I'm seeking peace. It seems like it's the most loving thing I can do for others and the world around us, let alone me.
So, not so long ago, my daughter Annie put me onto a song by LeAnn Rimes, that opens up the first line of the Serenity Prayer. You know, "God, grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
"I would like to forget what I cannot change;
I would like to forgive what I cannot change;
I would like to love what I cannot change;
And I will change whatever I, whatever I, whatever I can."
As I have prayed this prayer daily, sometimes dozens of times daily, God keeps opening that first line up as a poem: deeper and deeper in meaning. Like LeAnn Rimes does.
And what I have been learning is that the driving force of this first prayer is that I give up the idolatry of pretending I am God. I think of what I simply cannot and am not responsible before God to change or control:
God's calling on my life
The place to which I am called to live
Who God is, where God is going, what God desires
What has happened to the churches and people I once served, since I left
The denomination in and to which I have given my life's work
The fulfillment of retirement dreams
My heart, my desires, and my core identity
All other people in their decisions, behaviors, and thinking
The great sweeping trends, ideologies, and movements in the world
How much God loves me
The culture of the church I serve
My parents' failures in my upbringing
My personal plans for how healthy I want to be
I can invite, seek to persuade, encourage, teach, point and pray. But there is only so much I can do. And the great weight of this life God carries, and only He can change and control and redeem.
What I can do is to change my thinking, my willing, and my behavior.
"And I will change whatever I, whatever I, whatever I can. . ."