• Dana L. Butler

I Have Lizard Skillz, Part 2 [How To Give the Greatest Gift Possible]

Hi Friends!  Welcome to all, including those who are new-ish around here.  I am so, so happy to have you here!

Getting back on track today, after Monday’s totally unexpected pouring out of my deepest guts.  (And about that – I have to say – THANK YOU to all of you who commented, both here and on Facebook, expressing your sorrow and compassion.  I am moved and blessed by your prayers and support – for real.  Feelin’ the love, guys. Big time.) Thanks for tracking with me through the somewhat-intense waters of my most recent circumstances and my need to process.  Means so much to me.  

And now, back to your regularly scheduled NON-program.

So here’s the thing about this whole chameleonskillz/wearing-of-masks-in-order-to-be-accepted issue:

We think we’re doing what we need to do in order to please people, to ensure that they’ll like us. BUT… When we do this, we deprive people of the greatest gift we could ever give them: our true selves.  Our hearts.   My “One Word” for 2013 was Presence. 

Have you ever walked away from a conversation with someone and had this subtle [or not-so-subtle?] sense that they weren’t really listening?  Like they were going through the motions of listening but their brain, or their heart, was somewhere else?   If we’re perceptive at all, we notice when someone is not being truly present to us. Conversely, have you ever come away from a conversation with someone and felt seen?  Heard?  Valued? Validated?  Known? That person was giving you the gift of their genuine, authentic presence.  They were also, by default, giving you the gift of themselves.  Their honest attention.  Their true heart.  No masks.

There’s nothing sweeter or more life-giving than the exchange of our honest hearts, of our true selves. Whenever we whip out our chameleon super powers, whenever we’re even a little bit inauthentic, we are always at some level focused on who we think we need to be in a given situation instead of being totally focused on the person to whom we’re trying to be present.   When we wear masks, we withhold our genuine presence.  Our focus.  Our wholehearted listening and engaging and our holding well of their hearts and stories.   We also deprive them of the honest sharing of our own hearts.  We hold back.  We double and triple check things before we say them, afraid of offending people or being misunderstood.   We aren’t truly ourselves, because at a deep level, we aren’t trusting the Lord to protect our hearts. And we aren’t able to love those God puts before us well. The journey toward genuine authenticity is just that: A JOURNEY.  It’s not a concrete place where we can “arrive.”  It’s a continual growth process.  It’s a road that God invites us to walk, hand-in-hand with Him as He reveals to us our own hearts, our masks, and the areas in which He’s drawing us into a deeper place of trust and surrender. I say all of that to say this:  Please don’t be hard on yourself as you notice your masks. Don’t allow the enemy to come in and bring condemnation.  We all have masks.  I still have them.  I still default to wearing them if I’m not careful.   God doesn’t reveal to us our lack of authenticity because He’s upset or disappointed with us, but because He’s inviting us into deeper trust, and into a deeper settling-in to who He’s made us to be. He’s drawing us into a place of accepting at a deeper level what HE says about us, resting in the truth of who He says we are. It’s only when we are defined by Him, settled in who and how He’s made us, rooted and grounded in His love and delight over us in our core, that we can begin to authentically live out of that place.  Mask-free.   No more chameleon skillz necessary. Aren’t those chameleon moves exhausting to try to keep pulling off anyway?  Isn’t it so stinkin’ FREEING to just.  lay.  them.  down?! Workin’ on making this daily, hourly, minute-ly choice to lay them down right alongside you, friend. (Also workin’ on Part 3 to this miniseries. Hopefully will post on Friday. 🙂 ) Blessings to you all, really.  May you know His nearness, sense His protection over your heart, and live wildly alive and free, out of that place of trust in His love.

**You’ve found part 2 of my miniseries, I Have Lizard Skillz.   Click here to hop over to part 3 [Some Practicals, and How to Be Authentic Without Sharing Everything.]**

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