• Dana L. Butler

authenticity and presence post

The fact that a person will be much more likely to receive from you if they’ve first felt seen, heard, known, understood.  The act of offering authentic presence, of setting aside your inner conversation about what you should say next, what this person needs to hear, and just genuinely listening, approaching a person with curiosity and genuine interest, with a desire to KNOW them, not just know what’s wrong with them and figure out how to make it right.

The act of that actually opens up a person’s heart to receive from you at a deep level.

And it causes your words to penetrate much more deeply into their heart

It prepares you to deliver words that are


2. Compassionate.

3. Healing.

4. And at times, searingly truthful, but receivable because the person feels seen, heard, and known.

Stan and I sat the other night with friends who we are still in the process of getting to know (as if that process ever stops, really).  A couple who moved here from another country only a couple years ago.  A couple whose journey has been agonizingly painful at times.

They shared some of the depth of that pain with us the other night, over cinnamon rolls and coffee.

I lost count of how many times my eyes teared up while I listened.

Thing is, it wasn’t easy for me at first to enter in to this conversation.  It made me squirm, y’all.  My need to fix and bring the right truth at the right moment — it kicked in and I found myself looking for opportunities to get my 2 cents in.

An hour or so into the conversation, our boy’s bedtime rolled around and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t chomping at the bit to go tuck him in and read him a slightly-longer-than-usual story.

Offering my honest presence to them last night resulted in:

1. Me feeling like I really got to know them, like I’ll remember details of their story.

2. Them feeling seen, heard, valued, known.

3. Me not only encountering them but encountering JESUS, discovering His process and pursuit of their hearts woven throughout the broken details of their story.

4. Me learning to trust God’s process with them, not try to quickly heal or fix their broken pieces, but seeing them as people-in-process, people under His care, seeing them as His responsibility, sensing His committment to them.  I came into faith in God’s commitment to them and out of fear that it was my responsibility to make something happen for them.

5. This allowed me to eventually speak into their hearts just a few key sentences, and you can tell when your words land deep.  When invested time and heart-discovering and story-holding have won you a place to speak the harder-to-hear truths and be truly heard and received.

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