Have you ever heard the saying, ‘by changing nothing, nothing changes’? I’ve been discussing change a lot lately in my conversations with friends. I’ve heard different phrases thrown around: ‘change is inevitable’, ‘change has to be made in order for progress to be achieved’, and even ‘some things never change!’ To be honest, I’ve wondered about that last one myself, on more than one occasion. It’s difficult to sit back and watch acquaintances, friends, and loved ones continue in the same cycles, make the same decisions, find themselves in the same situations, and suffer the same consequences over and over, regardless of what we may have said, advised, counseled, or pointed out to them in an effort to help. We may even acknowledge that change in ourselves is necessary, but we may be reluctant or unaware of how to initiate change. Sometimes things can’t change because we don’t want to change, or we can’t break our own cycles and patterns of behavior. (See my previous blog posts The View From A Glass House and Another View From A Glass House: Breaking Patterns and Keeping It Real.)
(Reinhold Niebuhr, American Theologian, author of what is now commonly known as the “Serenity Prayer”)
(image courtesy of framedcanvasart.com)
I’ve found the “Serenity Prayer” (example in photo above) to be a source of comfort to me in the times where I have felt frustrated, bogged down, and exhausted from trying to encourage and help others or attempting to change situations. I’ve needed to take a step back, to repeat the prayer as many times as necessary, and to realize that I do indeed need “the wisdom to know the difference”. In considering the prayer, I found it helpful to break it down on how each part relates to my experiences in life.
Change (verb) to make or become different.
Change can be embraced, accepted, and even rejected.
I must recognize and accept that some things can and will change. It is the way that the world works. Things do not always stay completely the same. I need to accept that God determines change; it is not always achieved by my own doing. I must also realize that some things will not change. This is also the way the world works.
Serenity (noun) the state or quality of being serene. / Serene (adj.) calm, peaceful, and untroubled; tranquil.
So often it is hard to accept that some things cannot be changed by me. I know that I am a person who prefers to be in control in my surroundings and in charge of things in my domain. I like to bring order to my home, to my job, and the various other parts of my world. I crave organization and routine. My biggest challenge most days is to accept that some things are not within my control. I cannot control how others act, what they say, what they think, or how they feel. I can influence those things onto my own children, and I can be a role model for others, but, ultimately, I cannot change people. We are who we are as individuals. If change is to be initiated, it has to begin with God and that person him or herself.
As well, I cannot change things beyond my control. I can work towards ending world hunger and poverty, but I will not completely change that on my own. I can support initiatives and be a smaller part of a world working towards change, but it is unrealistic to believe that I will achieve such a large issue by myself.
Courage (noun) 1. The ability to do something that frightens one. 2. Strength in the face of pain or grief.
There are some things which I can change. I can change my own attitude and reactions to situations. I can influence a change in others by demonstrating that difference myself. I can be the change that I want to see in the world. I can portray kindness, hope, and serenity. I can make a difference in the lives of others. I can pray for courage to stand up and speak up for what I believe in, even if I’m standing alone. I can be a voice for others who cannot speak for themselves. I can ask for guidance on how to react in situations. I can ask God to guide my thoughts and my words so that I may have the courage to lovingly teach and to demonstrate a moral kindness in society.
Bad things will still happen, but out of them can come good. I can be the change that proves that there is hope, that optimism can prevail, and that determination can lead to success.
Wisdom (noun) 1. The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment, the quality of being wise. 2. The soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of such experience, knowledge, and good judgment.
In praying for wisdom, I ask God to guide my decision-making. Not everything will come easily; wisdom is no different. I need to keep an open heart and an attentive mind to situations around me. I will make mistakes. I will misjudge and lack wisdom, but I will acknowledge that weakness in myself and learn from my errors. Each day that I choose to learn, I can develop wisdom. Learning empowers and can effectively direct my decision-making. Wisdom is a gift. I will cherish it.
Even if your beliefs differ, even if you feel you alone, have been betrayed, or struggle with your own issues or your faith, you can pray for the serenity to accept the things which you cannot change. You can ask for the courage to initiate change where you can. You can seek the wisdom to have your footsteps guided in the direction of serenity of acceptance or the perseverance of courage, confident in knowing the difference.
It was once said, “If we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.” (Wayne Dyer)
Ask for serenity, courage, and wisdom to understand change and believe that you will receive it.
(Dear Readers, Thank you once again for your reads, likes, comments, and shares. I appreciate your support and feedback. Please take a moment to like our facebook page at Writing For The Love of It and follow me on Twitter @kim_blais. Love & belief ~ K ~)