• Dana L. Butler

In Which I Give Up. And Show Up.

It’s dinner time. I throw a frozen pizza in the oven, quickly chop and cook some asparagus because this day has been somethin’ else.

This, after opening the fridge and being dive bombed by a container of applesauce. Applesauce that, in a split second, covers my {new} shoe and the leg of my jeans and a large portion of my kitchen floor.

Stan takes over parenting duties after dinner and sends me to bed before 7 PM, because after mom-ing with a migraine most of the day, there’s not much else I can handle doing but depositing my pounding head on a pillow.

But as I lay here in my sweats while the sun’s still up and the kids are playing in the street outside my window, the nudge to write grows stronger. And stronger.

And I struggle over it. I wrestle with my own heart. I wrestle with the Lord.

I got the wind knocked right outta my writer-sails, y’all.

Several instances of less-than-positive feedback on my writing, back to back, and I found myself caught off guard. Deflated.

And not only that, but ashamed of how deeply I was affected by said feedback. How it shook my confidence. My feeling of “settledness” in my writing voice. My heart’s voice.

That was a little while back.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve gradually been trying to find my footing again. To allow some of what was shaken inside me to re-solidify.

To locate my lost confidence.

I still haven’t fully found it.

I question my style. I have all the words in the world to write, but how do I say them? How will they most deeply impact hearts? How can I write most authentically?

Do I wrap my heart in story? Because I can do that. Do I present my thoughts in a more practical, “teachy” format? I can do that too, though I fear coming off dry. If not too authoritative.

Also? I question my motives. Not whether they’re pure (at least not so much any more), but what I’m after.

I sift through all this uncertainty in my heart — why write? Who is it for? What are my goals? Where do I want to go? Where do I not want to go? Do I want more exposure as a writer? Or would I rather sit tight in my small, quiet-ish corner of the interwebs?

So many of those answers are still unclear.

Since I began writing intentionally nearly 2 years ago, I’ve moved from {over}confidently beginning to write a book, nearly completing a book proposal that likely would never have caught an agent’s eye (and I’m not down on myself, folks; that’s just my honest opinion of the utter lack of experience and knowledge of the publishing industry with which I began), to realizing my writing journey was way more about God’s excavation and awakening of my soul than any exterior plan or goal, to not knowing if I’ll ever write a book.


And I’m super okay with all the twists and turns of my writing journey thus far. I deeply trust God with my pace, my path, my purpose. But, like I said, I’m for sure a little *lot* short on confidence lately, and uncertain of my current direction.

My heart is full to exploding, though, with all God’s doing in and around me lately. And between all my wife-ing and mothering and coping with having our house on the market and navigating the trickiness of this surreal limbo season between Kansas City and Colorado — it’s my desire to share bits and pieces of those things here as I’m able

And this right here, y’all, right before your eyes, is an attempt to do that. To let you in on my right now. To not over-analyze my writing.

Because that, I think, is the number one thing that has been keeping me from sharing my heart in this space — the desire to do it just. right.

And I think I’m giving up on “just right.” As of this very second.

Y’all can hold me to it.

See, I have stories to tell here, and I don’t want perfectionism and fear to keep me paralyzed any longer.

I want to tell y’all how I’m learning to love our neighbors here in the inner city more freely than ever, finally, even as that For Sale sign sits in our front yard.

I want to tell y’all how blessed and drawn out and heard I felt the other night when our house church sat around our living room and received Stan’s and my hearts as we taught, tag-team style, on encountering Jesus in the midst of deep weakness. And how everything inside me jumped to life as we shared.

I want to tell y’all more about why this limbo season is a painful one for me, and how I’m experiencing the sufficiency of God’s grace even in the pain.

And? I want to tell y’all how Isaac decided to put a wooden spoon in the toilet today behind my back, and then pulled it out and used one of my adorable decorative towels to dry it off. And then announced the whole thing to me as if he thought I’d be thrilled about it. {!?!?}


Because that stuff matters too.

All that to say, I so value your companionship on this journey of self-discovery and voice-solidifying and soul-mining. Thank you for being here with me, friend.

And barring any further jarring of my writerly perspective, I’ll write some words again here soon. Direction or no direction. Just because it’s good for my heart and an important piece of my life’s art.

No more “just right.”

Just Dana.

Just showing up.

You can hold me to it.

Know someone who'd appreciate this?

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