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Apples & Selfies

Most of us are no stranger to taking selfies and editing them to meet our approval. We’ve become experts at adjusting the lighting, changing filters, and even taking several shots to find just the right angle.

The problem with our edits is that we sometimes present ourselves as being flawless, even though human nature directly contradicts this notion. Perhaps, our unrealistic lives are making us unreachable.

As an instructor, there has always been this unspoken rule that you must keep your personal life private, and never allow students to know that you are a human that eats, sleeps, poops, and makes mistakes just like everyone else.

I remember an instance when I went to the grocery store , and saw one of my teachers at the checkout wearing a head scarf, holding a box of tampons, and sifting through the candy bars on display. For some reason that image changed how I interacted in her class. After seeing her in such a human light, I became less afraid to ask questions, and even felt more comfortable, sharing personal struggles.

Sometimes we become overly protective of our personal lives and deny people the ability to see how similar we actually are. Throughout my time in education, I constantly hear the drawbacks of being too open on social media. Those heeding’s often come from non-millennials, who still have paper bank statements mailed to them because they are fearful of information getting into the “wrong hands”. Not to belittle their concerns, but information has been getting into the “wrong hands”, way before Facebook and Instagram. If you are concerned about inappropriate pictures being seen by students, then you should be concerned about inappropriate pictures being seen by your family & friends. Perhaps if we worked harder at not living a double life, we would become more intentional with having consistency in our character.

Say Ouch if you can't say

I’m not saying that everything should be shared. Some things are private. But, this is not an all or nothing deal. As a believer, it is our duty to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. One of the most effective ways to do this is through vulnerability and transparency.

In my classroom last week, I talked to students about my ex-husband who was diagnosed with PTSD. That conversation allowed me to share the difficulty of explaining to my children what an invisible disability was. Without going into a lot of details, I humanized myself, and opened the door, for them to do the same. Sometimes we expect people to be completely transparent with us, while we look through our two-way mirror.

When we look at the Bible, as not just a bunch of fables, but actual people with struggles and fears, we quickly see how effective a non-edited version of our self can be. Could you imagine the story of Job, without his vulnerable time of cursing himself, and even the day he was born, but never cursing God? Imagine the meaning we would have lost, if that part of the story had been left out.

What meanings have you lost? What parts of your story have you edited out, that could have provided encouragement for someone else? Sometimes we hide our struggles thinking it is something to be ashamed of, when it can really be a story of hope for someone else.

There is no right way to share your story. As instructors, leaders, professionals, even students, we sometimes down play our role in the kingdom. However, I believe that we are entering a dispensation where true ministry will take place outside of the pulpit, and be brought with you to work, carried with you at school, and worn on you in the streets. Ministers will no longer wear fancy robes and speak at podiums, but will wear jeans with blazers, and speak at rallies.

Most people will say that sharing your faith at work will get you fired, but I’m a firm believer that LIVING your faith will render greater results. A good friend of mine once said, “we must learn to be artfully transparent and creatively open..”. As leaders, we must find innovative ways to engage, and stimulate our followers…artfully and creatively but most importantly transparently.

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