“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.” This prayer of serenity gets me every time, and I try my best to live by it. I don’t get it right all the time, but I find when I do it makes my life less complicated. We cannot always control what happens to us, but we can control how we respond to situations. I am working to cultivate a half-full, half-empty kind of attitude. I am learning every day that there is almost always an opportunity to take something away from every situation, even when things seem hopeless. Whenever I focus too much on what I am losing or what I have to give up, I usually miss out on the opportunity to learn something important.
I have fallen victim to the blame game many times. Now I own my mistakes because they have helped to shape the person I am today. I cannot change anything about the past, so I choose to accept. What I do from now on will determine my success or failure. If I learn nothing from my past experiences, I will repeat the cycle of unfulfilled dreams. Wisdom has taught me to take the lessons of experiences to pave the way to a bright future. My response to life is always going to be my responsibility. I cannot blame others for my failures because I am the one who acted, and my actions determine my outcome.
Anxiety and fear will not bring peace of mind. Jesus, in Matthew 6: 25-34, clarifies that worrying does nothing to change our circumstances. When we mull over situations, we cannot change, we rob ourselves of peace and the fortitude it takes to find solutions. When I worry, my mind goes into an unproductive mode, and even when solutions are staring me dead in the face, I can’t see them. Jesus says if God finds a solution for the birds and grass, which to us are so insignificant, don’t we think He will help us find a solution for ours? Worrying is futile because there is nothing to be gained from it. Finding solutions to life’s challenges gives us peace of mind. My response to life is my responsibility.
This prayer of serenity is reminiscent of Paul’s encouragement in Philippians 4: 5-7 don’t allow anxiety to have a hold on you. Even in situations that are dire, there can be moments of rejoicing. The things I can change, I will work feverishly to change the things I can, but there are some things I will have to allow to work out on their own. God will not allow untenable situations to destroy us. His peace keeps us through difficult times. Instead of trying to tailor every situation to our liking, we should ask God for wisdom to accept some things we can change and others we can’t, but life is still worth living. My response is my responsibility.