To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
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;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
Amen – Reinhold Nihbur
many people know of the serenity prayer in some shape or form. you’ve heard it along the way, it on a plaque in someone’s kitchen, or if you go to recovery meetings, it is a staple. i grew up with the serenity prayer hanging on our living room wall. the first part is the one most people know: “God, grant me the serenity, to accept the things i cannot change; courage to change the things i can, and wisdom to know the difference.” yes, there’s no doubt that this part is a prayer i need to meditate on and integrate into my life more and more and more and more.
there are so many things i cannot change—not only in my own circumstance but also in all kinds of other places, relationships, situations. at the same time, there are many things i can indeed work toward changing. i can step out in courage, practice new ways of doing life & relationships, seek God’s direction and have the guts to move. and wisdom to know the difference needs to continually be cultivated (and is sometimes the hardest part, at least for me).
i have no idea where you are at today, but i am guessing some of you are on shifting sands & wrestling with what it means to let of what was and move toward toward new things. i don’t know if this prayer will be helpful to you, but i thought i’d take a break from the normal carnival intensity and pass this little exercise i’ve done in a couple of different settings. i used it this past sunday at a monthly gathering of some of my ex-good-christian-women friends, which is a safe place to gather a little more courage for the journey.
i thought i’d pass it on here; it might be a chance to just take a moment and consider the serenity prayer. what is serenity for you? what are some other words for it? what are some things that you are not able to change, that are beyond you, that are out of your control now matter how much that drives you crazy? and what are some things you may need to courage to shift, to step into, to try, to do? for some of you the place where you are at might be related to “church”, for others it might be personal relationships or your relationship with God or some other life circumstance. the beauty is that we are all struggling with different things, but we probably could all–in some shape or form–use a little more serenity, courage & wisdom.
on sunday morning, we shared our responses out-loud in a type of closing liturgy. it was so pretty, it really filled my soul, all the different words & thoughts and perspectives of serenity, letting go, hope & courage to change.
here’s what we did, if you want to give it a shot. just fill in the words that come to mind.
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.
here’s mine, at least for today:
God, grant me the serenity…a wild & crazy peace that puts my feet on solid ground even though everything is swirling around me.
to accept the things i cannot change…like the past, the dumb things i got sucked in to & spent far too much energy on, others reactions to me, the big bad “church-in-the-sky” & all the money that seems to float around there instead of here
courage to change the things i can…like living in the present, being thankful for what is, loving well what’s right in front of me, trusting the big story instead of just this chapter, waiting instead of pushing, and in the words of a wise friend “show up, tell the truth, trust God, let go of the outcome.”
- if you’re willing, it’s always fun & beautiful to hear some of yours….