“Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
I became very fond of the Serenity prayer in college. For the first time in my life, I was truly responsible for my life. I had to learn to take control of myself and what I wanted. With that came understanding that there would be obstacles outside my control. There would be people I’d have to deal with that I wanted out of my life. And it would Fr hard.
Serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
In adult life, and especially marriage and parenting, a lot of our life will be out of our control. We are welcoming a new set of problems and a new set of people we cannot necessarily walk away from. As Fr. Jacques Phillipe explains in his masterpiece Interior Freedom, we are not called to be helplessly battered around. However, we are called to set healthy and holy boundaries in our lives, even with family members. We have a responsibility to decipher what is acceptable or unacceptable in our lives, and to strive for serenity in God’s plan within our boundaries.
Courage to change the things I can.
With the responsibility of striving for serenity comes the even greater responsibility to be courageous. If you’re miserable at work, unstable at home, hurting in your marriage, or struggling in your parenting, there is a responsibility to change those troubling circumstances. We cannot simply complain that our lives are not what we want and then refuse steps we could take to improve them.
Interior freedom is a difficult tight-rope walk of responsibility. Wisdom is not an easy virtue to practice. Knowing the difference between what we must accept in God’s grace and what we must change in His fortitude is difficult to navigate.
Taking this responsibility is the only way to live in true freedom.