In the previous posts, we discussed the Courage to change what we can, the Serenity to accept what we can’t, and the Wisdom to know the difference. These are often the focus of the Serenity prayer. However, there is more to the Serenity Prayer than that.
The Serenity Prayer begins: “God, grant me the”. These are four tiny, yet massively significant words. I think that, without these four words, the entire Serenity Prayer would fall apart.
When was the last time you were upset about something that happened in the past, and had difficulty letting go? Or were trying to make a change and couldn’t or were too afraid to even start? Experience has taught me that the Serenity Prayer is impossible to live out on our own. And I think this is why it starts with God.
Every person has their own limits for what they can accept, and how much courage they can demonstrate. Everyone at some point becomes confused or disoriented. This is the nature of the life we live. And God knows this. To illustrate this, let’s look at several verses from the Bible:
Philippians 4:7 talks about the Peace of God which goes beyond our understanding giving us comfort. In other words, a serenity from God shows up when we can’t find a reason to be calm or full of peace, like having serenity to change what we cannot change.
2 Corinthians 12:9 talks about our weakness being a time when God’s power frequently shows up. This isn’t to say we should try to be weak, but rather that when we are, when we want to give up, that God shows up powerfully/ When we are at our weakest is when God can show up in powerful ways. The courage to change what we can, especially when we don’t want to or don’t think we can, is a tremendous gift from God that he wants to give us. At our weakest, we need to remember to turn to him, and we will find the courage to change the things that we can.
James 1:5 talks about God generously giving people wisdom. Ever have difficulty moving forward and not knowing they way? Not sure of what you can change, and what to accept? Ask God, and he can help you determine the next steps. This looks different for every person. For some, it is a clear voice or direction, other people gain this wisdom from doing or experience. Whatever this gift looks like, it is still a gift of wisdom from God that helps us know what is within our control and what isn’t within our control.
The Serenity Prayer starts by asking God to provide the content of the prayer, especially Serenity, Courage, and Wisdom. He provides all of that to those that ask. We can make progress in some aspects of our life on our own by following the Serenity Prayer. However, we will eventually hit the limits of what we can do and will need additional help. Why not ask God, who wants to provide for us, to give us the serenity, courage, and wisdom that goes far beyond anything we can do or imagine?