I have never been a real fan of the “Serenity Prayer” written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. The first statement is asking “God, to grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change”. Well, I don’t like the idea that I cannot change things. I like the idea that I can make whatever change I want to in my life.
“Courage to change the things I can..” I like this part of the serenity prayer because it talks about the things in life that we do have control over. Sometimes we feel stuck, but I have also learned, and I think you have too, that when we feel stuck, there is always something we can do to move forward. Sometimes, it takes effort to find the small steps we can take, but they are there.
I love the fact that he includes the word “courage” because it really does take courage to move forward when life is not going our way. In the end, it feels good to take control and move forward.
Do you have an area in life where you feel stuck and need to gather some courage to change? What small step can you take today to move forward?
“Grant me the serenity (peace) to accept the things I cannot change…” (I added the word “peace” because I can relate to it better.) I think we can all agree that we want our lives to be peaceful, but I have learned a hard lesson over the past few months. Striving, striving, and striving to change something I cannot, brings a lot of frustration and exhaustion, not peace.
The main way we learn, what we can and cannot change, is through experimenting. I think early in our lives the majority of us think deep down we can change other people. We try and try and eventually learn that we cannot make other people change. Life is one big learning lesson.
One huge part that we don’t want to miss is “grant me the serenity to accept…” Once we have learned that we do not have the control to change something in our lives, it is important to come to peace with it.
Is it time to accept areas in life that you cannot change? What are they and what can you do to bring peace into your life?
“And wisdom to know the difference.” I think wisdom tends to be a natural byproduct from trying something, then learning from the results. Gaining wisdom does take some effort. Have you ever been in a rut, trying the same things over and over again, but getting nowhere? It requires effort and courage to figure out what you have control to change and what you don’t. It takes courage to step out of your box and look at things from different perspectives. That is where we gain amazing wisdom.
Celebrate all that you have learned through the years. You have overcome many obstacles and gained much wisdom.
There is one last part of the quote that I have not address and that is how is starts “God”. God has been the difference maker in my life. When I feel stuck and do not know where to go, He always leads me when I ask Him (and many times when I don’t). There was a time in my life when I questioned His existence. I remember sitting at my kitchen table looking up and saying “I don’t even know if you exist, but if You do and I am headed in the wrong direction, please show me the right direction.” Looking back from that moment on, I have experienced His help every step of the way.
If you feel stuck, even if you have a hard time believing, ask God to help and He will show up.
Wisdom, courage, change, and serenity. Those are some pretty powerful words that I hope we can all embrace today. I think life will be so much better if we can!
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