I am continuing to think about change and to-day I offer some thoughts on the "serenity prayer"
The Serenity Prayer ( original form)
A modified form of this prayer is commonly used within Alcoholics Anonymous and has sometimes been attributed to St. Francis. However, the earliest known forms of it appeared in the early 20th century, and it is generally credited to an
American Protestant theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr (1892 –1971)
- God, give me grace to accept with serenity
- the things that cannot be changed,
- Courage to change the things
- which should be changed,
- and the Wisdom to distinguish
- the one from the other.
- Living one day at a time,
- Enjoying one moment at a time,
- Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
- Taking, as Jesus did,
- This sinful world as it is,
- Not as I would have it,
- Trusting that You will make all things right,
- If I surrender to Your will,
- So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
- And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
1. God's grace and strength is at the heart of living a "serene" life.
2. Obviously (to me at least) when I explore the question of change (in myself) I'm not interested in being a "Don Quixote" "tilting at windmills". I am thinking about those things that I can, with God's help, change (within myself) especially things that will make me a better person. And it is true that change takes courage (and persistence and faith and ... ?).
3. I would change the first statement slightly to say "today accept with serenity things as they are right now" (because "what is" can't be changed).
I think of the apostle Paul writing from prison when he says in Philippians 4:10-13
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
I note in particular (paraphrased slightly) "in whatever situation (in any and every circumstance) I have learned to be content."
And it is this ability to be content in any circumstance that "can be done through Him who strengthens us".
First and foremost any change I desire in my attitudes is aimed at the "being content" wherever I find myself to-day even when I desire for a different tomorrow.
In a way this brings me "full circle" back to my "theme song" for 2013
I will live today in the moment. I will live today as if it were my last day here on this earth and I will dream and plan today for tomorrow because “Today is the first day of the rest of my life; I will rejoice and be glad in it” (cf.Psalm 118:24-KJV)