Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Embracing Serenity

God's peace

“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.” ~ Reinhold Niebuhr, American theologian

Most of us have heard this prayer and perhaps prayed it at different times in our lives—even if just in frustration.  The simple words speak volumes, pulling us back to center when things go awry in our corner of the world.

Growing up like I did in a large family, which became larger with spouses and their children, differences were (and are) bound to arise. My sister suffered with mental illness, which added to the mix.

As often happens in families, differences can breed brokenness and estrangement. One such thing occurred two years ago amongst a few family members, myself included. I believed the healthiest choice was to walk away and leave the situation—and this particular loved one—in God’s hands. I prayed for this person, that God would work in her heart and, in doing so, the family would heal.

I received a letter from her this week with an apology, explaining her feelings that led up to the disagreement, and that she’s sought counseling for the issues bothering her. We’ve exchanged a couple of e-mails since. I’m so proud of her. I don’t share this to disparage her or to pat myself on the back. This is all God!

This scenario probably isn’t so different from issues that arise in your family.

It’s so tempting to believe we’re the only one with problems—or perhaps others’ problems couldn’t possibly compete with ours. When you look at someone else’s life and believe they have it all together—that everything is hunky-dory and they don’t have problems, think again.

We all have problems.

The nice family sitting next to you in the church pew.

Your co-worker who talks endlessly about her great life.

Your neighbor living in the fancy house down the street…you know…the one that you drive past and see the nice cars parked out front? The ones who appear to be better off than you?

They all have sleepless nights. They worry sometimes about paying their bills or what their kids are getting into. They have estranged relationships.

What can you do about it?

Sometimes nothing…

except pray…

I encourage you to pray for the next person you cross paths with…whether you know them or not.

Call it a drive-by prayer. J

And when you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by your own life issues, consider the rest of the serenity prayer—the part often overlooked when reciting the opening verse…

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as Jesus 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.

Regardless of our life situation, it’s always our choice to embrace the chaos around us or accept the serenity Christ offers. When we accept the latter, we not only surrender to His will, but we’re able to share that peace with others.

Do you have a prayer need today? Perhaps you’re estranged from someone or feeling resentment in your life. Please share what you’re comfortable sharing in the comments section below, or e-mail me confidential requests. I’d love to pray for you! Would you take a moment to lift up those on our permanent prayer list above? Thanks.

I hope you’re as inspired as I am by this song and video by Casting Crowns, “Does Anybody Hear Her?”

 “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:11

Laura J

©Laura Hodges Poole

Photo courtesy of Microsoft.com free clip art


  1. Laura, this was beautifully stated. Thanks. I love your phrase "drive-by prayer."

    1. Thanks, Elaine. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. God bless you.

  2. Yes, everyone has a problem or two, don't they? Thank God He can work them out for us! I have actually never heard the rest of the Serenity Prayer. I had no idea that Jesus was in it! You learn something new everyday! I also had no idea that so many babies are killed by abortion.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Sylvia. God bless you.

  3. Very well said! Most of us hide our problems and put on our "church" face for we are afraid people will either not like the real us or they just really don't care. I'm so thankful God knows our every need and sends people into our lives to love us when we need it most and to give us prayer warriors like you to pray for us when we can't pray for ourselves and to put the needs out there for others to join in.