What We Gain When We Ditch the Filters
By Victoria Riollano
Fresh out of the shower, with no makeup, combed hair, jewelry, or nice clothes, I pressed the “record” button.
After a time of prayer, I felt a sense of urgency to make a video on social media. The message was simple, “God loves you unconditionally.” After recording the video, I went about my day thinking nothing of my spontaneous moment. Yet, after my phone started to burst with notifications hours later, I realized that my video was not only being watched, it was being shared… A LOT! In this moment, my first thoughts weren’t on how many people would hear about the love of God. All I could think of was how “naked” I felt.
I was utterly exposed with no filter.
This feeling of outward vulnerability plagued me so much I questioned whether to delete my most shared video. Reluctantly, I kept the video on my page and cringed at every new like, comment and share. Truthfully, this feeling of not wanting to be seen for my true self was not new. In a world of makeup apps, filters, and unlimited edits, I had become more comfortable with the fantasized version of myself. This was not only in the outward sense of beauty but also in the refusal to share my burdens with those close to me. Yet, I believe that it’s in embracing the imperfections, being bold about what we are going through, sharing what we have overcome, that we find true freedom.
In the book of James, we see a verse that expresses this very sentiment:
Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. - James 5:16
Confession or sharing our trespasses is a vital part of the Christian journey. From the moment we accept Jesus into our lives, there’s an aspect of recognizing we are not perfect and confessing our sins to the Lord (Romans 10:9-10). When we completely share our past/current mistakes to the Lord, it’s our way of saying, “I trust you, Lord, with this and believe you can help me to overcome it.” But very often, we don’t consider the healing that comes from sharing our lives with one another. We neglect to find others we can say, “I trust you with this and I believe you can help me to over it.” In this way, the enemy is able to keep us isolated and overwhelmed by our pain rather than strengthened within a community.
I believe, the key to James 5:16 is what happens after the confession part of the verse, “and pray for each other.” The key is not simply being vulnerable. If we are honest, we know plenty of people who are completely open with anyone who will listen. This verse, however, insinuates that we don’t just confess our sins. Instead, we confess our sins to someone who can and will pray for us.
When we do this, we are healed not only from sharing but also from feeling the care that comes from having a praying friend. The verse ends by reminding us that the “prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” In other words, as we share our sins with the right people who will pray for us, we will experience healing. Yet, this process begins with us being willing to be honest. We, now, must pray for those we can be completely unfiltered with. When we find Godly friendships, we can feel no shame in sharing our hearts.
Here’s the thing, I believe that it wasn’t just the content of my video months ago that made it popular. I believe it was the choice to share without a filter. It was the ability for others to see another woman without makeup or perfectly posed video shots. Instead, it was in the sharing of my heart that drew people to want to hear more. I can’t but think how much more effective we would be as Christians if we would simply allow ourselves to be a little exposed (with wisdom) to those listening. Truly, many want to hear our journeys and about the God we serve, but they want to hear it in a way that’s genuine and not so polished that it's no longer relatable.
My prayer today is that you come to discover the beauty in vulnerability and the healing that comes from revealing the imperfections within your truth. When we share our weakness, we reveal how strong our God really is.
Victoria Riollano is an author, blogger, and speaker at Victory Speaks. As a mother of six, military spouse, Psychology professor and pastor’s wife, Victoria has learned the art of balancing family and accomplishing God’s ultimate purpose for her life. Recently, Victoria released her book, The Victory Walk: A 21 Day Devotional on Living A Victorious Life. Additionally, Victoria has recently begun her journey as the podcast host of Victory Talk with Victoria. Her ultimate desire is to empower women to live a life of victory, hope, and love. She believes that with Christ we can live a life that is ALWAYS winning. You can learn more about her ministry at www.victoryspeaks.org.
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