"God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference."
The definition of serenity is being peaceful, calm and untroubled. Many many people have been encouraged and comforted by the words of this prayer. Asking God to help me accept the things I cannot change is huge! How many things in my life am I unable to change? I cannot change the fact that our new foster baby is blind or has major medical issues. I cannot change my friend's diagnosis of breast cancer. Those things I must leave with God and accept His peace in exchange.
The prayer then reminds us to change the things we can. This is important because we can become very despondent if we get stuck on the things we cannot change. There are so many things we have no control of. Even when leaving it at the foot of the Cross and embracing God's peace, it is peace within sorrow. But if we accept His courage to change the things we can, oh the joy in that place! I cannot change our baby's medical issues, but I can be a tender caregiver and hold and comfort her. I can help her develop to her full potential and embrace the life she has been given. I cannot change my friend's diagnosis of breast cancer, but I can be a shoulder to cry on, a meal maker and a prayer warrior on her behalf.
And, as the prayer says, we need the wisdom to know the difference between the things we can change and the things we can't. This can certainly be a challenge! Sometimes we can get stuck trying to change things we simply cannot change. We tell ourselves that if we try harder or do things differently we can change the outcome. Sometimes, many times, this has to do with the personality or behaviors of another person (parents, spouse, siblings, children), but we cannot change them, they have their own choices to make. We can encourage them, we can even force them to obey, but we cannot force a change of heart.
This is a powerful prayer, but there is more!
"Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
I LOVE the second part of this prayer. I hadn't seen it until just a few months ago. What encouragement. Remembering to live in the present, moment by moment, instead of living in the worlds of "what if" or "if only" is powerful. Encouraging us to do something polar opposite to what the world recommends by accepting hardships as the pathway to peace! We are told over and over that hardships mean we're doing something wrong. We are told that hardships are bad with no benefit or reward. We are challenged to find that mountain top experience and cling to it and to do whatever makes us feel good. But that "feel good" is usually temporary and superficial. If we are willing to accept the hardships then we can more fully embrace the good.
The struggles we face are called hardships on purpose, THEY ARE HARD! We live in a fallen world with fallen people. Life is hard, but God is good!
May the peace of Christ be with you today!!!