BE REASONABLY HAPPY… NOW!

The Serenity Prayer column is published on the first Friday of each month in 2019. We’re studying this well-known prayer phrase by phrase and applying it to our life today.

” God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.

Taking as Christ 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…”

 

Let me begin by saying this is an area where I struggle, not every day, but often enough. I don’t want to come off as someone who has this all figured out. Because I definitely don’t. I’m in a life learning process just like you.

While we can be sure that God is going to take care of us each day, Scripture never promises us an easy life. In fact, Jesus tells us to expect troubled times.

How can I be reasonably happy in a life that’s often filled with difficulties?

The key word here is “reasonably” which by definition means: moderately. So to be moderately happy, is to be in the middle, not excessively happy or excessively sad; balanced.

Most of us want to live on the mountaintop, in the exciting times of life. But life is filled with peaks and valleys. Life is balanced with happy and sad times.

There is a time for everything,
and everything on earth has its special season.
There is a time to be born
and a time to die.
There is a time to plant
and a time to pull up plants.
There is a time to kill
and a time to heal.
There is a time to destroy
and a time to build.
There is a time to cry
and a time to laugh.
There is a time to be sad
and a time to dance.
There is a time to throw away stones
and a time to gather them.
There is a time to hug
and a time not to hug.
There is a time to look for something
and a time to stop looking for it.
There is a time to keep things
and a time to throw things away.
There is a time to tear apart
and a time to sew together.
There is a time to be silent
and a time to speak.
There is a time to love
and a time to hate.
There is a time for war
and a time for peace. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

We must also consider that happiness is related to happenings. Where as joy is a deeper emotion that is available to us even when outward circumstances may warrant different reactions. True joy is not about situations but rather a spiritual component. The Bible tell us that joy is a fruit, a by product, of the Holy Spirit’s work in our life.

The secret to being REASONABLY HAPPY lies in The Serenity Prayer itself…
    1. SERENITY comes when we accept the things we cannot change.
    2. COURAGE comes when we step out to change the things we can.
    3. WISDOM comes as we seek God’s guidance.
    4. LIVING each day as it comes, pressing forward step by step.
    5. ENJOYING each moment as if it were our last.
    6. ACCEPTING that hardships will lead me to the Prince of Peace.
    7. TAKING the world as it is because I can’t change it or other people.
    8. IT’S NOT MY WORLD to change but God’s in His perfect timing.
    9. TRUSTING GOD will make everything turn out for good in His plan.
    10. SURRENDERING my will to God’s perfect will and purpose.

As we purposely walk out these steps of The Serenity Prayer we will begin to experience the reasonable happiness that God has for us.

Let’s enjoy some everyday Happiness NOW with this great Ayesha Woods video.

SURRENDERING MY WILL

The Serenity Prayer column is published on the first Friday of each month in 2019. We’re studying this well-known prayer phrase by phrase and applying it to our life today.

” God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.

Taking as Christ 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…”

 

The typical image of surrender is a criminal with hands raised above their head signaling that their hands are free of any weapons. While we may not be a common criminal who has been caught breaking the law, scripture tells us that stubborn willfulness, which is nothing less than pride, is one of the worst sins against God.

The LORD detests all the proud of heart.

Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

~ Proverbs 16:5

Lucifer, before his fall, was one of the angelic hosts in heaven. But because of his beauty his heart became pridefully and he saw himself greater than God. He coveted God’s power and rebelled against God’s authority. God then cast Satan out of heaven along with one-third of the angels who were in league with him.

Pride brings a person low,

but the lowly in spirit gain honor.

~ Proverbs 29:23

When we hold on to what we will for our lives instead of surrendering to God’s will for our life this is the sin of pride. By humbling ourselves, trusting in God’s will and plan for our lives we put ourselves in a position to be honored.

So then, surrender to God.

Stand up to the devil, resist him

and he will turn and run away from you.

~ James 4:7

Surrender can be a scary thing. Letting go of our plans and trusting the unknown can be uncomfortable. The faith-walk is definitely not for the faint of heart! Even getting to a place where we’re able to surrender is difficult at times.

A process of steps is helpful here:

    1. Silence and Solitude: Beginning the process of surrender I must first find some silence and solitude. Actual silence and solitude may be impossible depending on the particular situation or circumstance. I may need to inwardly find the silence and solitude when in a crowded environment.
    2. Settle in Peace: Having found some silence and solitude I must then settle my anxious mind from worry. Maybe I’ve been reliving yesterday’s regret or fretting tomorrow’s uncertainty. Either way, I must find some mental peace. To help settle my mind I imagining a boat floating across a lake or river.
    3. Surrender Mind Body and Soul: To get to the place of surrender that I’m seeking I close my eyes and visualize myself floating on my back in a swimming pool. The peaceful stillness of the water holds my anxiety at bay and allows me to rest in God’s loving hands. I am then able to be fully surrendered in the moment, mind body and soul and to what God has for me here.

As we listen to this wonderful song by Matt Redman let’s contemplate surrendering to Christ’s power working in, through and for us. With our arms held high and our hands open grasping nothing, we can give ourselves over to God’s loving grace that brings us what’s best in His perfect timing.

TRUST GOD

In The Serenity Prayer column, published the first Friday of each month in 2019, we’re studying this well-known prayer phrase by phrase and applying it to our lives today.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.

Taking as Christ did this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it. Trusting that He will make all things right…

 

Attitude matters.

Whether we trust that God will make all things right really doesn’t change what God is going to do. What God does is always right whether we trust Him or not. The lesson here is more about how we live in the process while we’re waiting.

Time passes the same.

When waiting for an answered prayer, a new job, a life season to change… we can either be stressed, angry and sick or peaceful, happy and healthy. Either way, the same amount of time will pass from the beginning of the wait to the completion. How I walk it out is up to me.

Simple but not easy.

This principle of trusting God seems so simple. We hear it a lot in Christian circles. But little is taught about how to actually live out this trusting time. The season I’ve been in for the last three years has been one of the hardest in my adult life. It’s been all about waiting for God to make something right out of something that was very wrong. I’ve struggled often with a poor attitude while watching my sweet husband be so positive. Different things are easier for different people.

How to trust.

When I think of trusting, I think of the childhood game where we would fall back into the arms of a trusted friend who would catch us. We knew our friend wouldn’t drop us or let us fall because we believed they cared for us. If we can believe that our girlfriend can love us so much to catch us, why can’t we believe that our God, our Heavenly Father, who loves us even more, will not only catch us when we fall, He will make the circumstances into which we fall be perfect for us! And hose circumstances will then help us rise higher.


Trust in the Lord completely,
and do not rely on your own opinions.
With all your heart rely on him to guide you,
and he will lead you in every decision you make.
Become intimate with him in whatever you do,
and he will lead you wherever you go. Don’t think for a moment that you know it all, for wisdom comes when you adore him with undivided devotion and avoid everything that’s wrong. Then you will find the healing refreshment your body and spirit long for. ~ Proverbs 3:5-8 (TPT)


Let’s not be shaken or disturbed about where we’re going, how we’ll get there or when we’ll arrive.

Fall back.

Trust God.

He has a perfect plan.

He is with us all the way.

 

Contemplate trusting God with this beautiful song by Bethel Music.

NOT AS I WOULD HAVE IT

In The Serenity Prayer column each month we’re studying this well-known prayer phrase by phrase and applying it to our life today. These columns will be published the first Friday of each month in 2019.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.

Taking as Christ did this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it…

 

 

The Serenity Prayer is one of the most familiar prayers of all time. Although widely used around the world, it’s primarily known in the addiction recovery communities. While the entire prayer is asking God for help, I believe this particular portion (including last months section), is referring to our most painful moments in life.

Most of life doesn’t turn out the way we want. So we have two choices: to either accept life as it comes or not. This is where most addictions start. Because most of us can’t physically run away from our life, we will mentally or emotionally run away by abusing food, sex, drugs, alcohol, work, shopping, the Internet, social media, video games, etc…

The beginning of recovery step work starts with accepting that we can’t but with God we can. God knows what’s best for us. Some days we want what God wants, but yet we don’t.

We want to accept this painful situation, but how can we?

Scripture tells us that Jesus endured the cross for the joy that lay ahead. Maybe this particular pain we’re going through holds a special blessing for us that will only come when we’ve made it to the other side of the struggle.

Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right side of God’s throne. ~ Hebrews 12:2

Just as Christ endured pain and suffering at the hands of people and situations, we too have struggles to endure.

Whether the pain we’re dealing with is from our own personal challenges,   caused by other people or situations out of our control, we often ask… Why?

In times of painful struggles instead of asking why try reciting The Serenity Prayer. Another Scripture confession I like to use during troubled days is this verse below:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~  Philippians 4:13

Hold on to this hope.

Look to Jesus.

Knowing your reward is coming!

We must remember, no matter how hard things are, God’s will is always better than our own. Contemplate letting God’s will be done in your life with this beautiful song by Feast Worship.

 

 

TAKING AS CHRIST DID

In The Serenity Prayer column each month we’re studying this well-known prayer phrase by phrase and applying it to our life today. These columns will be published the first Friday of each month in 2019.

 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace. Taking as Christ did this sinful world as it is…

 

Taking as Christ did. In this passage of The Serenity Prayer we are asked to take our world as Jesus Christ did. We’re to surrender to God’s will in and for our life. We are to accept the things we cannot change and see that our hardships can be the pathway to Peace if we will accept them with the right heart attitude.

Walk in courage. As we walk in courage, not fear or resentment, God will give us the needed wisdom to make right decisions and to carry the burdens we are to bear. One day at a time, maybe even one moment at a time, we may have to endure hurtful people and difficult situations.

Look to Christ. We can look to Christ Who Scripture says, never trusted himself to man because He knew their fallen state. He took His assignment and for the joy that was to come, endure even the worst death a person could die — crucifixion on a Roman cross.

Follow Jesus’ example. As Christians we are to follow in Jesus’s footsteps, being willing to sacrifice our lives for Him. Our sacrifice may not mean physical torture or death like millions experience every day around the world. But every time we sacrifice our selfish desires, accepting the path put before us, we can know that God sees our heart and efforts and will honor them with His grace to make it through.

Surrender. When Jesus accepted His assignment and came to earth in human form, He demonstrated the ultimate act of surrender and love. He surrendered His authority and power for a time so that He could live as we do. He wanted to experience the temptations, pain and suffering that humanity does. It is here His sacrifice takes on its full meaning of hope. When Jesus took our suffering He cleared our pathway to a direct relationship for us to have with the Father through the Holy Spirit.

Jesus’ surrendering and taking the world as it is allows us to surrender and receive God’s amazing grace and love.

Prayerfully listen to this powerful worship song by Hillsong. Contemplate taking on the heart attitude of Christ, surrendering all selfish desires… lay them at His feet and He will draw you near.

ACCEPTING

In The Serenity Prayer column each month we’re studying this well-known prayer phrase by phrase and applying it to our life today. These columns will be published the first Friday of each month in 2019.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.

 

Hardships are simply a part of life. We can’t avoid them but many of us have found a way to numb ourselves through them. This pretty much defeats the learning purpose they can provide for us.

Some people don’t believe that God uses hardships.  All through the Bible God allowed trials to help people grow. Whatever the end result, God uses difficult situations for our good and for His glory.

Does this mean that God causes bad things to happen? No. Satan, who rules the kingdom of earth, is allowed to bring difficult situations in our life, but only after permission is given by God, the Father. The biblical story of Job is evidence of this. At the end of his life God blessed Job with 10 times more than what he lost.

Whatever the source of our hardship, it’s up to us to accept them. Accepting a hardship isn’t an easy task. The are many emotions involved when we’re struggling through a situation. If we look to Paul and see how he handled his “thorn in the flesh” we can be encouraged.

 “Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations… At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (MSG)

God cares more about our character than our comfort. He wants us to be molded into the image of Jesus Christ, no matter what it takes. The more stubborn and willful we are, the more prideful and self-pitying we are, the longer it may take. How many times must we go around the same mountain?

Submission to the circumstances can bring about peace. Just like the earlier portion of The Serenity Prayer states, we must come to a place of accepting the things we cannot change. Not accepting them doesn’t change them, but it can and will change us into a miserable person to live with.

Peace is a promise of Christ. Let’s be determined not to let life trouble our hearts and turn us into miserable people. When we look to Jesus in times of struggle and heartache He will give us the peace that passes all understanding!

Center your heart with this lovely song by Hillsong Young and Free.

ONE MOMENT AT A TIME

In The Serenity Prayer column each month we’re studying this well-known prayer phrase by phrase and applying it to our life today. These columns will be published the first Friday of each month in 2019.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time…

The Third Act of life

Having reached my 60’s I’ve lived more of life than I have left to live. So the brevity of life is a serious issue. I’m much more aware of the amount of time that I’ve wasted over the years and I don’t want to lose any opportuinities to do what God wants me to do.

These are evil times, so make every minute count. ~ Ephesians 5:16

In the verse quoted above the Apostle Paul warns us that our world is an evil place and can easily distract us from what is most important. No one is going to monitor our time for us. It is up to us to guard how we spend the precious moments we’ve been given every day.

The Social Media Time Suck

The era of radio and television were seen as such a waste of time for the adults who had grown up without any media at all. Television was and still is a huge time waster for many. However, there was never a bigger amount of time being wasted than what we’re experience in this Social Media driven culture of today! I’ve caught myself preparing a Social Media post for my ministry accounts and found I’ve lost almost an hour of my morning!  What’s the solution?

Be Intentional with Your Time

Guarding my time and slowing my pace of living starts at the beginning of each day. Rising most days between 3-4am gives me a good 4 hours to prepare my heart, mind and body.  This allows me time for yoga/meditation/prayer time, devotional/Bible reading, walking the dogs, and a healthy breakfast before time to walk to the bus for work or whatever I need to do that day.

Choose Your Energy Source Carefully

I believe in having strong boundaries on my inputs. Refusing to watch of listen to mainstream media/news sources not only protects my time for better uses but keeps my mind in a healthier state. During my bus commute time I try to make good use of that time by listening to a sermon podcast or some inspirational music to get me energized for my day.

Time Marches On

It’s been said that time waits for no one. And as I stated last month, the older we get, the faster time goes by. Our years are made of months, weeks, days, hours and moments. By turning that order around, being more aware of the time we have and making sure we use each increment of time wisely, we will be less likely to look up and have regrets later in life.

This moment is all we have. Let’s try to use it how God wants us to.

Still your heart and mind. Listen for God’s voice. Contemplate just this moment as you listen to a beautiful worship song by Lifepoint Music.

 

ONE DAY AT A TIME

In The Serenity Prayer column each month we are studying this well-known prayer phrase by phrase and applying it to our life today. These posts will be published the first Friday of each month in 2019.

 

Life is short and it’s getting shorter by the day!

When we are young it seems like time goes by so slowly. Maybe it’s because we are anxiously waiting for important rites of passage: attending school, becoming a teenager, driving a car, graduation, college, etc.

Time seems to pick up speed.

As adults time is fleeting. Our days, weeks, months and years fly by at a speed that seems to match our age. When we’re 30 time flies by at 30 mph. And when we’re 60 life speeds up to a whopping 60 mph! The older we get, the faster time goes by.

Multi-Tasking steals our time.

I think we lose time because we’re multi-processing too much. Eating breakfast in the car on the way to work instead of simply enjoying the morning drive. Checking email messages on the SmartPhone while watching your children on the playground instead of playing with them. Listening to voicemail messages while taking a walk instead of listening to the birds singing, appreaciting the fresh air and sunshine.

Count your time.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. ~ Psalm 90:12
In the above Scripture Moses challenges us to rethink how we live our life. He wants us to make the most of our days since they’re so few. When we come to a full understanding that life is short we will be better stewards of our time. The more conscious we are of time will make us better at using the time we’ve been given for an eternal good.
In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus encourages us not to worry about life, clothes, food, or money. He takes it a step further and tells us not to worry even about tomorrow. He wants us to take each day as it comes trusting that God will be with us no matter what it may bring.
Deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. ~ Matthew 6:34

Enjoy this awesome new video! Josh Wilson’s song will help us live One Day At A Time and not borrow from tomorrow with worry and stress today.

WISDOM

In The Serenity Prayer column each month we are studying this well-known prayer phrase by phrase and applying it to our life today. These columns will be published the first Friday of each month in 2019.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

wisdom: knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgement as to action, discernment or insight; knowing what is right and doing it.

Feelings are our worst enemy.

When we come to the decision point described in The Serenity Prayer asking to know the difference between things we can change and  the things we can’t change; often our emotions blur the process. Our feelings often keep us attached to people, things and behaviors long after we should’ve let them go.

Where can we get the wisdom that we need?

Scripture tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. (Proverbs 9:10) So if we start by having a holy reverence for God we’ve made a good first step. James tells us that if we need wisdom to ask for it. (James 1:5) It seems pretty basic and simple. Our biggest challenge is to put aside our pride and ask!

How do we know we have wisdom?

There are several characteristics of wisdom we can look for in our life.

…the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. ~ James 3:17

Let peace be the ruler of your heart.

When we’re at a decision crossroad, we can filter our process through the character qualities James teaches us. We can be gentle, showing no favoritism, yielding to others when necessary. Walking in mercy, compassion and sincerity we can prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us with the peace ruling our hearts.

When in doubt do without.

For many years this has been my life motto. When shopping for groceries, buying a car, or taking next steps with important decisions… I stop and check the peace in my gut. If I don’t have a peace I won’t go forward. If there is any doubt at all, I will wait. It’s better to wait than to rush and make what could be a costly mistake.

The Spirit of Wisdom.

As Christians we have within us the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit that created all things is available to guide and direct us in our daily lives as we follow the peace.

As you listen to this beautiful worship song, take a few moments and prayerfully meditate on God’s wisdom and grace that is available to you for the asking.

COURAGE

In The Serenity Prayer column each month we are studying this well-known prayer phrase by phrase and applying it to our life today. These columns will be published the first Friday of each month in 2019.

GOD grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can…

courage: strength in the face of pain or grief; the ability to do something that frightens; mental or moral strength to persevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty; willingness to confront agony, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation.

Most of the changes we need to make are related to the personal challenges we face as individuals.

Some of my biggest challenges are low self-esteem, lack of self confidence and allowing myself to be easily discouraged.

There are many people in scripture that struggled with self-confidence, the most memorable is Moses.

At the burning bush when God commissioned Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt he protested saying, “Who am I to lead the people of Israel!” Although Moses was well educated and qualified to be a leader, he suffered with self-doubt.

Sometimes we won’t even try to change for fear of failure.

God isn’t expecting perfection. He knows what we are made of and only asks that we try with the abilities and resources available to us. As we do He will crown our efforts with success.

Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. ~ 1 Chronicles 28:20

Rather than striving to make changes in my own power I must remember that all my strength comes from the grace of Christ.

With Jesus’ help I will step out with courage. I will do everything possible, to live the life God has for me and be the person He wants me to be.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13

Watch this wonderful worship song from Bethel Music as you prayerfully contemplate the courage you need to make changes in your life.