Button, Button Who’s Got the Button?

The moment will arrive when you are comfortable with who you are, and what you are– bald or old or fat or poor, successful or struggling when you don’t feel the need to apologize for anything or to deny anything. To be comfortable in your own skin is the beginning of strength. ~ Charles B. Handy

When I was little, I played a game called Button, button, who’s got the button? It was a rainy day, solve the mystery game. We would stand in a circle, holding our hands out in front, cupped together. There was one special person who was it.

The it person was given a button. He or she would step out of their spot, and begin walking around inside the circle, putting their hands in each persons hands. Somewhere along the way, they’d drop the button into a pair of hands while maintaining the ritual until they returned to their starting point. No one knew where the button was except for the it person and receiver.

Then, the it person would say: “Button, button, who’s got the button?” One by one, we’d go around the circle, taking our turn at guessing by saying: “Danny has the button!” etc..  until someone solved the mystery.

As I got older I experienced the evolution of The Button Game. In school, at work, in social gatherings, in church – everywhere – people were playing. There seems to be an it person in most circles, sometimes recognized by all. Sometimes known only to the receiver. The it player knows just what to do or say to push buttons.

Our grown-up version of Button, Button is a mystery I’ve been puzzling over. No one, except maybe the it person, seems to like the game, but still we play?

The mystery isn’t about the it person. It’s easy enough to push buttons if you’re paying attention at all. For the longest time, I thought the mystery of The Button Game was learning how to respond to the button pusher.

But I’ve come to believe that the real mystery is the fact that we’re all grown-up and still collecting buttons. Charles Handy says that to be comfortable in your own skin is the beginning of strength. That may well be. I don’t know.

I do know that being comfortable in your own skin is the beginning of grace. When my skin fits, I can quit playing, because it won’t have buttons.

Author: Debbie

A former counselor and public speaker, I'm grateful for many, many things - God's grace most of all!

20 thoughts on “Button, Button Who’s Got the Button?”

  1. Oh, truly a WOW, Sis!! And great comments from your smart readers, all growing in Grace–it’s just so good here. And I’m all for button-less skin–my fingers aren’t as nimble as they used to be! Love you, sis Caddo

    1. Dear FF Caddo –
      You would be the one to make me smile about my buttoning troubles.
      I have a good bit of arthritis in my hands (have had since I was 30). I’ll try to look at my hands and remember your words.
      Buttons are just too hard to handle!
      love to you, Sis!
      ~ Debbie

  2. Nice analogy. I don’t remember playing that game, at least not by that name, but I know there are some I still give permission to push those buttons. It doesn’t hurt, just annoys and causes an ugly response. I’m still growing into my grace clothes. 😀

    1. Debby –
      Oh, me too! 😀
      There are moments when I take some liberties with justification and call my reaction ‘natural and understandable’.
      Of course, what’s natural and understandable is almost always grace-less. 🙂
      I love learning from you,

  3. Gracious one, only you could see this the way you do and turn it into a lesson on His grace. I was told once (not sure if it’s scriptural ) to seek to be unoffendable . . .buttonless. I want that . . .but am not always there yet! I didn’t see the grace connection, but now do, thanks to you. For me, it always feels like a pride thing . . .a need to humble myself. I need lots of that. God bless you as you lay your buttons down and keep collecting grace! love and prayers – your ff the other deb

    1. Dear Deb –
      Seeking to be un-offendable – what a perfect way to put it.
      I think pride is at least a portion of all of our wrong responses.
      C.S. Lewis calls pride “The Great Sin”
      The Christians are right: it is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began. Other vices may sometimes bring people together: you may find good fellowship and jokes and friendliness among drunken people or unchaste people. But pride always means enmity – it is enmity. And not only enmity between man and man, but enmity to God. ~ Mere Christianity
      Thank you for adding this, Deb – indeed pride is a button I don’t wear proudly.
      grace and love to you,
      ~ Debbie

  4. Great Post! Pushing buttons or being pushed is never comfortable – striving to fit into my skin – His Grace is always sufficient and I need to stop and Be Still – knowing He is always there to rely on
    God Bless

  5. This speaks to me in SO many ways.

    Hi! What a great post! I have more and more days where i DO NOT feel the need to be this, that, or the other thing for ANYONE! I feel “bold” … or is it i feel like ME, and i feel free to speak like me, and act like me (without offending others, or pushing others’ buttons … or judging others) … just being me and feeling that i am OK.

    It is Grace. It is love … i don’t know EXACTLY what it is, but i LIKE IT!!! and i send love to you as always!!!!

    xo MEL

    1. Hello dear Mel!
      So good to have you back!
      Wow! Good for you! Your skin seems to be fitting really well! 😀
      That makes me so happy!
      Sending love right back at you!
      ~ Debbie

  6. The analogy here is thought provoking. I remember playing this game as a child. I never associated it with today’s environment, however, it fits as you have so “gracefully” pointed out.

  7. Debbie– Using your metaphor, I was quite fond of some of those buttons. Mostly I get them out when I’m hurt or when someone hurts those I love. The buttons only matter when I don’t want to admit to the accusations or I want to defend my reactions. As I lay down each of them, becoming comfortable with my short-comings and my wrong behaviors, I cannot be set off any longer. Because I’ve accepted His grace, the buttons will stay in my button box most of the time. If I choose to pick one up, I know where it belongs.

    For example, if someone says I’m hard-headed, selfish and opinionated, I can say to myself, “you’re so right.” God loves me just like I am and I know He’s in the process of removing those characteristics because I’m willing for Him to do it. The timing is His.

    It’s only when I deny my shortcomings, that I pick up the button and start playing the game. His grace is the only way I can be comfortable in this Irish-German skin!

    1. I think both of you are right. In the denial the buttons only get tighter and they can multiply, it’s tough to hold to that denial fact. Less pressure is needed to pop one too, whether from the outside or the inside. At times it can get to critical mass where only an internal twitch can send one flying. Stand back!
      I like the button box idea…..over time when the box is opened they will be a beautiful reminder of Gods grace and they will sparkle like diamonds.

      And yes when your skin fits you can quit playing that version of the game and play the grace game Debbie. Instead of trying to not give away to the others that the button is in your your hands you will be smiling because the button has just been given to you so you can extend grace.

      It is a process however, not just waiting until the whole skin fits. Speaking for myself.

      Great post Debbie! We played that game too. It always creeped me out a though to have someones warm hands sliding through mine. Eew.

      PS. Heidi you don’t scare me.

      1. Cathy– You’ve had 23 years to be scared off. Guess this is really a solid friendship. Thanks for being there.

      2. Hello Cathy!
        I agree with us both, too! 😉
        I think we’re saying the same thing, just typically wording it a little differently (you know how we are).

        “over time when the box is opened they will be a beautiful reminder of Gods grace and they will sparkle like diamonds.”
        What an intriguing thought! I like it very much. Reminders of grace and redemption!

        Sorry the game was creepy for you.
        I only played it a couple of times (I was usually alone and it doesn’t make for much of a one person game)…
        All I really remember was not wanting the button. I wasn’t shy when I was little so that’s kind of surprising.

        Thanks for your wonderful, thoughtful comments.
        Denial is a harsh task master.
        love and grace to you,
        ~ Debbie
        P.S. She doesn’t scare me anymore either, but she sure used to! 😉

    2. Heidi –
      Wonderfully put!
      I would consider it progress if my buttons were all in a box! 🙂
      I’m thinking I may still be wearing a few that blend in so well with my skin I can’t see them.
      As I become increasingly aware of my internal reactions, I can clearly see that it’s a garment of grace I long for.
      And yes,yes, you’re so right! He loves me like this and will make me like that, in His time!
      Thank you for your heart and your wisdom here.
      ~ Debbie

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