The Serenity Prayer

My mom loved the Serenity Prayer written by Reinhold Niebuhr, but she only knew the first four lines.

 

In the Celebrate Recovery Participants Guide published by Zondervan and copyrighted by John Baker in 1998, 2012 it is written in full.

 

Prayer for Serenity

 

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.

 

Living one day at a time,

enjoying one moment at a time;

accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;

taking as Jesus did,

this sinful world as it is,

not as I would have it;

trusting that You will make all things right

if I surrender to Your will;

so that I may be reasonably happy in this life

and supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.

 

Reinhold Niebuhr wrote this prayer in its earliest form in 1937 according to Wikipedia.

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Clarification – I Hope

On Saturday afternoon, I wrote an essay for my blog and near the end talked about bathrooms for transgenders. I’ve broached this topic before in more detail. I thought because someone wants to change their gender that doesn’t make them unlovable. God still loves them, their friends and family often still love them. I don’t hold anything against a transgender. Hopefully I’ll still be polite and caring and interested in each individual.

It’s just that I’ve run into people in my lifetime that lied. I can picture molesters and pedophiles coming into women’s restrooms and pretending they’re transgenders so they can attack their prey in a controlled environment.

My mom used to remind me as a young girl that certain behaviors were expected of me because I was growing up to be a lady. A part of being a lady that I cherish is that my husband protects me. In college, a man that hung around college kids approached me to ask for a quarter. We were not on the streets. He might have been a young college student. I looked at him and told him I didn’t have any money. My boyfriend, who is now my husband, told him to leave me alone, I’d already answered him. The guy kept pushing for a quarter and I kept saying I don’t have one. Then my boyfriend walked over to him and quietly, strongly said, “She told you she doesn’t have a quarter, move along.”

He stood toe to toe with the fellow and the man seemed to wake up to the fact that my boyfriend intended to help him move if he chose to continue to harass me. The guy became quite agile in the crowd of students. He disappeared and I don’t remember seeing him again.

The problem with changes made to benefit the few is that the majority of people suffer. Those rights endanger the rights of others. When men and women decide that they are not the sex they were born into, any marriage partner in a heterosexual union gets hurt. It’ll never be the same. Any children involved are thrown into immediate chaos. My husband said, “What are the long term ramifications of these hormonal drugs on each person? I don’t think anyone knows yet.”

So, not only do I think God doesn’t like it when people change their sexual orientation because that insinuates He made a mistake, but He knows consequences. The God of the Bible is all-knowing, all-perfect, good, kind, loving, a just judge and holy. I’ve heard that the book of Isaiah has 66 chapters and there are 66 books in the Bible and the book of Isaiah most closely gives a synopsis of the entire Bible, as well. If you want to know God read the Bible – Jesus is shown in the gospels and in Hebrews particularly well.

I blogged something else earlier and kept it for another time. I wanted to continue talking about the transgender issue tonight and I’m praying for God to confirm the essay I wrote earlier, because I believe God wanted me to give a prophetic word. So I’ve asked Him to confirm it. God is moving; I see it. Be blessed!

Don’t Look Back

Isaiah 43:18,19 says “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”

I have that quote on my cork board over my computer because it is a promise from God. I am not stuck in the past, God is doing a new thing in me. That includes my writing, my coping, my knowledge of Him, my habits that need changing, my mind-set when it is going in the wrong direction. People don’t want you to change sometimes and they’ll make comments. “Why are you doing that? You’ve never done that before.” Or, “You’ll never be able to do that.”

I’ve even had Christians tell me I wouldn’t change and I have to tell you, I was dumbfounded. If God can speak the world into being, why if I ask Him to change me in a way that is pleasing to Him, (I have Scripture to back me up on this,) would He not help me to change? He loves change.

God’s Word talks about us singing a new song. His Word says He will make a new creation out of us: 2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Scripture also talks about as new creatures in Christ, we have the mind of Christ.                   1 Corinthians 2:16 says, “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

I’m not saying I understand all of this. I’m aware of what the Word of God tells people and I’ve seen so many things in the Bible work out, that I figure I’ll understand more as the comprehension sinks in. When I don’t understand, I ask God and usually I’ll hear the answer from someone and it makes sense.

I know if I leave the past behind and concentrate on the now and plan for the future without going overboard, my life flows without a lot of undercurrents trying to pull me under the waves, floundering and panicking and gasping for breath.

Discipline

Do you ever wonder why discipline comes easier in the areas that you like the most. If I’m in the middle of a good book, I’ll finish that book regardless of all else. With my daughter’s wedding taking scads of time and mental and physical energy, I haven’t had time to read.

Now that the pressure is off, I’ve started reading my renewed library books every where I can squeeze in a few moments. Washing dishes with my right hand, book in my left hand, nose to the page unless I’m quickly checking for dirty spots I might have missed.

I tend to be able to keep my weight in a range of ten to twenty pounds above the best weight for me at the most because if I get too heavy I don’t feel good. My body screams at me and then I start automatically cutting back. It’s just the way God made me.

My older sister always cleaned and baked and made baby clothes for her children that she expected to have four years or more later when she finally met her fella. Her house is usually clutter-free. That seems to come naturally to her.

I love reading about the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5: 22, 23. Self-control is a promise from God as we continue following Him and growing in Him and allowing Him to change us. Sometimes I wish I would cooperate more with Him. I get tired of the same old battles, same rotten choices that impact my loved ones and me for the worse, and sometimes others as well.

On the other hand, sometimes I’m completely delighted to see that something I’ve been disgusted with isn’t around anymore. My attitudes are better now than they used to be. I think I’m less selfish than I used to be. I don’t trust myself to know myself, but occasionally I’ll ask Craig if he sees any improvement. 🙂

Then I try not to think too much about it, because I get afraid I’ll slide right back into the wrong way of thinking and behaving. Also, I don’t want to take any credit for it and get all puffed up.

How do you find discipline for the areas that take extra patience and determination? Or do you hire out the jobs that bring angst or tears? Just wondering.

My husband asked me tonight if I thought I’d ever get all the dishes done. Reading a book and washing dishes definitely slows down the washing time. Yeah, I’ll get them done. I just have a few more chapters in my book. 🙂

Now if I could only get on a schedule with my writing. It’s in my mind to do so, that’s the first step.

Finding the “Right Spouse” Continues

A man in his thirties told me that if you marry an immature person, do not expect that person to mature just because they marry you. They may never mature.

My hairdresser said a person needs to consider what age range they want their spouse to be in, and to stay within those limits.

A friend in her forties said never to marry a man that hates his mother.

That prompted me to think about not marrying a man that is a huge Mommy’s boy. I’ve seen that scenario. It’s very hard on the wife. It’s hard on the man, too, because his mom may try to get between the husband and wife and then he’s forced to pick sides. In Genesis, God said a man is to leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife. She becomes one flesh with him, she is his priority. My husband loved his mother and respected her, but he never put her first. She loved him and did her best to encourage our relationship and never interfered in our lives. She loved our children, too, but she didn’t spoil them rotten. She offered advice when asked and maybe once, unasked, but when I needed it, in a gentle manner. I appreciated what she had to say.

So I tell people to get to know the parents of the one they’re interested in. People often become their parents. The person may not think they’ll become like their parent. I didn’t. Yet, I see various traits from my parents, some good, some not so good, arising in times of stress, in times of joy, in every day habits. I liked my in-laws and that’s helped my marriage.

I know a gal that changed radically from her parents way of life, so that may happen too, but I’ll bet some of their characteristics followed her. It’s just the way it is. I tried to avoid some of the things my parents did, and succeeded for the most part. My children heard the word, “Sorry”, often. My husband, too. Then I worked very hard to keep that behavior and attitude invisible to others and prayed diligently for God to change me.

Anything I missed, I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Change Hinderers

I have to admit, I like change. Yet, at a conference where my husband and I, as leaders, were being coached to change, I didn’t like it. Anxiety sat on my shoulder, what would this change do to the flow of things back at the building?

Who am I? Why did I resist the ideas for change. When did I, um, change?

After I looked at the resistance to change at that meeting, I decided to take a deep breath, get over the idea that I might not want to look at new techniques, and became more open. I’m sure the instructor appreciated that. If leadership won’t consider anything new, forget implementing anything after the training.

As some may know, I’ve started keeping a time-log. I’m on week two. It amazes me how quickly time flows and how hard it is for me to keep an 8.5 by 11 inch piece of paper with me at all times so I can keep track of the fleeing half hours. So, I’ve cheated and tried to remember. Where did that half hour go between eating lunch and finishing a note to my neighbor, now living in assisted-living quarters hours away? How is it that she’s gone and I rarely made it over to sit and chat? How is it that I didn’t know she was lonely until after she moved away and her daughter told me? And surely, it didn’t take me half an hour to say hi, how are you, I miss you.

The other day, I intended to clean for three hours and write for five. The phone rang. “What time did you say you were coming over today?” After setting up an appointment for the afternoon, I called my friend. “Remember our walk, can you make it this morning?” Oh, man. How many hours are there in the day? Overbooking when I’m actually keeping track shows the tendencies that have sabotaged me in the past, which is what this exercise is all about.

Today, a friend needed a ride to see some people. Her close friend called me to see if I could accommodate her, because she was too upset to drive. A friend looking out for another friend, and I agreed. I wouldn’t want emotional duress to cause an accident. So I packed my computer in a bag with a Bible and a writing book and money for lunch. I’m glad I was available, but as soon as I find my time paper, I’ll have to block out three hours of time for a sandwich and the drive and maybe two verses read.

Sometimes when people know you are trying to diet, or to be less available, or kicking the addictive behavior you enjoyed with them, they’ll give you little hints as to why you shouldn’t even bother. “You’ve tried that before and it didn’t work, don’t worry about it.” Or, “I’ll miss you. Surely you don’t have to skip time with me.” Or “What kind of a friend are you? We always go to the ice cream stand after class? One hot fudge sundae a week won’t kill you?” Etc. Etc.

I’m reminded of what Cecil Murphey said to me, “What are you willing to give up?”

For a person who likes change, I can see that I have some routines that I like. I read a book for a resource for a marriage book I’m working on. The man had Asperger’s Syndrome. If I remember correctly, his wife pointed out that he spent forty-five minutes looking in the mirror in the morning while she got their children fed, bathed, dressed, and then got herself ready for work. I think people can fall into time-wasting habits and not even be aware. This man wanted to help his wife and improve his marriage. His book is: “The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband,” by David Finch.

He altered behaviors for the benefit of his wife, himself and his children. He didn’t allow others to hinder his progress. As I change and grow, I’ll continue to note hindrances of my own making and maybe see some from others. Then I’ll have to decide, “What am I willing to give up so I can stay seated at the keyboard or to avoid a trip to the dr.s office or hospital, etc.?”