeking with all our hearts to live out the convictions we espouse. But we are not always sure how much to share.
Here are a few suggestions based on my experiences with sharing:
1. Pray first. Ask God to anoint what you say and allow you to speak His words in any given situation.
2. Know your audience. Who are these women? What do they know about you? What do they know about God?
3. Never pretend to have it all together. In fact, I’ve experienced God shaking things up so that I cannot control them. That’s when He does even greater things than I ever planned! Those are the times I am able to share with other leaders that nothing is ever perfect and we must trust God to lead us and use our weaknesses to encourage others.
4. Be willing. Share whatever God lays on your heart about your own personal testimony to His goodness. Part of the training I do when I teach the basics of women’s ministry includes a story of how God used one woman in particular, who had been transparent with me about her own situation, to help me make a very difficult journey. I walked in faith since I’d been able to witness her faith through her own painful journey. If she had been leading a “perfect” life (as I thought hers was), I’d never have known her story. Her story equipped me to live out my story in victory and faith that God was in control.
5. Consider the size of your audience. I only speak in general with few specifics when I share in a large group. It is clear that my story involves struggles with a child, but I do not ever share things that would hinder her own healing and reconnection with us. If I was sharing one on one with a woman, I might share more details depending on her own needs and her story.
6. Ask God what stories of faith in your own life He wants to use in ministry. I have come to realize that every difficult place I have been in is an opportunity for God to use to help someone else. If I never share those stories, people never know how and what I’ve learned of God throughout my life. They don’t see we fought for the faith we stand on today and it wasn’t easy. But it was GOOD!
There is redemption in our difficulties when we are able to use them for His glory! Be who God has created you to be and be willing to share the stories He has allowed into your life to touch the lives of others.
What story is God asking you to be transparent about? Now, ask Him when, where, and how much of that story He wants you to share as you serve Him faithfully.