How Serenity Inspires Wisdom

Serenity is often associated with recovery. The associated prayer is almost synonymous with 12 step programs.

It really is a beautiful mantra... and a call to action for any self improvement pursuits you undertake.

To truly bring this prayer (and any 12 step or other program) to life...
Find Real Inner Peace! (Guaranteed!)

The popular stanza of the Serenity Prayer goes:

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Merriam-Webster defines serenity as the quality or state of being serene. It then goes on to describe serene as:

1 a : clear and free of storms or unpleasant change b : shining bright and steady

2 : AUGUST -- used as part of a title

3 : marked by or suggestive of utter calm and unruffled repose or quietude

synonym see CALM

These definitions suggest an appealing state to aspire toward. In relation to the Serenity Prayer, however, an enlightening challenge is presented.

The Challenge of The Serenity Prayer

Remember that we've asked God to grant us this state to accept the things we cannot change. Obviously those things that happen to you. Most of the things that would require serenity to accept probably look like problems on the surface. The types of things that we usually anguish over or frantically try to change from the outside fit the bill here. Stuff that seems to simply "befall" us.

Acceptance of such experiences not only calms us but brings about the realization that all events are part of the pageantry of life. When things begin to crumble around us, know that it is to make room for the next, better condition.

Courage is also being prayed for here but look at what, specifically is being asked. Many times situations find us petrified like deer in the headlights wonder how we got ourselves into this. Or we brood over the passing of a condition that we had grown used to, even if we felt trapped most of the time in that condition. When the familiar is removed we feel as though there is nothing to hold on to and set adrift.

The courage to change the things we can might mean turning over our own apple cart in order to do something better... in order to allow a greater light to shine. This line of the prayer signals that heroic pursuits may fall into our laps. Be up for the challenge.

The wisdom to know the difference completes the prayer in more ways than one. The Webster definition speaks of being free of storms and unpleasant change. Well guess what, change is 'gonna come, and not all will be pleasant. However, with acceptance and courage we can maintain an inner calm in the face of any and all storms.

Those things we can do nothing about will simply be witnessed. Those things we can change may not always need to be changed. Deciding NOT to act is often the most courageous of actions we can take. But when action is called for, wisdom at the beginning provides the impetus to make the change decisive and for the good of all involved. Serenity Can Result in Freedom from Addiction.