Get Real
Tracie Miles

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory; which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV)

I was sitting in Sunday School listening to prayer requests being mentioned. Prayer needs varied - someone’s neighbors were having marital problems; a co-worker was having a problem with her boss; a friend whose child was being rebellious; a family member’s health issues. A few were personal requests such as an important decision about work, a scheduled surgery, and safe travels for vacation. All the prayer requests were valid and prayer-worthy, but I started to wonder if we were really being real with one another. Why were we not asking for prayers for our own struggles - our own marriage struggles, our own children, or our own challenges in living a Christ-like life?

I had many prayer requests on my heart that morning but instead of sharing them with my Christian friends, I kept them hidden in my heart. Part of me yearned for their prayers, but part of me also feared sharing my most personal issues and concerns with others. Instead of focusing on the truth that God would hear the prayers of these prayer warriors and divinely intervene in my life, I focused on my own insecurities, and the fear of being judged for circumstances in my life or the condition of my own heart. I finally realized we all needed to get real, and that by keeping our struggles to ourselves, we were denying each other the opportunity to be encouraged by hearing the triumphs over trials in other people’s lives.

In today’s society, we have a tendency to focus more on outward appearances than on the inward condition of our hearts. We may have a smile on our face on the outside; but on the inside, our heart is aching, and our soul is pleading for someone to care enough about us to speak with God on our behalf. Our hearts need to be in God-condition for us to be confident enough in our faith to allow us to solicit the prayers of others. In so doing, we glorify Christ through our lives. If we truly desire a character like Christ’s, we must be willing to expose our weaknesses, shed our hypocrisy and stop pretending that our life is a bowl of cherries. God calls us to be transparent.

The Lord made it clear to Samuel that he did not care about what was on the outside. 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’" Samuel was in the process of determining which son of Jesse God wanted to become the king of Israel. Samuel was looking at the outside, instead of the inside condition of the heart.

When I am transparent, I allow people to see, pray for, and love the “real me.” Being real and vulnerable helps me to be usable for God. Once my mask is removed God can use the “real me” to minister to others. Sharing about a restored marriage, about forgiving someone who betrayed you, about a repaired relationship, about spiritual healing from an abortion, or recovery from an addiction could be exactly what someone else needs to hear so that their life, and their heart, can be changed. If people think we “have it all together,” they are less likely to share their struggles. This could close the doors God opens for us to minister to others so that we can help them remove their masks, as well.

By removing our own masks, we can be transformed into vessels for to God use to bring glory to His kingdom. Not only will people see the prayer needs in our lives, they will also see the transparency of a sinner being transformed by being real and praying to a faithful God.

Dear Lord, help me take off the masks I wear so that I can be real to others. Give me the strength to look past my own insecurities and fears, so that I can use my experiences to help others learn to see You working in their lives. Please bring people into my path that I can minister to by being a vessel for Your mighty work. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

Beautiful in God's Eyes, the Treasure of the Proverbs 31 Woman by Elizabeth George

Reinventing Your Rainbow by Tracie Miles

Application Steps:
Ask God to show you how you can minister to someone by sharing your victory over a difficult situation.

Am I willing to be real with my friends and acquaintances?

Am I more concerned with my outward appearance than the condition of my heart?

Power Verse:
2 Corinthians 3:16, “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” (NIV)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so true. Sometimes it is hard to let people know your problems. You wonder what they may think of you. But, you have to get over yourself and ask God to help you. We can do nothing on our own. He is a good God. And that includes asking others for prayer. I have always tried to be a tough women. But, God has so humbled me lately. I never realized what I was missing. I mean I loved the Lord, but I wasn't fully letting go. And I truly know that I need all the prayer I can get now. My husband of over 15 years has walked out on me. I know he is under attack. He is just not being himself at all. He has even left his youth/children's ministry. He is an ordained minister and God has used him mightily. Please, everyone, I know you don't know me, but we need prayer. I know God is working on this marriage and our ministry. I have faith that all things are possible through God. He is a big God. Help me pray for restoration and forgiveness. I need prayer and I am not afraid to ask for it anymore.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

to my dear sister in FL: 1Timothy 4:1 says "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons." But our God is bigger than that and is capable of bringing your husband to his knees and back to you and his family. I pray that he will do just that and you will be there with open arms and an open heart through the strength of the Lord.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

wife in fl-thank you for being a great example to us this morning by immediately removing your 'mask' and revealing your humanness to us. It's a privledge this morning to pray for you in your situation. I am so pleased to see you refer to how big God really is. You have such a great understanding of the trials of life and are not focused on how life has wronged you. May I encourage you to keep holding your head up and keep looking up. You are so right when you say all things are possible to God and he can restore your marriage and ministry.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, I agree whole-heartedly with this devotional today. It's something that I've notice myself and have been troubled by. It can be VERY difficult to show people who we "really" are and lay our hearts and and souls out naked before our peers. But, I am wondering if Tracie has gone ahead and become transparent in her prayer requests in sunday school or prayer groups. Instead of sharing how things should be, I am wanting to know how they are actually turning out for her.

Thank you for sharing this lesson with us, though. It definitely is a personal challenge for all of us. One that will, hopefully, open the doors for the true sense of Christian fellowship, edification, and support that Christ intended for His church.

Blogger Joyce said...

I have been in the same situations. We have a Wed. night Pray meeting. About 2 years ago I was able to get to the inside and ask for healing. Two ladies came up afterwards and said they had the same problem at one time and gave me good advise. It is real hard to get past the outside, but if a person can it is worth it.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! I am always so amazed at God's timing - thank you, Jesus! I sit in weekly Bible study and hear prayer requests for people whom I know nothing about. I don't generally share because others spend so much time making sure their friend's daughter's boyfriend's mother's grandmother is lifted and prayed over that I don't want to take up more time with just requests for me.

Most have been meeting for years (me 2 yrs) in this Bible study and yet only our big requests make it to the prayer list. I appreciate this writing putting words on my concern for the women sitting in class week after week. Now I know what to ponder with God about.

As for FL wife, my heart cries out for you. I once had a pastor that said ministry is not a job, it's a life style. It takes every moment of your time. Prayers to you, sweet Sister. May the Lord bless and keep you.
Ste. Genevieve, MO

Blogger Unknown said...

Wife Needing prayers in Florida,

This same situation happened to me last year. I am now divorced and I have struggled with being divorced but God is going to use me through my divorce and even though reconcilation is no longer a prayer or desire to me or my X husband, God uses us in all situations.

My husband was a deacon in our church and he had a girlfriend for a year. He refused to let her go until I bought and moved into a new house. He has now in 3 months been dating another women and she and her two kids have moved in with him.

I gave my marriage the fight of my life and God spoke to me and told me that he would tell me when it was time to move and he did. I kept thinking that God was sifting my Xhusband but it was me he was sifting. Just know that God is in control and he will provided you every need. He has mine.

Another thing that I did, I told everyone so that they could pray for me, he left three different times and came back home and although people who cared about me thought I was crazy for staying, I was waiting on the Lord.

So have faith, get into the word and remember that this is not your fault and any quilt or shame you feel is from Satan.

Praying for you

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i really needed this devotional today!!! i am a 32 yr old single woman and minister and i am not secure in my own self-esteem it is easy to get up and encourage others that God loves them, but to believe it myself is quite hard. God made me take a good look at myself and is teaching me to see me as he sees me. if anyone has any scriptures or ideas please feel free to share them with me.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

but what about the times when you have been open. I was very open to two people in my life that I trusted would listen and hear me, one being my own mother, about a job situation. I lost my job and have applied and applied and applied but nothing has opened up except one type of job. I prayed everyday for God to bring the right job to me and that one type kept coming up. No others. It finally dawned on me that perhaps this job was the answer I had been looking for and felt a sense of relief but I have had zero support with it. I told my mom and another close friend about this and how I felt I was being led to this particular job field. Nothing. Instead of my mom being happy and praying for my success, she said she'd keep praying for a job for me. I grew up listening to my mom pound how I had to led God lead in my life and now, as I share that I am trying to, she seems to be not believing. What now?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

G from fl
This devotion has been another devine intervention tp let me know that God is hearing my prayers and when men look on the outside he sees our heart. Amy i am encouraged by your testimony i too am being sifted out from my abusive husband of 17 years. We just relocated from ny to florida and he is in ny working until end of year.however sisters we are slowly drifting apart.while he is no longer part taking in our church group in ny i sense god is doing a new thing in my for fl let go and let god . seek his comfort he promises never to leave us alone.
pray one for another.

love all my sisters in chirst
G fl

Blogger Lisa said...

I agree, there are tims when we should be a bit more transparent, but always be wise in who you go to. Some prayer requests should be kept to the Pastor and his wife, while some can be brought before the whole church. Just be wise.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The verse about each of us with with unveiled faces reflecting God's glory, the fact that we are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory just impacted me so much. It is so incredible that we are being transformed into His likeness. Praise You, Lord.
My heart goes out to you gals who have husbands that have left you and I want you to know I am praying for you that the Lord will fill those empty, wounded places in your heart and life with Himself. Only the Lord Himself can give you the healing and bring you back to health. Praise the Lord that you are still looking to Him and that your faith is strong. Satan is working he knows is time is short. I pray that somehow God will make something wonderful out of these difficult situations.

love from your sister in Christ in Michigan

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this devotion. I have a friend with whom I have talked to about this situtation before. We jokingly decided that our motto was "get real or get off the planet".

I have often thought that there was something wrong with me for opening up with my own prayer requests. In some groups everyone there wants to 'fix' you (like the sick healing the sick) instead of knowing that it is our job to pray and GOD's job to fix.

I have been very discouraged also by the lack of people being real, even in close group settings (like a home-group). I have told those around me that the people outside the church will never be able to relate to us (we, believers) if we are not real with our 'stuff'.

It is true that you cannot always share your struggles with just anyone. Some people are not 'safe' and sometimes only in trial and error can we figure that out. [I too have been hurt by some with their 'religious' ("pat") answers. What I have often found in that situation is that the person themselves is stuck and in need of I pray for them and ask the LORD for a safe place to share my struggles. ]

May the LORD make His Body...a safe place to be real! And may those who are willing to be 'pioneers' in opening up and sharing their struggles, find grace and courage to do so.

Keep it REAL! God bless you!

Blogger Unknown said...

I love the truth of getting real. God is look for total abandonment of self and total embracing of him. That starts with being real with yourself and than being transparent with others but ALWAYS be wise.

Abundant Blessings!
P.S. Awesome blog!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your reminder that we, as christians, need to get real. I am a pastor's wife and am far from perfect. What a relief it would be to be able to share my weaknesses without fear of being considered unworthy. In our denomination there has been a saying for many years..."Saved, Sanctified, and Suspect". It seems that we believe that the altar is only for sinners. I pray that readers will heed this word and that all christians can approach God publicly or ask for support from their church family and be assured that they will be lifted up by their brothers and sisters in Christ rather than a topic of discussion.

Blogger encourager said...

To my sister in fl: 11 years ago my husband walked out on me and our 5 children , he was having an affair with my best friend.After 3 months of daily forgiving[an act of your will,not feelings!] hecame home! In those 3 months God also dealt with my faults and showed me where I needed to be a better wife.
GOD IS ABLE TO HEAL ANY MARRIAGE PUT YOUR TRUST IN HIM AND HE WILL DO IT! Im praying for you! love in Christ, Encourager

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this devotion. My husband and I have raised our children to believe and trust in God. One of our daughters, now an adult, no longer believes in God. Of all the burdens parents have for their children, this has been our greatest. I have not shared this with my close friends because my daughter doesn't want anyone to treat her differently. She enjoys going to church when she comes home to visit because church was a huge part of her growing up, and she still feels the love from those who helped nurture her in the church. Please be in prayer for my daughter. Please pray that God will give her the faith she needs to believe He exists, and that He will show her His reality in every day things.
Thank you so much for your prayers.

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