The Serenity Prayer
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.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
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.
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
I find The Serenity Prayer so beautiful to read. It has been a beacon of hope and an inspiration for people seeking the strength and support in times of struggle, despair, and uncertainty. It was written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in 1932-33. The prayer spread rapidly through church groups in the 1930s and 1940s and was widely adopted and popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve-step programs. Newly-sober addicts and alcoholics are taught to recite this prayer early on in rehab, whenever they feel overwhelmed or tempted.
The Serenity Prayer offers another way and gives us guidance in adopting a different perception, with grace, to life. Its intention is to bring hope, clarity and peace to the hearts and minds of those in despair and seeking support.
Serenity is a state of mind or a quality of being still or tranquil, where one is untroubled by life’s ups and downs. It means remaining calm and true to yourself, regardless of the conditions or situation. It guides us to ask for the wisdom and the ability to gracefully accept ‘what is’ and that what cannot be changed. This means we can make the best of what we do have. We can make peace with our reality - such as difficulties with addictions, everyday stress, grief and abuse - thanking and accepting those feelings that rise up in us, and focusing on what IS working in our lives.
We ask for courage, meaning we can respond thoughtfully (when we’re ready) with god’s support and faith and move forward consciously to live and enjoy life .Even when we feel negative influences and are unsure of the outcome, we can still do the right thing for ourself. Courage does not mean that we have NO fear, it means that we can see the fear for what it is and, using our own authority refuse to be controlled by it. Often we may be in a new situation and we’re scared. But when we’re ready, we can consciously accept the struggles, challenges and the world as it is - not as we will it to be. To trust in the divine and its infinite intelligence.
Often we may struggle to comprehend this important part of letting go. Letting go doesn’t mean ignoring a situation. Letting go means accepting what is, exactly as it is without fear, resistance or a struggle for control. Letting go isn’t saying what happened is ok, but it’s about loving ourself enough to not put us through the hurt anymore. The word forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing behaviour. It comes from the Greek word to leave (something or someone) alone.
The prayer teaches us to treat ourself well, with love and compassion. People come and go, but you are always right here. Be good to yourself. You deserve not to be fearful or stressed, you deserve to be empowered, free and happy.