rebelling against low expectations

How do you practically be transparent?


A. WRITES: I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to be transparent about my personal struggles. I have never been very good at talking about my problems, and I’m finding it’s also hard to tell people about how God has been helping through them. When I do talk about personal struggles, I feel like I’m bothering people or complaining. When I talk about Jesus’ victories over sin in my life, I feel that it really doesn’t help anyone. How can I be more transparent in my everyday life so that God is glorified?

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are submitted by real rebelutionaries who are looking for godly answers to tough questions and lively conversation with other young adults. You can join the conversation by commenting below. If you'd like to submit your own discussion question, email us at [email protected].


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  • I REALLY struggle with this, so I might be encouraging myself more than you in this comment. You really should just listen to God more than trust in your own understanding. Ask Him when you should share your struggles, and who with. Remember that two or more people in a fight is better than one. I used to say to myself, “Hey, I have God to fight for me, that’s all I need!”. That can be true, but God wants us to reach out to each other in our struggles and just obey Him.

    • “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

  • I likewise struggle with transparency. For me, it’s more of a pride issue. But slowly, through God’s work in my life, I am becoming more open about my problems. For me, I had to understand that we’ve all got issues. It is wonderful to share how God is working in me with another believer. I think it is encouraging actually for both I and the listener!

  • I would first say to be discerning in who you are open to. Some will seem open, only to use your openness against you later. Some people really don’t care about your struggles or what God is doing in your life. Unfortunately, most teenagers fall into one of these two categories.

    However, there’s a third group. I’m lucky enough to have several friends who are always open to talk about each others struggles and what God is doing in our lives. It’s a very healthy friendship that a few of us share. If you have any friends like this, these are the ones that you want to be transparent with.

    Transparency is not a requirement for Christianity. In fact, you want to be very careful with you are transparent with. Only talk about your struggles with people who care and who you can trust. Parents, youth leaders, mature Christian teenagers, and good friends are the ones that come to mind.

    As far as the part about telling others what God is doing in your life, never EVER be ashamed to talk about that. For some, they may not look like they care, but down inside, they wish God was doing similar things in their lives. I know because I used to be one of those kids. Don’t ever be ashamed to give your testimony. It does more good than you think.

    Hope this helps.

    • I agree with you, except, I think there might be different ideas on the meaning of “transparency”. If being transparent means to let the light of Christ shine through us, we need to be transparent all the time to everyone 🙂

      • Oh of course! And that’s what I was referring to when I mentioned her testimony, since testimonies are usually good witnessing tools. I interpreted transparency as being open about your problems and struggles and joys and strengths with other people. Some will respect you and listen, while others couldn’t care less.

        But you are completely right. If being transparent means letting Christ shine through us, then by all means we need to be transparent.

        • I’d agree that we have to be careful to whom we share our struggles and there are different levels of openness, but we must not attempt to hide our sin and I think it’s really important to have at least a few people we can really be ‘open’ in the first meaning of the word with.

          • This is true, but by admitting a more private and personal sin to people you cannot trust will cause unnecessary pain and harm to yourself. But I agree, it is really important to have a few people you can be open with.

      • Even in sharing our struggles, I think it is clear in the Bible that we aren’t supposed to hide our sin.

        • Yes, we shouldn’t hide sin, but struggles doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing as sin. Habitual sin might be a struggle, but other things like sickness, depression, bad relationships, financial problems, the list could go on and on, but what I’m saying is that all of those are also things that are struggles, but you might not want to be too open about all of those things with everybody. 😛

          • I definitely agree. Of course, it’s still nice to have people you can share other struggles with.

    • Yes, we should be discerning, but I tend to err on the side of openness. I think transparency is very important as a Christian; I want people to see that I have struggles like they do. I want to be a relatable and approachable person, and if I try to look like I have it all together, people will hesitate to talk to me about their own struggles. Does that make sense?

      • You make a good point. As people get you know you more and as you get to know them, being more open and transparent is good and healthy for the relationship. My point was just being careful with who you share your struggles with.

  • For once, I am not going to write a whole article to answer a discussion question. 🙂

    The biggest thing that I would say in my own journey of sharing my story with others and being transparent to glorify God, is that often evidence of God working in you is a desire and opportunity to share the work he has already done. The first time is really hard, but the next time will be easier. And the next time. And the next time after that will be even easier. If you are willing to overcome pride and let the Lord shine his brightest in your weakness, I know that the Lord will use your story in ways that you cannot imagine right now. Be courageous and find someone you trust not to judge you.

      • While it’s good and even ideal for a parent to fill that role, I believe that as a rule, young people need both a parent + someone outside the family who they can trust. We live in a fallen world. Even the best of parents will have a tendency to minimize or deflect issues their kids bring up, because they feel that it reflects directly on how they did as a parent and they want to believe that everything is ok. Some kids may also have developed walls in what they share with their parents that they wouldn’t have with someone else.

        For example: a young man, wanting to gain the approval of his dad, will do everything in his power to hide the fact that he tried a cigarette with his coworkers at the auto shop last weekend. Wall. Barrier. Whereas, this information might be something he’d be willing to discuss with an older friend on a church camping trip, away from the pressure of maintaining his parent’s approval.

        Obviously these obstacles are because of brokenness and our fallen state, but it’s a fact we must face in order to not give the devil any footholds. It takes humility on the part of a parent to accept that they can’t be everything for their young person, but it’s for the best.

        • Yeah, there’s a lot I don’t share with my parents at this point that I do talk about with other older adults. With my parents, I feel like there’s a huge barrier because I want them to think of me in a good light and it seems like talking about my problems will make them think of me worse. I realize that a lot of this is in my head, but still…

    • This has been really helpful to me. Find someone you can be completely transparent to, someone you really trust. Taking steps to being more open with them makes it a lot easier, I think, to talk about the hard things in your life. So often we just find it very difficult and, frankly, awkward to talk about the things we’re going through or have gone through that have always been a secret. Talking to one person about these things makes it easier to be transparent with other people, too, I think.

      • I understand. It’s not always easy. I’ve had the most success at my church, with older friends. Maybe just pray and ask God to bring someone.

  • Thanks so much for asking this question!! I personally struggle with this as well. It’s hard for me to open up to people since i think they won’t understand or they will judge me. Thanks to all you who have commented! You’ve all given some great advice!

  • When I’m struggling with this (almost always), I have to remind myself why I need to be open in the first place. Like you said, it’s glorify God –specifically my weakness. But if I won’t admit that I’m weak — well, for one thing, I’m lying — I’m also refusing to grow, and denying God the credit for wherever growth he gives anyway. If I don’t admit my sin I can’t fight it or get help, so it just gets worse.

    It also helps to know that transparency doesn’t necessarily mean spilling you guts. I just look at it as being honest about whatever’s going on. It’s an attitude that will play itself out naturally, especially when you try to help people with similar problems.

    Anyway, I hope this helps. Sorry if my thoughts were kind of sloppy, I’ll edit later. 😂

  • 1 John! 1 John! 1 John!!!

    “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.”-1 John 1:5-10

    I am literally being a hypocrite right now because this is totally my problem. And it’s bad!

    Anyway, I talked a little bit about this in my question on overcoming spiritual pride last Saturday. This is huge!

    It can be so easy for me to be just open enough for people to be like “Oh, you’re a great open Christian who acknowledges your struggles”, and just not open enough for people to see the true ugliness of my sin.

    It’s easy to talk about the things where everyone falls and where I can make myself out as the victim of temptation, but when I acknowledge the REAL, HARD fights I’m in. . .it’s really, really hard!

    And there’s always 1 John to haunt me.

    I’m the kind of person that can talk about my problems all the time. Sometimes, I do it just to make people feel bad for me (even when I’m not conscious of it) or to get them to say, “You can’t be that bad.”

    But the worst struggles I face are really hard to talk about. (I already said that.) And sometimes even little struggles are harder to talk to about with certain people who should really know about them.

    I get the feeling of “What if they judge me? What if they decide that I’m some awful person.” Well the fact is that aside from the grace of God, you are!

    But you’re not without God’s grace, and God’s grace doesn’t just forgive you. It sanctifies you.

    God won’t forgive you and love you when you’re perfect in Heaven after all your sin is magically gone.

    No! The process starts here and now. The sin starts leaving now. He forgives you and loves you now!!!! You are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand. You are a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. If we really get that into our head. If we start believing that, then it’ll be so much easier to be open. Because remember, relationships are never about you and the other person anyway (I’m being a hypocrite here too.) They’re about God. . .

    There’s a huge difference between saying something, even believing something, and living it.

    I’m going to be open here and now, and say I whole-heartedly believe everything I just said. Do I live by it like I should? No. But I want to.

    Oh, and also Romans 8 is really beautiful. You should read it.

    “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.[a] 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you[b] free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[c] he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

    9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus[d] from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”-Here’s some of it.

    And you should also read the book of Galatians (which I’m not going to post here)! Well, I’m really rambling and this comment is really long, but I needed to write it 🙂

  • I also struggle with this, but not as much as I used to. I prayed about it a lot, and then I just made a conscious effort to share my heart in everyday life. I’ve found my voice through writing–it’s so much easier for me to write what God is doing in my life than to verbally say it. So, blogging and social media have helped me reach people. I would say just pray about it and maybe try a different platform rather than verbally to share how God is helping you. But keep getting out of your comfort zone to verbally share God; that’s really tough for me, but I know that out of your comfort zone is where growth occurs!

  • Nothing to prove.
    Nothing to hide.
    Nothing to fear.

    a life without compartments
    (just quoting our pastor’s preaching)

rebelling against low expectations

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