Unconditional Acceptance

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Unconditional Acceptance

Photo Credit: Tim Gouw on Unsplash

by Sharon Swing, Co-Author of Listen To My Life: Maps for Recognizing and Responding to God in My Story

I recently witnessed a conversation that was beautiful in its vulnerability.

The level of honesty was disarming and uncomfortable for the woman disclosing her story.  She began to repeatedly clear her throat. The listener spoke simple questions and observations, without judgment, that led to a deeper self-awareness for the speaker.

“I notice you sound irritated when you talk about your lack of progress.”

And later, “I notice you used words that sounded like you are comparing yourself to someone else.”

“What would it be like to disclose that you are fearful to your family?”

Long silences were interspersed with deeper disclosure.

A person’s soul came out of hiding, naming her fear, jealousy, and a pervasive and persistent amount of behavior relating to being stuck.

Pausing for the emotion that surfaced, the listener honored the significance of what was happening.

I kept thinking, “The truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)  “Keep it coming.”

The listener knew that the acceptance and silence opened a door toward something deeper, something beautiful, something healing.  He held open the space that allowed God to do His work in the soul of the listener.  I could imagine God saying, “I’m so glad you have come to a new level of awareness and honesty.  Now, I can do something with that!”  I got the sense that God had been wooing her toward an honest disclosure for quite some time.  I had the privilege of witnessing a person telling themselves the truth, and then telling it to God.  Some might call it confession.

I experienced, once again, the importance of The Guidelines for Listening in the Listen to My Life experience that include the concept of ‘unconditional acceptance.’ Curiosity won over judgment, and the paradox of ugly, beautiful truth emerged.  God trades secrets for healing, hope, courage and peace.

Questions To Ponder:

  • Feeling stuck?
  • Might there be a listener that can offer you unconditional acceptance to help you bring what has been hidden into the light?


“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1


Father thank you for the gift of love revealed when we listen well to one another.  Help me to listen with unconditional acceptance that opens doors of healing and hope.  Replace my judgment with curiosity.  Give me the courage to listen in deep ways that allow others to receive the gifts found in vulnerability.

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By | 2017-08-21T13:41:07+00:00 August 22, 2017|Categories: My Life Story, Why Your Story Matters|Tags: , , |1 Comment

About the Author:

Sharon Swing is an author, retreat leader, speaker, artist and consultant with interests in life story as a spiritual development tool, crafting experiences that give God space to do what he does best, art as a spiritual pathway, and change. With Sibyl Towner, she has co-authored Listen to My Life: Maps for Recognizing and Responding to God in My Story. For more information, visit ww.onelifemaps.com. She is an organization development consultant specializing in planning, meeting facilitation, leadership development and change management. For more information, visit www.swingconsulting.com.

One Comment

  1. Pat Briggs June 14, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Oh! I love, love, love your sentence that says “God trades secrets for healing, hope, courage and peace.” Amazing and healing..I have written it on an index card as a quote from Sharon and will treasure seeing it in the days ahead.

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