How can I find the serenity to accept the things I cannot change?

How can I find the serenity to accept the things I cannot change?

A Story by Precious Prodigal

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Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
The title of today’s blog is a loaded question, isn’t it? But it’s the question I asked myself when I received messages from two friends yesterday. Both these friends are facing terrible circumstances, and it’s not because of anything they’ve done. As I tried to encourage the one and wept with the other, I was again reminded of my own limited understanding.
Setting “my house in order” certainly means I need to change some things, and I love the part of the Serenity Prayer that asks God to give me the courage to do exactly that. However, that prayer also challenges me to accept the things I can’t change. It isn’t easy to do that when everything within us is screaming, “This can’t possibly be God’s will.”
I wish I had a good answer to help you understand why your spouse abandoned you or why your children are breaking your heart or your parents don’t show up for you. How I’d love to have an explanation about why you or a loved one is fighting a losing battle with cancer or why someone you love died way too soon.
However, I don’t have any “real” answers to give people who ask me, “Why?” Anything I tried to say about the hard path you’re walking wouldn’t be enough. We’ve all had our fill of empty platitudes from people who don’t know what they’re talking about, haven’t we? And shaming someone for a “lack of faith” when they’re grieving is perhaps the worst kind of cruelty.
I firmly believe that the key to “trusting the Lord with all my heart” is found in the second part of that verse: “Lean not unto thine own understanding.” Realizing that I’m not always going to understand is the first step to accepting what would otherwise be unacceptable.
Your reality and mine are what they are today, and there are some parts of that reality we can do nothing to change. And learning to accept life on life’s terms will remain a challenge for the rest of our lives. However, when I start out with the knowledge that I won’t always understand, it opens the door for me to lean on the One who does understand.
And, indeed, how could we understand? God says about Himself that His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. (Isa 55:8) Knowing we don’t understand, our God, who is the “God of all comfort…comforts us in all our tribulation” if we’re willing to let Him. (2 Cor 1:3-4)
That’s the catch, of course. Are we willing to let Him comfort us? And that takes me back to my original thought. As long as I’m expecting to understand the terrible things that have happened and will happen in my life, I’m leaning on my own understanding. And there’s no comfort to be found there because at best I “see through a glass darkly.” (2 Cor 13:12)
Realizing and accepting that we won’t always understand is one of the keys. The other key is remembering that God is good and we are loved. Accepting those basic truths and trusting God to the best of our ability will begin to give us the serenity to accept those things we cannot change…one day at a time…one step at a time.
Challenge for Today: What might happen if we, just for today, accept that we won’t always understand the things that happen in our lives?

© 2015 Precious Prodigal

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Added on January 14, 2015
Last Updated on January 14, 2015
Tags: Accountability, Accepted, Chekhov’s gun, chaos, carrying burdens, burden, building, brothers, blame, bitterness, Believing God, bail, arrogance, armour, armor, angels, Alanon, affirmations, adversity