• Dana L. Butler

Becoming a Different Kind of Small


My kids nap peacefully on Tuesday afternoon, and I catch up on a couple of Voxer conversations with dear friends. I meander for a moment onto Facebook, where I find that one of those friends has written a new blog post, so I grab a cup of coffee and hop over to read her heart, and it resonates profoundly with my current journey.

It’s funny how interwoven our interior processes are, all of us.

We belong to each other. It’s the theme of my existence of late, it seems. Jesus whispers it inside me again and again.

He is waking me up, y’all. Shaking my eyes open to all the ways I was made for humble community with humanity.

With those who know Jesus, and those who don’t. With those whose theology matches my own, crossed ‘t’ for dotted ‘i,’ and those with whom differences are many and varied.

And those in the latter category — I’m learning to sit quiet in their presence and let Jesus expand me inside.

More and more these days, I am seeing the ways I’ve been small-minded. The ways I’ve presumed to offer answers to the world, and in doing so missed the heart of the One who is the truest Answer-with-a-capital-‘A’, but who sometimes shows up as the Answer in ways and people and places where my eyes haven’t been open to discover Him.

He is opening my eyes though, and humbling my heart, and the more open and humble I grow, the more I realize how far I have to go.

So I’m contemplating lately how I want to relate to my fellow humans. More specifically, I’m turning over and over in my heart the disposition with which I want to re-enter our church family in Colorado.

And the idea that rolls around in my mind over and over again is a different kind of small. 

Not small-minded this time, but small in the presence of others.

Small as in: I want to receive from you, to draw you out. I want to have a hand in mining the treasure and unearthing the fire in your deep places. I want to learn from you, to be a place of welcome for your heart and your story.

Small as in: I have much to gain in inviting you to bring your truest heart to bear upon my own.

Small as in: I have no need to transform you into a project or fix your broken places in order to bolster my personal sense of identity or purpose or security in my role in advancing the Kingdom of God.

And although the two might be easily confused, what I am not talking about here is donning a cloak of false humility that denies the value of my own heart or wisdom or life experience. I am by no means suggesting I don’t have insight or truth to offer those Jesus will put before me.

But where a few years ago might have found me poised to heroically swoop in and save the day — or try to — the right-now version of Dana is hoping to tread so much more softly. Confidently, yes, but also tentatively.

To offer myself primarily as a listener and an asker of questions, as a quiet witness to sacred journeys, to the spiritual birthing processes of those whose paths my life will cross.

Part of me is terrified to tell you this, because now that I’ve put it out there, what if when I mess up? What happens when I talk too much and don’t listen like I long to and I slip into having all the answers you need? {<–Insert superhero pose here.}

Eeep! I am weakness-prone. Pride-prone. Proving-myself-prone.

But I wholly believe it’s God’s grace that’s leading my heart in the direction of humility, and I am forced as I embrace this process to lean into Grace even harder. What He begins, He is committed to. I’m thankful. And oh, am I ever counting on that commitment to this process.

And with my baby girl awakening from her afternoon snooze and beginning to chatter in the baby monitor, I’m finding the need to draw these thoughts to a close, and I’m not sure I have an eloquent way to do that today.

So I’m thanking you for grace, and I’m going now to be small in the presence of the little people who’re right here before me this day, and everyday. Because I’m thinking this is where it counts the most — as I let Him shape my heart through them.

Much love to y’all today, my friends. I am grateful for you, for our linked arms and intertwined journeys into the heart of God.

PS. Sharing this post with my friends in Lisha and Kelli’s communities.

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