Becoming a Different Kind of Small


My kids nap peacefully on Tuesday afternoon, and I catch up on a couple of Voxer conversations with dear friends. I meander for a moment onto Facebook, where I find that one of those friends has written a new blog post, so I grab a cup of coffee and hop over to read her heart, and it resonates profoundly with my current journey.

It’s funny how interwoven our interior processes are, all of us.

We belong to each other. It’s the theme of my existence of late, it seems. Jesus whispers it inside me again and again.

He is waking me up, y’all. Shaking my eyes open to all the ways I was made for humble community with humanity.

With those who know Jesus, and those who don’t. With those whose theology matches my own, crossed ‘t’ for dotted ‘i,’ and those with whom differences are many and varied.

And those in the latter category — I’m learning to sit quiet in their presence and let Jesus expand me inside.

More and more these days, I am seeing the ways I’ve been small-minded. The ways I’ve presumed to offer answers to the world, and in doing so missed the heart of the One who is the truest Answer-with-a-capital-‘A’, but who sometimes shows up as the Answer in ways and people and places where my eyes haven’t been open to discover Him.

He is opening my eyes though, and humbling my heart, and the more open and humble I grow, the more I realize how far I have to go.

So I’m contemplating lately how I want to relate to my fellow humans. More specifically, I’m turning over and over in my heart the disposition with which I want to re-enter our church family in Colorado.

And the idea that rolls around in my mind over and over again is a different kind of small. 

Not small-minded this time, but small in the presence of others.

Small as in: I want to receive from you, to draw you out. I want to have a hand in mining the treasure and unearthing the fire in your deep places. I want to learn from you, to be a place of welcome for your heart and your story.

Small as in: I have much to gain in inviting you to bring your truest heart to bear upon my own.

Small as in: I have no need to transform you into a project or fix your broken places in order to bolster my personal sense of identity or purpose or security in my role in advancing the Kingdom of God.

And although the two might be easily confused, what I am not talking about here is donning a cloak of false humility that denies the value of my own heart or wisdom or life experience. I am by no means suggesting I don’t have insight or truth to offer those Jesus will put before me.

But where a few years ago might have found me poised to heroically swoop in and save the day — or try to — the right-now version of Dana is hoping to tread so much more softly. Confidently, yes, but also tentatively.

To offer myself primarily as a listener and an asker of questions, as a quiet witness to sacred journeys, to the spiritual birthing processes of those whose paths my life will cross.

Part of me is terrified to tell you this, because now that I’ve put it out there, what if when I mess up? What happens when I talk too much and don’t listen like I long to and I slip into having all the answers you need? {<–Insert superhero pose here.}

Eeep! I am weakness-prone. Pride-prone. Proving-myself-prone.

But I wholly believe it’s God’s grace that’s leading my heart in the direction of humility, and I am forced as I embrace this process to lean into Grace even harder. What He begins, He is committed to. I’m thankful. And oh, am I ever counting on that commitment to this process.

And with my baby girl awakening from her afternoon snooze and beginning to chatter in the baby monitor, I’m finding the need to draw these thoughts to a close, and I’m not sure I have an eloquent way to do that today.

So I’m thanking you for grace, and I’m going now to be small in the presence of the little people who’re right here before me this day, and everyday. Because I’m thinking this is where it counts the most — as I let Him shape my heart through them.

Much love to y’all today, my friends. I am grateful for you, for our linked arms and intertwined journeys into the heart of God.

PS. Sharing this post with my friends in Lisha and Kelli’s communities.

This entry was posted in Attending to His Presence, Community, Ministry, misc. walking with Jesus, Parenting, Presence, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Becoming a Different Kind of Small

  1. Tina Evans says:

    This walking beside another soul on their journey to find and heal and grow is my hearts deepest desire too. I have been praying and asking God to show me how exactly He wants this from me but I know in His own time, when He feels I am ready, He will show me. It’s about how to be completely unselfish, like Jesus, in order to walk witht another soul to their own heart connection. Love you friend for voicing this incredibly vulnerable desire. It is out of this voicing that I truly believe your hearts desire will be met. <3

    • danalynnb says:

      Tina – you caught my free-falling heart this afternoon when I was absolutely reeling from the vulnerability of this post. And not only did you catch it, but you acknowledged said vulnerability. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your words here were such a gift. And I pray you’re right – that He’ll meet this desire. For me, and for you, too. He will. Love you, sister.

  2. Tara says:

    Yes! Let’s all work towards this. And yes we are prone to making mistakes but God’s grace is such a beautiful gift. I feel your words have always welcomed me hear; that you have heard my story and still welcome me in. I too am thankful to walk this journey together!!! Love ya friend!!

    • danalynnb says:

      Tara, yes, let’s. And I am so, so thankful that you’ve felt welcomed here. Indeed – you are. Very. Much love, sister!

  3. wait. a. second. you wrote all that beautiful TRUTH in a single nap time today?! dang, girl.

    (psst…i’m so glad we’re woven together, darlin’.)

    • danalynnb says:

      Um… yes, I sort of did. But actually it was more like I sat down and my heart went kablooey all over the screen. And I’m so glad for that too, my friend. And so thankful. I love you.

  4. oh, funny! i just went to Facebook to click on the link you had sent me…and it’s the same post i just read.

    let’s keep walking this small road together…it’s not easy on our own, eh? remind me all the time. okay?
    Erika Morrison recently posted…all i want for christmas is…USMy Profile

    • danalynnb says:

      Haha – yup – this would be it. I don’t have words for how thankful I am for your friendship – for the way you walk beside and teach and impart to me without even trying. And yes – let’s do this together. I’ll remind you if you’ll remind me…. <3

  5. Yes, Jesus, make me smaller. The world is filled with small ideas, right? But your post reminded me that when I make myself small in the humble way you described, God expands my world to become gigantic.

    My contribution to His kingdom is throwing those doors wide open and making Him big through my small acts of faithfulness.

    Be blessed, Dana. You did a great job with this post.

    • danalynnb says:

      Hi, Shannon! Yes, He SO expands us as we choose smallness in this way. You worded that so well. Blessed by your presence here – thank you.

  6. Amy says:

    Oh Dana~ this is the season I am in, too. Yes~ we need each other. Thank you for these beautiful words. They spoke straight to my heart this morning.. “— I’m learning to sit quiet in their presence and let Jesus expand me inside.”

    • danalynnb says:

      Those words – I can’t tell you how that idea moves me these days, Amy. The idea of sitting quiet in the presence of one who I would previously have considered someone who “needed” what I had to give, and letting Him simply expand my heart… Oh Jesus, grace for my arrogance.

      Anyway – thanks for being here, my friend. Love you. :) xo

  7. martha brady says:

    thanks for your great post dana:) i’m your next door neighbor at Lisha’s. nice to meet you:) your comments about being humble and small reminded me of philippians 2, early in the chapter. about what jesus did when He ame to earth!

    we so underestimate the power of “small” don’t we? look what Jesus did with small? only 12 men. on 5 loaves/2fish. just a handfull of followers. that became His Church in the world! wow!
    martha brady recently posted…MY PEACE I LEAVE WITH YOU…My Profile

    • danalynnb says:

      Hey there, neighbor! It is so nice to meet you — I’m thrilled to have you here. I LOVE that passage in Philippians – I so want to live with that heart. And yes… look what Jesus did with small. Small is so un-small to Him, eh? Many blessings to you, Martha.

  8. I’ve had humility on my mind much lately and your post gives me more food for thought.
    Elizabeth Stewart recently posted…Peace, be still…My Profile

    • danalynnb says:

      Mmmm… humility. Such a tender invitation from Jesus in the contemplating of that idea. So thankful these words contributed to your conversation with Him… Blessings to you, Elizabeth!

  9. Joanne Viola says:

    Beautiful post, Dana! This is what spoke to me >>> “The ways I’ve presumed to offer answers to the world, and in doing so missed the heart of the One who is the truest Answer-with-a-capital-’A’.” For me, I don’t often presume to have answers as I recognize these days{notice I said these days as this has not always been the case} that I truly don’t hold all the answers. But others come thinking I have all the answers. Even then, may I not feel like I need to give them an answer but instead point them to the only One who does & let them seek Him for themselves. I don’t want to give them an answer. I want to point them to The Answer. I am so glad your kids napped & gave you time to get these words down to share with us all! Blessings!
    Joanne Viola recently posted…Jesus Christ-Still IsMy Profile

    • danalynnb says:

      YES to often not giving answers and coming before Jesus together to see HIS heart over a situation. I want to point others to THE Answer, also. Much love to you, Joanne.

  10. You’re all heart Dana. Reading your words… how they work their way in and through my own is a gift. I’m so glad I stopped by today.
    Lisha Epperson recently posted…Give Me Grace : In Which I Take a Walk to Find My Way HomeMy Profile

  11. Joe Pote says:

    “To offer myself primarily as a listener and an asker of questions, as a quiet witness to sacred journeys, to the spiritual birthing processes of those whose paths my life will cross.”

    Yes…that! That’s what I want.

    …because any wisdom I may have to share will only take root as the Holy Spirit minusters to their heart, anyway…

    I’m just a sower broadcasting seed…and praying God will bring some to fruition…

    Thanks for sharing this, Dana!
    Joe Pote recently posted…Abuser ProtectionMy Profile

  12. Natalie says:

    I’m a “relocator” and I so admire the way you are considering your reentry into your church family after your move, especially the lovely way you are framing it all. You stirred me to think and I always love that. Thanks.
    Natalie recently posted…Before It Blows AwayMy Profile

  13. Your version of ‘small’ sounds like my version of ‘open’ – more room for others, a flexibility possible only because of a deep rootedness. Thanks for linking up, Dana, with Unforced Rhythms and blessings as your move draws near!
    Kelly Chripczuk recently posted…Tell Me Again (of shadows and faith)My Profile

  14. Amber C. says:

    Oh yes. Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times, yes. I agree with Kelly, this version of small sounds like an openness, an open-ing of yourself to expand, and this is soooo beautiful. I love how “we belong to each other” – I’ve been feeling this, too. How our words and hearts and posts can weave in and out in rhythms together. I’m there, too, desiring more to embrace our shared humanity, to sit and listen and learn from our differences and our sameness, not bogged down in many of the particulars that in the end, I think, will be blown away like dust.

    I really, really hope to sit and hear you one day, friend. To know you, even for a few moments, face to face. I love your heart.
    Amber C. recently posted…Five-minute Friday: StillMy Profile

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