• Dana L. Butler

What Happens When I Don’t Hold Back


I’ve tried twice in the last week to sit down and write a newsletter because y’all, this crazy thing is happening lately.  My newsletter email list is growing by the day.


I’m doing nothing to promote or publicize it and yet I get these daily emails from MailChimp telling me I have new subscribers.  Not to my blog, but to my newsletter.

And I’m thoroughly confused by it.  Thankful — don’t get me wrong — but confused.  I don’t know where you’re all coming from, but if you’re reading this and you’ve recently subscribed to my newsletter, welcome.  I’m sincerely blessed by your trust.

So I sit down to write a newsletter and I pour out my disorganized guts into my MailChimp newsletter template and I quit mid-thought because I don’t like how my words are coming out.

I try again.  Same song, second verse.

What gives?

I don’t know if I feel pressure to “produce” a newsletter since it’s supposed to go out monthly and I haven’t written one since November, or — and this is more likely, I think — if the problem lies in this dilemma of how the heck do you wrap words around this crazy undignified fire that burns inside me these days?

So I try, and I quit.  And I try again, and I quit.

And I curl up into sort of a ball before the Lord, holding my aching, longing heart wide open and just kind of bleeding before Him.

I tell Him I don’t know what to do with this — this fiery desire for Him that threatens to consume me utterly — tell Him if I can’t find words to articulate it I think I might go certifiable.

I tell Him I want to fling this wild trust and longing all over everyone, like living water from my depths.  Beg Him for the anointing to impart this to others somehow — that when they hear me or read me or witness my life, Dana’ll fade into the background and they’ll be awakened to His heart, how it burns with desire for them.  That they’ll be left captivated and consumed, longing and aching because there’s nothing in or outside of this world that’s sweeter than to hunger for Him, to crave deeper surrender, to trust His heart so much that you fling your own wide open and just beg Him to come in and take His Surgeon’s knife and have His way.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. -Matt. 5:6

He desires to form Himself in us and no matter how painful the forming or how fierce the longing, the aching is sweet because He comes and fills.  And satisfies.

And entrusts more hunger.  Leaves me lovesick.

And what was that verse about fire in someone’s bones?  Wasn’t that Jeremiah?  I Google it and my hands go all weak and shaky as these words resonate in my own burning bones:

If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. -Jer. 20:9

Because y’all, for way too long I’ve tried to shut up and calm down and tone it down and I think I’ve somewhat succeeded.

But when I have, fear has won.  I’ve only been half alive.

And this whole freedom word and all His moving and breathing on the steadily growing flicker in my heart — I don’t think I know how to tone all of this down any longer.  Not and live alive.  Not and be who I was made to be.

I struggle not to be embarrassed by the ferocity of my response to His tenderness, by the depth of my love and longing for Him, by how intense and how messy it wants to explode in my words and my life.  And part of me’s still afraid of being labeled too emotional, of making someone uncomfortable, but anymore, I don’t know how not to throw dignity to the wind and love Him good and loud.  Because what He’s doing inside me is loud and it is all-consuming.  More so by the day actually, and I just. don’t. think. I. can. hold. it. in.


So I move through my days and change diapers and fold laundry and breathe prayers of desire for Him.  I offer my attentive, wholehearted presence to my little crew {and thereby to Him}, and the lyrics of worship songs roll around in my heart.  I’m captivated by “there’s no end to the affection You have for me”.  (<– You should really consider clicking that and taking a minute with it.)

I’m wrecked by the infinity that is His desire for intimacy.  By the way He positions His heart to be moved by my love.  Wrecked through and through.

My boy watches me curious as I pace my kitchen, holding my baby girl and singing my guts out before Him because I can’t help but adore Him for how He loves me, how He moves me.  Can’t help but let adoration and this rapidly advancing fire pervade every inch of my imperfect life.

And all my trying harder and working on it and I’ll do better — they’re falling away because when Perfect Love wins your heart, when it just absolutely ravishes you and won’t let you go, the heart-cry of your entire life becomes HOLY, WORTHY GOD! and how can you not live worship and ooze extravagant obedience from the very core of who you are?

I’m by no means saying I’ve arrived and I’ll always be in process with Him but never have I so longed to be fully possessed by Him, to live wholeheartedly surrendered to my Tender King.


And as much as the piece of my heart that craves approval and fears opinions wants to rear its ugly head right now, with my love laid bare, and apologize for being so “dramatic?”  And as much as I fear the voices of “I don’t even know what to do with these words — they’re so intense,” I think I’m going to clock fear on the head like that old game at Chuck E. Cheese — the one where the prairie dogs or alligators or whatever the heck they are keep sticking their heads out and you just bop ’em and bop ’em till they quit trying any longer.

And you win.

Or the Consuming-Fire-God inside you wins.

Has already won.

So Jesus, just please come and fully have your way, and I will lay here on the holy operating table of my life, and I will pulse with this lovesick aching for you and you can tenderly, fiercely carve every last bit of fear out of my heart and I will be all yours.

Oh God, forever and ever.

And I won’t hold back any more.  I’ll be free.

image credit

{Linking this post up with Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory.}

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