• Dana L. Butler

Regarding Big Dreams and Heart-Priorities {What I’ve Learned in 1 Year of Blogging: Part 2}

Hola my friends!  This is Part 2 of What I’ve Discovered in 1 Year of {serious} Blogging {the series}.  

If you’ve missed part of the series, you can find the rest here:

Introduction to the Series (Why Am I Writing this Series, Anyway?)

Part 1: How the Gospel Changes our Experience of the Blogosphere

And NOW:

A Bit of Background

Last August, I began {seriously} blogging and exploring the “Christian Blogosphere.”

In the Fall of 2012, all God had been rearranging inside me during the year prior began to fit together in my heart like pieces of a puzzle.  For the first time in my life, I began to consider writing a book.

Months passed, and the idea wouldn’t let go of me.  I came to the conclusion that it was indeed God who had dropped the notion into my heart, so in December I began writing.

And suddenly, I was passionate about it.

My husband Stan was super supportive and excited about my writing.  I worked on my book faithfully for months in addition to continuing to blog regularly.

And then?

Enter beautiful new baby girl.

Maia came into our family (via an amazing open adoption) in June.

Since then, I’ve put the book on hold, but it’s definitely still in my heart and I plan to pick it up again in the not-too-distant future.

I am, however, still working very intentionally on developing my blog.

The Trap that Still Snags Me

Now obviously, in this season of being so focused on writing, my obligations to my family haven’t let up.

I’m still a wife and a mom and have a home and hearts to steward.  Not to mention a church family with whom it’s our heart to pursue authentic community.

And when it comes to juggling all these values?  I can outwardly appear to have it fairly together.

My kids are bathed.  My family’s not eating TV dinners or frozen pizza.  [Okay, so maybe frozen pizza’s not totally out of the question. Sometimes.]

I’m reading books to my son and we’re coloring and gluing and bouncing around on the trampoline- and I’m spending quality time with my husband and goo-ing and gah-ing with my sweet baby girl and we’re offering hospitality to others regularly.

But in all of this priority-wrangling, there’s a dangerous trap that still snags me occasionally:  It’s the trap of fulfilling outward obligations but with under-the-surface heart-priorities that are still out of order.

And perhaps the reason this trap is so dangerous is that it can be so. subtle.

I’ll be honest here friends:  There have been days I’ve been so focused on pursuing my writing-related dreams that I’ve found myself slowly starting to view my home and my family as tasks that must be completed so I can get to a place where I can write.  As mere obligations that delay my fulfillment.  That get in the way of my pursuing what I’m really passionate about.

Being so stirred up inside with so many ideas, and feeling so called to this writing-thing, it’s easy for these dreams to consume my thought life so much that I struggle to be genuinely present to my family.  

Emotionally and mentally present, not just physically here.  

To be genuinely engaged with their hearts.

And when this happens, I know something’s out of whack in my heart.

Subtle Lies

When my heart-priorities slip out of order, there are a couple of core lies I’m believing:

“God is really going to meet me- or really going to use me for His Kingdom- or really going to fulfill me- when I get this book written, or when my readership reaches a certain size, or _______.  My life is less significant if I’m not accomplishing ______.”

I have a feeling I’m not alone in this struggle, and my goodness- these lies can sneak in so subtly sometimes!

But friend, here’s the truth, and I find I daily need to press into this.  To spend time sitting before the Lord, allowing His perspective to penetrate deep into my heart:


In the Kingdom.

In the sight of God.

And His perspective is the one that counts.

Your simply seeking the face of Jesus?  Your housekeeping and your pouring into your children and your loving pursuit of your husband?  Your faithful service at your place of employment?  Your caring for your ill relative?  Your doing Kingdom community and loving the lost alongside your church family?

If that stuff is all you ever accomplish- in the Kingdom, IT IS BIG.  

Satisfied By Him In the Right Now

And friend?  The right now of our lives is where Jesus is waiting to encounter us.  

Not once we get through all these dishes so we can sit and write or pray and feel spiritual.

No, He’s waiting IN the dishes.  And IN the pile of paperwork or the office meeting or the stack of college books or preschool books waiting to be read aloud.  He’s IN the sweeping of the floor and the heart-to-heart moments with our husbands and the taking time to play board games with our families.

As we do those things unto Him, choosing to be genuinely present and engagedwe will find Him in the midst of it, waiting to encounter us.  And we’ll find ourselves being deeply fulfilled by Him, in the midst of all that day-to-day-life stuff.

Because if we’re not satisfied and fulfilled by Him in the day-to-day, in the right now, we won’t be satisfied after we reach our God-sized-dream-goals either.

And then- when our heart-priorities are in order-  God’s also IN the taking time to sit and write and develop our blogs or work on our books and pursue those dreams He’s placed in our hearts.  We’ll experience Him and encounter His heart and His grace in our writing- instead of trying to push forward toward our goals in our own strength.

So when my kids are napping or my hubby [bless his amazing heart] sends me out to a coffee shop to write?  I’m all in.  Holding nothing back.  Focusing on seeking God’s heart and pursuing this dream-calling-passion with everything I’ve got.

My number 1 God-sized dream though?  It’s that my home would be a refuge.  That my family would be fully alive and well-loved and cared-for and wide-open-hearted toward one another.

That I would fulfill my role of wife/mom/homemaker with wholehearted, present, engaged, joy-filled excellence.  Not just “getting through it” so I can do my “real” calling or passion.  [Ooooh, I shudder.]

Because lovingly serving and engaging my family is the life God’s put before me, and it’s where He wants to fulfill me, and I want to live this stuff out well, y’all.

Wholehearted.  Expecting to encounter Him in the day-to-day as I embrace the right now of my life.

Honoring God, deeply fulfilled on the inside, priorities in order.

Not just in how I spend my time, but down to my very core.

Father, I confess my need for You as I try to wholeheartedly live the life You’ve given me.  I still feel so prone to weakness in these areas.  I need Your grace.  I can only live like this through You who give me strength.   And Jesus, YOU satisfy my heart.  Be continually before my eyes, Lord.  In the day-in, day-out stuff of my life- make me aware of Your nearness and Your commitment to fulfill me through-and-through.  It’s only as I trust You to deeply fulfill me that I can let go of my striving and pursue these things out of a place of rest. So I trust You.  I rest in You. Be glorified in the way I live my life, Jesus.


{In this post I talked a lot about the idea of presence.  Presence was my “one word” for 2013, and I wrote a post about it back in January.  It’s a really great companion post to this one- and it’s right here. 🙂 }

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Linking this post up over at the Better Mom today!

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