Over the past few weeks, we have been taking a look at a small booklet named “Acceptance” by Vincent P. Collins who offers a reflection on the “Serenity Prayer.” Last week we looked at dealing with difficult people. This week let’s examine how we can begin to move from confusion and chaos to calm and composure.
Circumstances are people and things. Solving problems really means getting people and things the way we want them. Sometimes we can do it. More often we can’t. Should we make everybody including ourselves more miserable and add to our difficulties without solving them? Shall we be like Job and “curse God and die?” (Job 2:9)” No. If you can’t beat em, join em! If you can’t solve your problems, learn to live with them and in spite of them.
Now I can hear some of you saying, “Oh sure, sure; just like that! Easy to say, but it’s another thing to do it! Just how do I go about doing that?” If you are desperate enough, you’ll try anything. So try something that works – try acceptance!
Now, understand that another word for “acceptance” is “surrender” or “letting go.” It’s not quitting – it’s giving God permission to handle the situation for you. It is the only real source of tranquility, serenity and peace. Surrender is a biblical concept found in the New Testament (I Corinthians 10:13; Philippians 2:12-16) and the Old Testament (Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 9:10). Rick Warren of Purpose Driven Life wrote about surrender in one of his blogs.
These can be acquired if you have an urgent desire to help yourself and are willing to ask God to help you. Here is where the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr comes in so powerfully:
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.
Ask God to give you the ability to take people and things as they are if you cannot change them. Only God is powerful enough to control all, and he seems to prefer to make things come out right without necessarily changing them.
Face up to the problem that is driving you wild. Say, “Is there anything I can do about it right now, today? If there is, do it – do it now! If there is nothing you can do about it today, accept it and forget it. You don’t get over a twenty foot wall by banging your head against it – you just get a headache. If you sit down in the shade of the wall and say, “Maybe I’m better off on this side after all,” you may be sure that God will make things turn out better for you and for everyone else. This ability of His to make things work out for the best is known as Divine Providence, or The Kindness of God.
Next week, we close our reflection looking at “The Kindness of God.”