Tuesday, July 9, 2013


When I was growing up, we had to clean the way my mom cleaned. If it wasn't done the exact way she would do it, we got in trouble.

Because that was my normal, I began to raise my kids in like manner. They had to clean the way I would do it or I would rant and rage and still nothing was solved.

One day, Holy Spirit asked me, "Is your objective for them to clean or to clean like you?" I want it clean, I replied. OK, but their clean isn't your clean because they are different than you.

It would be one of my first lessons in unconditional acceptance. Unconditional acceptance is the foundation of every healthy relationship. Unconditional acceptance says you get to be you and I get to be me. I'm not trying to change you to be like me. If you don't have the freedom to fully be you in a relationship, it's not healthy.

With that foundation in place, when we communicate, we do so from the goal of 1) protecting our intimate connection and 2) seeking to understand.

An intimate connection implies "into me you see" (intimacy). We are tied together by the sharing of our hearts. I get to see inside the real you because you feel safe enough to be vulnerable and transparent with me.

Understanding simply means I am afforded the opportunity to stand under your perspective. Because, remember, I'm different than you. I don't clean like you. I don't process like you. I don't see things the same way you do.

Just because I understand where you're coming from, doesn't necessarily mean I agree with you because...we're different. And inside a healthy relationship, agreement isn't expected because its not the goal.

I've learn now to really stop and listen with the goal of understanding. I love it when my husband says, I didn't see it that way or I didn't take it that way. It's a clue for me that an opportunity to seek understanding is right in front of me. To which I respond, "OK, tell me what you saw or tell me what you heard."

Often, like a puzzle taking shape, his perspective adds another layer of clarity to the full picture.

The lesson I've learned and one I feel compelled to break off and share: if I only teach my kids to do exactly what I've done, I will miss out on the best of who they are because I'll be excluding their uniqueness from the landscape of life. If I only listen with the goal of defending my position or getting someone to come into agreement with what I believe, I will miss out on the uniqueness of their perspective and what they bring to the table.

For today, put on the gift of understanding and give the gift of unconditional acceptance to those around you.

I bless your spirit to fully see the gifts that are in front of you and to behold the beauty that is His creation.

*creds to Danny Silk for his relationship series. It's shaped a lot of my perspective. www.lovingonpurpose.com