Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Serenity Prayer, part two

When I wrote the other evening, I "googled" the Serenity prayer and found much to my surprise that it was much longer than what I had been exposed to all these years. And yet, as I read and reread the expanded version, I decided that I really like the full version.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;

How difficult this is! I try so hard to live each day as if it were my last, to live my life out loud, unafraid and unabashed, and yet, I often feel that somehow I am held back by some fear that if I don't plan ahead, I'll fail miserably. But when we have Christ in our hearts and lives, we have no need to fear the future, and thus no reason not to live for today alone. This part of the prayer is something I need to remember each moment.

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;

Hardships as the pathway to peace? It sounds ridiculous! And yet, many world religions teach similar virtues, that facing and surviving trials teaches and develops character and strength. What would break a single strand of thread will not break a three strand cord. Surviving and accepting hardship moves us from being a single strand to becoming a cord. And the more strength we posess, the less our peace can be shaken.

Accepting the world we live in is something that we all struggle with, regardless of whether we believe in a god or not, or what God we believe in. There seems to be some innate requirement in us to seek change for the better, but at times that desire to make things better tears at our need to find balance and acceptance. There are things that we cannot change, no matter how unfair, how unrealistic, how horrific they may be, and by fighting against them without recognizing that they are fixed, we waste energy and weaken the heart, mind, and body. We are weakened by fighting what we cannot change.

And, if Jesus was willing to accept the sinful world as it was, why should we not also accept it? This may seem like a call to love sin, but it is not. It is simple acceptance of an imperfect world that we sojourn in for but a brief moment. We can change who we are in it, and we can change how we respond to the sinful parts of it. The choice to do this in a healthy manner will lead to further health and joy for us.

Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

I have to think that one of our biggest fallacies as broken humans is the ability to trust anyone or anything. Putting our trust in something or someone else takes us out of the seat of control and puts us at some external force's mercy. It's extremely difficult to deal with or accept (ask any teenager). However, as infants we come into this world left to trust completely someone else's competency to care for us. And the majority of us were well cared for as infants and children.

Surrendering to God and to His will for our lives is difficult, not because He will not take care of us and do it supremely well, but because it means that we have to give up a part of "I want" for "I needed". God will take care of us. But we have to submit to His will and let Him do it. That's the hard part--letting go.

But as the writer stated, there is happiness when we do let go and trust God to take care of us today and for the future. And perhaps for you, like I find for myself, making the choice to let go and let God take care of us is a moment by moment choice, over and over until we get it right.

Because, serenity really comes from letting go and letting God take care of us. So simple, and yet so difficult to actually do.

No comments: