I had a friend from Dallas Theological Seminary ask if she could do a Prepare / Enrich marital assessment on my wife and me for a class that she was taking. We gladly agreed. Knowing that my friend is a very competent counselor, I knew she would pick up on some of the reoccurring “trouble” spots in our relationship. Despite 18 years of marriage, we did not have it all figured out. My friend’s response was, “Thank you both so much for being willing to make yourselves vulnerable so you could help me! I appreciate it.”

It is my strong conviction that transparency and vulnerability equal authenticity, and authenticity is where transforming and true community exists. That is my heart’s desire for all! I have felt the effects of being on an island all by myself, it was not fun.

The need for community goes way beyond fellowship. True community reminds us that our focus needs to be external and not internal. Only when I am known and know others do I find authentic community where we can walk through anything together. When we engage each other deeply we have nothing to hide or feel shame about, and that is a wonderful feeling. We all have a past, and if we are prone to isolation, the story of our past begins to creep in, sometimes very slowly. If we are not careful, it overrides the truth that we have been redeemed by the blood of Christ and have a new purpose in God’s redemptive plan for humanity.

I frequently find myself pondering a comment Dr. John Hannah made in a Sunday School class I was attending. He stated, “Looking inside oneself for answers is akin to scuba diving in a septic tank.” As a child of The One True King, who has been blessed to be recovered from alcoholism, it is vital for me to have people in my life that keep me from being too inwardly focused on that septic tank. At the core of addiction is self-will run riot. When left to my own vices, I can quickly fall back into the lies of the enemy and tell myself that I am not worth it, or do not deserve the forgiveness I have received; or the tape of shame masked as insecurity loops over and over in my mind until I believe it is truth.

I MUST have authentic community around me that keeps me focused on living the story of God’s will for my life and not the story I falsely believed for so many years. I was recently asked how many accountability partners (people who know where my struggles lie and are willing to ask the hard questions) someone should have. I responded 3-5 people. They seemed surprised and quickly asked how I had time for that. Without thinking about it, my response was, “I have to, it is life or death.” The beauty of relationships that are authentic is that I get to pour into their lives as well. We share a common unspoken bond that is hard to describe.

I am reminded of Philippians 2:2-3. “Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” That is the wonderful thing about a transparent and authentic community in any setting, it not only benefits me, it benefits others at the same time.

Whenever I give my testimony, I try to make a point of letting people know that I am an open book and they can ask me whatever they want. It breaks the chains of bondage that the deceiver tries to keep me in, and increases the awe I have for my Savior every time I share how God reached into this broken sinner’s heart and offered hope, redemption, and forgiveness.

Rock Your Family is a place where people can tell their story and be met with grace rather than shame. A place where we walk alongside people as they pursue God’s purpose and plan for their lives.  I am ready to share my story with whomever is ready to listen. Are you ready to share yours? You are not alone! Let’s share what God has done and is doing together.