Saturday, September 06, 2008

A welcome departure

I often wonder if it gets a little old hearing about the day-to-day (or month-to-month) happenings around here. I've thought a lot about trying to have something more meaningful to share, but have never known just what. Well, last night I had a little bit of an epiphany, and while I can't share it all here, I think at least part of it might be of some interest.... and who knows? Maybe this will start a trend in my posts.

Anyhow, I imagine many of you are familiar with the oft-quoted "Serenity Prayer." Or are you?? Until about a year ago, I was only aware of one small portion:

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.

Little did I know, there is much more to the prayer than that. It continues:

Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is;  not as I would have it; trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to your will; so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next. AMEN.
This prayer is used to close out the worship/large meeting portion of Celebrate Recovery groups. Sometimes I think that it is easy to get used to repeating the words without even thinking about what we're saying.  But if you are in a position in which you are seeking a change in your life, these words make so much sense. How many of you have spent countless hours trying to affect a change in something of which you had no control? Or know what things you do have power over, but lack the courage to attempt to change? It's a sobering thought. Who wouldn't want the ability to differentiate between the two, along with being able to be content in our powerlessness over some things?

Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time.... We've all heard the platitudes of taking life a step at a time, a day at a time, etc. But isn't it true? We only have control over what we are doing in this moment. If we can live in this moment, rather than tomorrow or next year, won't we experience a bit more success? 

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace... Ouch. Yeah, I could totally leave that line out. It doesn't sound like too much fun. But of course, exercise buffs are famous for saying "No pain, no gain." Doesn't that ring just as true for growing personally and spiritually?

Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.... That says a lot. How much trouble do we get ourselves in wishing the world was different? 

Trusting that you will make all things right if I surrender to Your will.... God won't hand stuff over to me until/unless I surrender to him. 

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with you forever in the next.... Let's not get greedy: reasonably happy, not perfectly and totally happy. We can save that for eternity. After all, if life were perfect here, what's the hope in heaven?

So there you have it... my little thoughts on this short little prayer attributed to theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.


Jenny said...

I never get tired of reading about your day-to-day goings-on, but it's also really neat to read your meditations on this prayer. Looking forward to more posts like this one. :)

drjimwhite said...

Wow! You might end up being a preacher. :)

preacherman said...

I agree with Jim!
Wonderful. :-)
I hope you have a great week Karen.
God bless you.

Shane Coffman said...

I don't know that I had heard the rest of that prayer before.

Thanks for sharing, Karen! Good stuff.

preacherman said...

Yes, thank you so much for sharing because you have been such an encouragement and inspiration to me. God bless you sis!

Franklin Wood said...

Thanks for sharing the rest of that prayer!
Great thoughts.

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