• Dana L. Butler

On Living Unabashed {or a little more of me not holding back}


In case you hadn’t already noticed, I walk around these days with my guts hanging out.  Raw.

I wear my heart on my sleeve I guess and it’s a choice I’m learning to make daily, in the face of fear – to do life wide open and love and live and be free and loud and increasingly unabashed.  Before Him, and before those He’s placed in my life.

un·a·bashed

ˌənəˈbaSHt/  adjective

1. not embarrassed, disconcerted, or ashamed

We spent yesterday morning worshiping Jesus with our dearly loved church family.  I hugged hard and loved hard and sometimes I wonder how I keep myself from jumping through the ceiling during our worship time, y’all.  Especially lately.  My heart is full to exploding and despite pausing during worship to wrangle/coach/instruct/love on my kiddos every other minute or so, said full-to-exploding-ness oozes out of me, straight to His heart, and it’s unstoppable.

Speaking of oozing, my sweet friend Summer grabs me yesterday morning and says something like, “Girl, you are oozin’ and goozin’ lately!”  I’m not sure what goozin’ means but I think it has something to do with learning to let my true heart come out more and more —  authentic expressions of Jesus within me, coming out through the unique ways He’s shaped my soul.  I’ll take it.  I absolutely loved that she said that.

And suddenly felt incredibly vulnerable at the same time.

See, living like this is one heck of a crazy risk because when you’re choosing to do life wide open before Him and your heart’s a wreck of Jesus-adoration and lovesick gratitude mixed in with a zillion not yet fully identifiable emotions, you just can never quite be sure what’s going to come out.  What He’s going to put His finger on inside you in any given moment.  Or around whom it might surface.

But here’s the thing: I look back over my history, and over. and over. and over again–

He has shown Himself faithful.  He has proven utterly worthy of my ruthless, reckless, abandoned trust.

I’ve been through some kind of Holy Spirit School of Hard Knocks through my years, guys.  I’ve  loved hard and had my heart ripped out and I’ve begged and pleaded for miracles and not seen ’em.  {Or seen entirely different ones than the ones I cried out for.}

And I’ve learned that quite often when I’m asking my omnipotent God to break in and do something amazing and huge and save my day, what actually needs saving is some place deep inside my heart.  I ask for answers to my prayers within the realm of what I can see, but He answers within His realm of sight and He really does work all things together for the good of us who love Him.

I’ve had to redefine good over these years.

I’ve lost the daughter of my heart and I’ve lost babies and friendships and I’ve watched the story of my life shape up so differently than I would have wanted it written.

So what is our good?  Is it when God busts in with miraculous answers and the story’s script is written the way I hope?  Sometimes, yes.

But for me, good is more often found in leaning in to His heart when I can’t see His hand.  It’s found in encountering Him in the secret places of my unmet longings and desires and knowing His tender kindness to me in the midst of all that’s unfulfilled and unresolved and unanswered.

And I consider all things a loss for the sake of knowing You, Jesus (Phil. 3:8)…

For the sake of knowing Him.  

He unveils His heart to me, y’all.  Invites me to know Him in the moments of trauma and the midnight tears and the pain that thickens the atmosphere so much it hurts to breathe.

He’s been so. faithfully. present.  And it’s not like I can look back now and say, “Oh, this was why things didn’t turn out like I’d so desired.”  No, some pieces of my story still hang bent and broken, redemption not yet in sight.

But in all of it, I’ve learned to experience His tenderness toward me, to trust His weaving of hope in unseen places.

All things for my good.  To know Him in all things is my ultimate good.

And these days I’m re-learning ruthless trust from the angle of lying flat on my back on the operating table and surrendering to the Surgeon’s steady hand.  From the angle of crying Have your way — just have your way, Father and together we will forge this trail of trust and truth and tears into my deepest places, into the very core of me.

And at certain points along the journey He’ll turn to me, meet my gaze with the fierce fire of His commitment to my heart, and He’ll ask me again, “Do you trust me?  Do you trust me now, in this long-avoided room of your heart?  Do you trust me enough to let go of control of how you might be perceived if you say yes to me right now?”

And my entire life will scream my YES to Him, declare abandoned trust louder than the fear that wants to hold me back from full surrender.  From becoming who I most deeply am.

So we’ll uncover fear pockets in my depths and face them head on and we’ll smash lies together and I’ll prob’ly grow less dignified by the day, and You will have my whole heart, Father.  And by Your grace that satisfies and covers all my raw places, I will live wholehearted and full steam ahead before You.

Free to love hard and trust with abandon and live this raw, ruthless worship in the face of whatever may come.  Free to wrap words around my truest heart, to quit shutting up, to speak and impart and impact hearts.  Free to inhale perfect love, to exhale fire, to “ooze and gooze”  this unleashed living water.

Because the carving of Your hand inside me is trustworthy, and I belong to You.

Because I’m Your beloved, imperfect, in-process daughter, in whom You’re well pleased in the midst of the process.

Because I live before You alone.  Wide open. image credit

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