God, grant me the serenity to accept the the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
Most of us have heard the "Serenity Prayer," some of us more than others. It is stated by many people going through tough times, and it has helped many people. It came to my mind yesterday, and it stayed on my mind all day.
There are many things about our every day lives that we don't particularly like. The thing is, most of those things are completely out of our control. But those are the things we choose to focus on and the fact that they don't change makes us miserable. There are MANY "unchangeable" things. Why do we think we can change them?
I know in my life, there are things that really get me going...you know, things that get me riled up and make me want to fight to change them. If they would just do it MY WAY...they would see how much better things would be, right? I spend a lot of my time, energy and brain power thinking about those things, talking about them...all in the guise that I can CHANGE the situation and make myself and everyone around me happier...what a great life it would be!!!
The thing is...with almost all of those things...I have absolutely no power to change them. And I find myself emotionally, physically and spiritually drained when realize it hasn't and won't change, even through all my hard-fought efforts. And besides, there are probably things that I don't know or don't understand about the situation. "My way" probably wouldn't work anyway!
Don't get me wrong, there are times when we see something that is wrong, say someone is doing something to hurt someone else, or someone is in need...there are times when our efforts, our thinking and our time IS worth it and we CAN change the situation. As the Serenity Prayer says, we need the wisdom to know the difference.
I have wisdom inside of me that does know the difference...I have confidence that God lives within me and speaks that wisdom to me. The key is to LISTEN to that voice. Just yesterday, I found myself getting all riled up...just CERTAIN that I was right and everyone else was wrong. But finally, when I pulled myself out of the situation and LISTENED...I heard a small voice inside me say "Give it up and move on!" I realized that there really are unchangeable things, and getting riled up does nothing but raise my blood pressure and make me unhappy.
THAT is what I CAN change...my attitude about the unchangeable things in my life. Probably, I will never like those things...they will continue to bug me...but they don't have to make me unhappy...THAT I can change. I can adapt my life to those unchangeable things so that I can live with them.
There is more to the Serenity Prayer: (written by --Reinhold Niebuhr)
"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 understand that I can't learn to accept the unchangeable things in my life without God to lead the way. It's his voice inside me I need to listen to. His hand holding my heart, and his hand in mine, leading the way. I'll try to spend more of my time and energy working on myself, and the things I CAN change so I can be reasonably happy in this life. I have confidence that by doing that, I will be SUPREMELY happy in the next life!