• Dana L. Butler

On Reaching Inward {and a request for your prayers}

I write again from the pre-dawn quiet of our tiny guest room. I grab my coffee, set a timer, and literally blast my first thoughts, without stopping, into the inviting pages of my journal.

10 minutes, Dana. Keep your hand moving. Go.

What comes out today when I make myself keep writing without taking breaks to over-analyze or control my thoughts is surprisingly in line with a prompt that showed up in my inbox yesterday via Story 101 – the writing class I’m taking through The Story Unfolding:

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Take some time today within the schedule you already pursue to ponder this reach and release. How can you incorporate it into your own rhythm of life? Working out, cleaning the kids’ rooms, doing laundry, researching for work: whatever it is you do, think of what it is you’re reaching toward and when you’re able, write about it. Put it in a blog post or share it with us on the Facebook page.

***

So I put pen to paper this morning and spill longing in ink and I realize — this is it. This is what I’m reaching toward.

I’m reaching into my core, longing to live fully out of that place. The place where my spirit is united with God’s. I in Him and He in me. Where my life is hid with Christ in God and Christ in me is my hope of glory. [Colossians 1:27, 3:3]

The place where I take my most tender, raw weakness, open it up to Him, and He presses His scars over my own.

Where He calls me complete, and in Him, I am.  At my absolute weakest, I’m made so supernaturally whole that who I most deeply am can come out freely, unrepressed.

He reminds me this morning that in my center, I am His and He is mine. I’m wrapped up in Him, and He’s wrapped up in me.

That He came, desiring to make His home in me, to give unhindered expression to His holy heart through the package of my flawed humanity.

Because He deeply desires intimate friendship with me. Because He loves partnering with me. Because He actually delights in my humanity — in the unique ways He’s shaped my soul, the ways His own heart can be uniquely expressed through mine.

And these whispered truths come between sips of coffee — that when all my layers are peeled back — first body, then soul, soul, soul, and more soul — when my spirit is finally exposed, there He is.  

That in my very core, I’ve been made one with Him. [1 Corinthians 6:17]

Hear me – it’s not that I AM Him, but that my human spirit is so intertwined with His Holy Spirit that lines are blurred — there’s no telling where He ends and I begin.

My soul is still in process with Him and sanctification is a lifelong journey. But in my spirit, I’m made holy. In my deepest places, I have unbroken union and communion with God because of Christ’s work on the cross.

And when my mind, will, and emotions line up with what’s happening in my spirit, that union and communion with Him permeate and transform the nitty-gritty reality of my day-to-day life.

So my reach today is to live out of that place. To live defined by Him and affirmed by Him. All my identity drawn from His redemption of my life, His affection poured over my heart.

My reach is for all my running around, my craving and grasping for human approval, to be calmed, quieted, satisfied by His piercing whisper: I see who you are, Dana. You are enough.

The place where my truest identity is birthed from holy intimacy.

The sun peeks over the horizon now. The birds begin to sing their morning songs outside the guest room window, and how I long to be made new from the inside out. For the satisfaction in God that perpetually swells in my spirit to ever make its way outward, mystically and practically impacting every facet of my life.

That I would live the cry, all my fountains are in You [Psalm 87:7].

Even today, may my very life be a prayer, a stretching deep into my core, tapping into this holy Well inside me. Learning to live more rooted. More resourced by Him. And reaching to more fully grasp my soul’s own shape, to know myself in Him and His heart in mine still more intimately. To give unhindered expression to all He’s put inside me.

Because this is how I was created to live — Living Water gushing forth, life springing up around everything my heart touches.

*****

Asking for your prayers:

This Thursday I will be hopping a plane to Denver, CO, and then Friday afternoon will be leaving Denver to head up into the mountains with some precious ladies for the weekend. I will be leading worship for a women’s retreat and my prayer for them, for us, is simply that God will be tangibly present, that He’ll touch, soften, and awaken hearts. That dry bones will rise and live and dance. That we will be drawn to trust Jesus with places in our hearts that we’ve been afraid to surrender to His love.

For me, my primary prayer is that my heart {and voice and fingers} will be unlocked, unafraid, and unrestrained before Him. That Jesus will have complete freedom to express His heart through me however He chooses. I’d also love prayer for my incredible husband and kiddos as they’ll be here at home while I’m gone — that their time together will be fun and their hearts will be peaceful.

Thank you so much for standing with me, my friends. I carry y’all in my heart as such an integral piece of my journey with God. You are dear to me.

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