on living transparently

transparency,honesty,see thru,see through,being real,

Written by Nikole Hahn

Nikole Hahn is a recovering perfectionist blogging at "Life Upside Down" at www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com. She is also the publisher of The Relevant Christian Magazine (@TRCMagazine). She is a member of Word Weavers International, a book reviewer, writer, and coffee addict.

April 3, 2011

transparency,honesty,see thru,see through,being real,

or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

“What’s refreshing about it?” Someone asked me.

We were talking about blogging.

“Because in reading someone else’s personal struggles and thoughts God is glorified. You can see it in the way He picks them up when they are down. When I walk into a service I sense the walls. Some are so distrustful that prayer requests are like pulling teeth. It takes courage to walk transparently.”

With my family, I walked the lie that everything in my life had to make sense, be correct, and that smile had to grace my face. I had to wear a skirt to church. I had to make all the correct choices and my faith was works-based. I didn’t realize that I lived a lie because every Christian I knew also walked into church with a smile on their face and their life seemingly together. Those I knew also believed we had to live as good examples.

In an argument with my grandfather, he said, “You’re a Christian…You’ve been a screw-up all your life.” In an argument with an aunt and uncle, one of the commandments was used against me. Because I didn’t live in the cookie mold of their beliefs I was a hypocrite. God used all of this to break me. I realized that I lived to the delight of the Enemy who prowls around like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8,9) looking to tear down my faith. The Enemy knows he’s doomed and wishes to take as many with him as possible. I stumbled with this work-based faith. A person used scripture against me until I questioned my faith and whether God could love me.

Then, one day I realized that I was a hypocrite and Jesus died on the cross for me (John 3). He forgave me, and I can’t live on a works-based faith. That’s not how the Bible is written. It trapped me in a black void of despair and failure. I was doomed to fail living like I was all self-sufficient while I struggled emotionally with so many issues. The vacancy of love in my family would always exist, but Jesus was asking me, “Am I enough?”

I walk into service every week and see the walls as if I could touch them. In looking at myself I see my walls that still exist though they are steadily crumbling.

Is this a Christian family?

Our branches extend all over the world. Isn’t it time that we begin to notice our walls and work a little at a time to break them down? And if you blog your thoughts and your weaknesses, please keep blogging! God is using that to help another. And if someone airs their dirty laundry, listen. You don’t need to contribute. Just listen. In some cases, words aren’t necessary to say I love you.


  1. Karen Eck

    Thank you. Light shines through transparency … it also reflects off whitewashed tombs … (two different ways in which the light shows its presence) And even beneath a dark shadow, it is the light that clarifies the obstruction as the culprit in blocking the light.

    • Nikole Hahn

      You’re welcome! More people need to live transparently.

  2. @bibledude

    this is a great perspective on dealing with the masks that we wear in the church. i’ve been quite convicted these days about always responding “i’m great” when people ask me how i’m doing when i know that i’m really not.

    the difficult part to me is not wanting to dump my problems on others. but like you, i’m learning how to be more transparent through my blogging. it’s still tough sometimes though…

    thank you for the great (and challenging) post!

    • Nikole Hahn

      Thanks for posting it! I do the same thing. Like I said many times, I have my own walls that I am working at breaking down because I love my church family and I can’t be effective if I always say, “I’m great.”

  3. Paula C. Whitehouse

    Thank you for this. I am transparent and a lot of the time I am a Christian mess, but I am also loved by Jesus who saved me. I’ve been recognised for my transparency on my blog. Some say that it’s good and others, I’m sure, don’t understand why I put it all out there. It’s because people need to know that we are only human but we have a supernatural strength with us 24/7 to get us through. Thanks again!

    • Nikole Hahn

      Amen, Paula! There will always be people who don’t understand. It’s sometime a matter of being raised in a different generation.

  4. Crystal

    What an incredible post … I too struggle with the seemingly lack of transparency within the church walls. It makes me think of a song by Casting Crowns called Stained Glass Masquerade – the chorus lyrics go like this:

    Are we happy plastic people
    Under shiny plastic steeples
    With walls around our weakness
    And smiles to hide our pain
    But if the invitation’s open
    To every heart that has been broken
    Maybe then we close the curtain
    On our stained glass masquerade

    The church should be the primary place we go when we feel broken, but unfortunately, sometimes when we feel most broken, it’s the place that most often makes us feel worse about our brokenness. Thank you for shining a light on it here.

    • Nikole Hahn

      It should but our society tells us we shouldn’t trust anyone. We should trust God enough to know that if someone lets us down He will put our heart back together again. We have become a society of fear.

  5. Kathleen Beard

    Very insightful post Nikki. I learned transparency by going through the process of having Jesus break down all of my scaffolding and revealing the decaying structure that it was propping up. The most painful yet exhilarating experience of my life began when I asked Him to burn off the dross of my life, so that I could die to self and He could live freely and openly through me. I thank God every day that failure is built into the process! Now that everyone knows what a mess I am through the writing of my book, I am free to no longer put on the old mask. Amen.


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on living transparently

by Nikole Hahn time to read: 3 min