One of the teachers and keynote speakers at the Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference was Cecil Murphey. In case you’re not familiar with him, Cec is a New York Times bestselling author and international speaker who has written or co-written more than 100 books. Some of his best known titles include Committed But Flawed, 90 Minutes in Heaven and Heaven Is Real (with Don Piper), Touchdown Alexander (with Shaun Alexander), Gifted Hands and Think Big (with Dr. Ben Carlson), and Rebel With a Cause (with Franklin Graham). He’s a former pastor, missionary, and teacher, so has a wealth of experiences to draw from for his writing.
Cec lives in metro Atlanta and has been a mentor to our local writing group for several years, so anytime we get to see him or hear him teach is a special treat. One of the many things I admire about Cec is his transparency — he’s the same Cec wherever you see him and whoever he’s with, whether he’s teaching a group of new writers, catching up with fellow authors at a conference, or sharing his heart and wisdom from the platform. He’s also one of the most generous people I’ve ever met, and funds numerous scholarships for Christian writers to attend conferences across the country each year. I’ve benefited from those scholarships twice myself. 🙂
He spoke one morning during the conference on “Write His Answer … Transparently.”
“When you open up and become real, you’ll begin to connect with people,” Cec said. “There’s something wonderful about letting people know who you are. Being authentic is where you make the difference.”
Cec was talking to us from a writing perspective, but I think the same philosophy holds true in every corner of life. Nobody wants a fake friend. Nobody wants to play games, trying to figure out how much of what someone says is true. Nobody wants a surface-level prayer partner.
Instead, we want to know that the people we feel closest to are being honest with us. We want to know we’re not the only ones having struggles. We want to know that when someone says they care, they mean it.
In other words, we want — dare I say crave? — transparency.That’s not to say we need to bare our souls to the cashier at Kroger, but people want to know that the people around them are real. I think that especially holds true with Christians, where we sometimes have the misguided idea that we’re supposed to always have our “perfect and fine” face on for the world. If that’s all the world sees, they’re not seeing the real us that God helps through each and every day.
I do better with this on some days than on others, and in some situations versus others. But it’s my goal to put that transparency into practice more every day. How about you?