There is something about the Serenity Prayer that gets me every time. The first few lines cut so close to the surface, that a little raw tremble hits my lips and a tear escapes my eye.
I know in my heart of hearts, there is so much that I cannot change and I know accepting the past is such a great advocate for a future of purpose.
I know deeply that there are many opportunities in my today, that just takes a big gulp of courage to step into.
I personally pray for wisdom all the time, but that next level of seeking wisdom to know the difference between what I can change and what I can’t, is so deeply profound.
Each of these stanzas in this poetic prayer, I resonate with, they make me feel scared and excited in one literal breath.
But then, then the prayer just goes a little crazy.
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.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace.
Are you kidding me?
I personally will do anything to escape pain. (It’s probably why exercise is such a drag for me).
My husband represented New Zealand at the Body Building World Championships in Greece and he came fourth against competitors across the whole world.
It is a well known fact for body builders, personal trainers and athlete’s, that muscles must tear, rip, be pulled apart to grow back together again stronger. We can easily think that hardships make us weaker people. Many would disagree.
“Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.” C.S. Lewis
I have found in my life hardships, yes have made me weaker, but in many ways stronger as well. I have learn’t that when we surrender to that place of growth it makes us stronger, but also softer. Having a soft heart in a hard world, is living a life of courage not weakness.
Every season of deep loss I have experienced has drawn me to a place of surrender in my life, it has brought about a tenacity that cannot be shaken.
Every time I process those places of pain, my resilience becomes stronger.
Accepting those difficulties is the key to the prophetic power of this poem from long ago.
The key word here is accepting.
Letting that pain go.
Facing the difficulty.
Finding strength in the release of its power.
When we surrender to the power of forgiveness and the deeply healing knowledge that we all have fallen, we all have experienced pain, we have all done things we regret. Freedom comes.
Chains fly off.
Hearts are released.
We are set free.
I have found through times of hardship, seasons when I have been overwhelmed by grief, times when I have felt unable to move forward from the depth of disappointment I feel, it is friends and counsellors, it is mentors and wise women who have gone before me that have helped me find that place of acceptance.
And always it has been finding perspective in the shadow of an amazing Creator God, who always calls me home.
I have never felt condemnation, guilt or shame in His presence, I have only ever found peace.
If you are looking for the pathway to peace Reinhold Niebuhr, through his Serenity Prayer, encourages us that often acceptance is the best way home.