“Lower your expectations of earth. This isn’t heaven, so don’t expect it to be.” – Max Lucado.
For some unexplainable reason, getting a driver’s license or passport photo is one of life’s traumatic experiences; one that stays vivid in the psyche long after the photo was taken. You know the drill. You stand in front of a backdrop trying to ensure the photo has a semblance of normalcy. You make the facial expression that you practiced at home, but the picture is taken before you can complete your preparations. As a result, your smile is half baked and your eyes are crossed. Resigned to your fate you take a seat and wait for your name to be called and the photo to be unveiled. You hope for the best but nothing quite prepares you for what happens when you pick up those photos and take a look. Aaaaagh! That can’t be me, you think, as you examine the full horror of this so-called “likeness.” In a state of shock, you make your way out of the building.
We can apply that lesson in the spiritual level. Remember the Serenity Prayer: “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.” Many people have memorized the serenity prayer, but it would be prudent to really come to grips with accepting the things that we can’t change. We should consider that some people, some situations, or some things in your life require you to go to God for the peace of mind to accept them because there isn’t anything you can do to change them. Everyone has those permanent ink circumstances in their life that no amount of angst or effort will change. What you need is the peace that passes all understanding — that comes from what you believe, not from your current reality. “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3)
But what about “the courage to change the things I can?” There are things we can change. Christianity is not a passive religion; it’s an act of faith. The Bible is full of verbs that demonstrate a very active faith. The Bible uses words like choose, defend, fight, forgive, love, plant, seek, teach, train, visit, and worship. God’s design for us is to be intentional in taking these verbs and living them out. There can be a very positive change in our reality when we are intentional. Accepting personal responsibility should cause us to have the courage to change by facing reality as it is today, resulting in actions that will glorify God and bring benefit to ourselves.
“And, the wisdom to know the difference.” Wisdom is a gift that God promises to give to those who ask for it. James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you…” You can grow in wisdom each day and make better decisions as you spend time reading the Bible and communicating with God through prayer. God will tell you, through his Word or answers in prayer, when to accept things and when to have the courage to change them.
- What is your idea of Serenity? Is this a type of peace you want?
- Read James 1:5. Do you believe God will answer your prayer for wisdom?