The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change; courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
How many times have we all heard this? Well, I don't know how many times you have heard this prayer, but I have heard it hundreds of times. I would say thousands of times, but that would be exaggerating a bit.
On the surface, this prayer seems straight forward. But, for me, this prayer is a challenge to mesh into my daily life. The part that I find difficult, is the wisdom to know the difference. I don't always have the wisdom at the start. Wisdom is gained over time. Knowing the things we can change and the things we can not change is not always readily apparent. In the past, I thought this prayer was an excuse to not act or try to make a situation better. This prayer is what people said to others that were having a hard time.....a prayer said when it was time to "raise the white flag" over a miserable situation. I still think that some would use this prayer in that manner....almost as if the prayer gave them permission to ignore certain aspects of their lives. But, that being said, today this prayer came to mind as my heart finally said "no more" to a particularly difficult situation. I've done all I can. To continue to persevere would be insanity......continuing to do the same thing over and over but expecting a different result.
This is not to say that I think perseverance is futile. I think in most situations it is a must.... Anything worth accomplishing or receiving is going to be hard. To persevere is to embrace the difficulty because the outcome is so much more rewarding and valuable than had we never tried. But, occasionally, a situation comes along that after much perseverance and heartache, trying to change the situation becomes counterproductive to not only ourselves but others as well. Being engulfed in a toxic relationship or experience becomes a prescription for clinical depression, anxiety attacks, or despair. God is always in control; He says we are to be anxious about nothing. Here, for me, is where the Serenity Prayer comes in. When I truly believe that, with His guidance and help, I've done absolutely all I can do, I have to release the situation to Him. This doesn't mean I don't continue to pray, I just have to stop being busy trying to "work" the problem out.
I know this post seems a bit vague, at least concerning a specific situation. But, I believe my thoughts can apply to many situations. My particular situation has made me terribly sad, but today, I feel relieved. I truly recognize that I can not change the problem. I can only be myself and trust God to do the rest.