Sometimes I’m ready to hit publish on one of these posts, BUT something (ahem, Jesus) whispers “no, not yet!” And, of course, He is right every time! Before I could hit submit, I first needed more review on a lesson I thought I already knew by our wonderful, Heavenly Father.
Merriam Webster defines serenity as “the quality or state of being serene.”
It defines serene as “marked by or suggestive of utter calm and unruffled repose or quietude,” and “clear and free of storms or unpleasant change,” and “shining bright and steady.”
Who doesn’t want to be free of storms or unpleasant change? Who wouldn’t want to be steady?
Put me first in line for all that. Yes, please and thank you!
At the start of this academic season, I was sent the serenity prayer over email. I was going through some stuff, as we all do from time to time. It was much appreciated, especially since I never actually knew the words of the prayer before. I was familiar with the name, and even did some digging to try and find the prayer in the Bible.
You won’t find the words in the Bible, but you can find the same ideas from Philippians 4:6-7 (according to http://www.bibleinfo.com).
Philippians 4:6-7 reads ” do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Now, let’s compare to the words that are now pinned on my fridge:
“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.”
When I first heard those words several months ago, I was like YES! This is what I needed to hear during that tough time.
And once I got through that, the serenity prayer stayed pinned to my fridge, but I didn’t look to it much more. Bad move on my part.
I am a huge planner and hoarder of thoughts. Once something is in my head, it really doesn’t want to leave (especially those bad thoughts that tell me I’m not smart, pretty, or skinny enough LOVE to linger).
Well, sometimes the world does not follow my carefully calculated plans.
And it makes me anxious, doubtful, and super, super sad. So, let me tell you what happens when stuff happens that is out of my control.
I feel drained.
I feel powerless.
I feel stupid.
I feel weak.
I feel out-of-control.
Feeling out of control emotionally, mentally, and physically is so not good. You’ve been there? Oh, good. Then you’re with me on this.
Sometimes I don’t even make it through the entire prayer. Sometimes I just repeat over and over “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.”
I have the hardest time with that! When people, the world, and yes, even God, change the plan on me, I do a little double-take with my mouth wide open. I look like the floor just caught my butt and smacked me upside the head. It’s not pretty.
The little control freak inside of me goes haywire. Starts to malfunction and I short circuit a little bit.
Well, I was under the misconception that I had learned this lesson and was onto the next. Wrong.
I just didn’t realize I didn’t fully understand the words of the serenity prayer until a friend reminded me of something during one of my I-Don’t-Know-What-To-Do freak out moments. She told me:
“You just have to leave it to God. He has a plan. You just have to trust Him. It will all work out.”
I so needed to hear that.
“Leave it to God”= You are not in control!
“He has a plan” =stop making plans for things you have no control over it!
“You just have to trust Him”= Bam! That’s what it’s talking about in the serenity prayer. I can never get that serenity without first trusting that God is already in the driver’s seat, and I’m just along for the ride. Sometimes I hesitate getting in the car with some of my friends, but I never should when God is behind the wheel.
“It will all work out”= that peace I know that comes with giving it up to that amazing, all-powerful, almighty God we serve.
Staying calm when my plan gets messed up is something I struggle with on a regular basis. Sometimes I deal better than others. Sometimes I don’t. It’s one of the battles that has always been a weakness. Anyone else out there battling feeling out of control when things don’t go your way? We’re in this together, friend.
I struggle taking my hands off the wheel and letting God take over. I need to let Him do it much more, but it’s easier said than done.
So, I pray these words help you to let go. Let go of whatever you’re holding onto that you can’t change. And when your hands are still clinging onto your wheel and GPS, pray that God helps you to let go.
We all need some peace and serenity to let go of the stuff we will never be able to change. We need some courage to get off our butts to change the things we can. We definitely need the wisdom to not confuse the two scenarios.
And we always need God.
For more information about the Serenity Prayer, please click on the following link: