In The Serenity Prayer column each month we are dissecting 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…
serenity: a state or quality of being serene, calm, tranquil, peaceful; having an inner calm in the midst of the ups and downs of life; involves learning to be content with the things in our life that can’t be changed. (Serenity’s opposite is agitation.)
Human beings aren’t naturally serene creatures. We don’t have to be taught agitation. It seems to come with the inner selfishness which is built into our nature. I certainly lean more towards agitation with most things in life. That’s why we need God’s help!
Our lack of peace is directly related to our thought life, worry and ingratitude. The Apostle Paul teaches this in his letter to the Phillipians:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Now brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worth of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. ~ Phillipians 4:6-9
It’s to us to decide what we’re going to think about. No one can control our thoughts but us. When we look for good we will usually find it. The opposite is also true.
Stressing over situations and people that we can’t change only makes more stress. If we can settle into life as it is, finding a way to be content, we can trust God will work all the good and bad for our good.
Let’s lean into God and put Paul’s teaching into practice. Then the peace of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, will put a guard over our hearts and minds, and ultimately our life.