Thursday, March 05, 2009

Transparency Part six

The Bible says, "Out of the overflow of the heart a man speaks" (Luke 6:45b). Since I've been blogging about transparency over the last few days, this scripture has been turning over and over in my head. It seems to me, in order to be able to live an authentic life, to blog with real honesty, to minister, lead, love in a true way, I first have to be honest with myself... and with God.

I have often been guilty of being less than honest with myself. Mostly, I lie about my reasons for doing things. I constantly have to question my own motivations.For example: Am I doing this (training teachers, teaching workshops, whatever) for Jesus, or so people will like me? There is a line in the DC Talk song, What if I Stumble? that says this:
Is this one for the people? Is this one for the Lord?
Or do I simply serenade for things I must afford?
You can jumble them together, my conflict still remains
Holiness is calling in the midst of courting fame
As a ministry leader, a mother, even as a small-time blogger with a tens of readers, I feel a huge responsibility to keep my heart pure.

Proverbs 16:2
People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I ever allow myself to soak up praise or glory or attention that does not belong to me, I am headed for a big ol' crash, and I'm taking others with me. Pretty sure that's not cool with God:

But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.
Mark 9:42
And before you think that I'm taking the responsibility too seriously, consider this:
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. James 3:1
Although I hesitate being put under this blanket, (of those who are held to a higher accountability) I also think it's fair. I expect my children's English teacher to spell better than the average person, don't I? It stands to reason that any person who leads in even a small capacity would be able to walk straighter, no? I would imagine that God would want us to read that scripture there in James to remind us to keep in mind that when we are teachers, we are like sheep herders- if we tumble off a cliff, those who are following us are certain to plunge to certain death as well. I may not feel like a leader all the time, but as long as anyone is looking to me for direction (even if they're "only" kids) I suppose I am one by default.

Because I am a mother who (hopefully, at least on a good day) teaches my children, because I am a trainer who (again, hopefully) teaches teachers, I can't afford to walk around with a deceptive heart with impure motives- for I'm 100% certain that deception will eventually ooze out and contaminate the ministry that God has before me. Does that mean that I won't/can't/haven't/don't every day mess up? Of course not. But I do sincerely believe that I'm expected to make a daily effort to pick up my cross and follow Him. And to do that authentically, I have to actively pursue a clean heart, and solely rely on God to purify it for me.

Psalm 26:2
Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me.Test my motives and my heart.

How about you? Are there any areas that you struggle with being true with your own self? If it's not making sure your motives are pure, is there another area you are not being honest about? Why? More to come.............



Carpoolqueen said...

This resonates in my heart as I've been asked to speak on a panel about raising special needs kids. On most days, it's the last thing I feel I do well. And I don't want to be held up as someone who does it right because in my heart of hearts, I know that I could do so much better.

So I think I'll preface my remarks by owning up to that fact, and then diving in with what works for us. And turn it all over to the Lord so that He can use it however He sees fit.

The Daily Bee said...

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. James 3:1

This just hit me square in the face. I teach kids from ages 2 - 12
and I've been guilty of taking it too lightly. Teaching them something that I myself wouldn't face in my own life. Those hidden sins that we teach kids not to do yet we can't get it under control ourselves.

People may say "there just kids". Kids remember things better than adults do... A child will grow up and when facing things remember what they were taught.... just me thinking out loud. ha.

Boy, I'm lovin' this Transparency series... good stuff!

Sing4joy said...

Transparency with myself is for sure the hardest and what you said, " I'm expected to make a daily effort to pick up my cross and follow Him. And to do that authentically, I have to actively pursue a clean heart, and solely rely on God to purify it for me." really is the truth.

HisTreasuredPossession said...

Hello! I found you via Twitter and noticed you're friends with Fran AND you live in So. Cal. I'm moving to the OC (is that how you say it?) with my sweet family this summer and am wondering where in So. Cal you are and are you a Siesta?
rachel winn
twitter: rachwinn

Shanda said...

God has been dealing with my own heart about removing the "masks" that we as women/mothers often wear...the whole, "I've got it together" part but more so lately that if the newer believers (or even non-believers) around us do not see the point that we have started at - and we are willing to be transparent about it instead of acting like we've just always known God's truths and lived them- unless they can see what mercy and grace has done in our lives than it will always seem this unobtainable walk to them...hope that makes sense!

The Scripture in James 3:1 has also recently jumped out to me as well. As I grow as a ministry leader, I realize that truth all the more.

Loving this series! Very timely for me!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

I am not even sure I got to your blog, but I love it. The subject of transparency is one I deal with often.

I am new to the blogging world, but have been an avid reader for several years.

I am so excited about all the new friends I have met in just a couple of weeks.

When you have some time, stop by and visit my blog.


Halfmoon Girl said...

I think that we all struggle with pure motives. I really like it when people like me- this can cause me to get off track sometimes, as I seek to people please instead of pleasing the Lord.

PJ said...

Really good. I teach -- public school. And it's so true. Whatever we teach, we are expected to know and DO, practice. So much more as a Christian. Lots of food for thought here!

Gretchen said...

Oh, good. The microscope is set on a different lens for me--I can relax. Phew.

Oh, I kid.

This is still some of your best bloggy schtuff, m'love. Lurve every drop. So well thought out and well written.

MyShilohRanch said...

Oh yes ladies, you are all SO on the right track! You humble this old moomis.

Authenticity, integrity, transparency, accountability ... ALL are especially important in these last days, as the churches begin to fall away from the Truth. And ULTRA-important to the children whom God is raising up for this specific time in history.

I see God working on this same issue, in EVERY arena of life! It is an awesome thing to get to watch Him work!

Press on! The more hay, wood and stubble we get rid of now, the less to burn later! ;]

Jenster said...

I was just thinking about this. As I continue to take a bigger part in our Women's Ministry (CLEAR) and as CLEAR spreads out beyond our church and into the community I'm being elevated into a position of more responsibility. I LOVE the speaking and I LOVE the writing and I LOVE the praise I get for a job well done. But I have to remind myself that if I have any talent in these areas it's because God has gifted me with them. AND that I'd better be sure that what I'm saying/writing brings God glory and not dishonor.

You do a beautiful job with your writing and I'm guessing you do a beautiful job with your speaking and teaching and you're using the gifts God has given you. And you bring him glory with these awesome posts and not dishonor!

Becky said...

Great, thought provoking series.

It truly does bring me to my knees, that scripture from James (3:1). To be all at once devoted to the Lord, working for His honor and glory, while not letting self get in the way...a delicate balance.

I find that there is a thin line between humility and pride in ministry...the second you think, "Wow...I'm humble" you're proud. Oy, why does self have to keep getting in the way?

Lord, may our hearts always reflect You!

lisasmith said...

I love, love, love this post. yes, it is one of my favs. How I desire the overflow of my heart to be heard as beautiful to all. No exceptions.

Do I hold myself to a higher standard, yes. Do I fall miserably short, yes. Am I quick to give God all the glory, Oh Lord, let it be yes.

Love your heart, Sister!