King, Stephen — 'God grant me to SERENITY to accept what I cannot change the TENACITY to change what I may and the GOOD LUCK not to f*** up too often'.
God Grant Me the Serenity to Accept the Things I Cannot Change; Courage to Change the Things I can & Wisdom to Know the Difference Quote Vinyl Wall Decal
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God Grant Me SERENITY PRAYER 11x14 Poster Inspirational Quote 12 Step AA Recovery Motivational Sobriety Heartful Art by Raphaella Vaisseau.
If you are familiar with Alcoholics Anonymous, have ever read Kurt Vonnegut’s 'Slaughterhouse Five' or saw the recent Denzel Washington movie 'Flight,' then you have encountered the Serenity Prayer. The prayer has worked its way into so many cultural outlets that many non-Christians know it, or at least the beginning, by heart:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
The prayer is commonly attributed to Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, who composed it in the 1940s. According to its website, Alcoholics Anonymous adopted the Serenity Prayer and began including it in AA materials in 1942, which may have done more to canonize it than any other cultural use of the prayer.
What is the secret behind the Serenity Prayer’s power? The language is humble, its lessons simple and its history not particularly romantic. But its messages are both personal and universal; easy to understand yet difficult to execute.
The prayer reveals five timeless truths (and no doubt more!) that challenge us to re-imagine what serenity really is:
1. Acceptance is not laziness.
When we devote inordinate attention to the things we cannot change, we expend physical, emotional and mental energy that could be directed elsewhere. Accepting that there are some things we cannot change does not make us complacent. It constitutes a leap of faith -- an ability to trust, as the prayer goes on to say, “that He [or the universe or time] will make all things right if I surrender to His Will.” We thus make the choice to let go and have faith in the outcome.
2. We must have courage to change ourselves.
One of life's greatest challenges is imagining how our lives could be different than they are now. Often, our deeply-ingrained habits are our own worst enemies, and simply identifying them is half the battle. Since habits gain power through repetition, it takes real focus and perspective to take a look at ourselves and our habits and ask, "Is this how I really want to live?" As the prayer states, this act of self-investigation is nothing less than an act of "courage." As Alexander Solzhenitsyn asked in The First Circle: "If you wanted to put the world to rights, who should you begin with: yourself or others?"
3. Hardship can be good for you.
As the prayer states, we must accept "hardships as the pathway to peace." Every person confronts obstacles in the course of his or her life. When we view these obstacles not just as frustrations or failures, but as opportunities for growth and learning, we can transcend our circumstances.
4. Surrendering requires courage, too.
The word "surrender" has mostly negative connotations; we associate it with resignation, failure and weakness. But the Serenity Prayer reframes the notion of surrender as an act of faith and trust. The wisdom of the prayer lies in exchanging a life of endless "what ifs" for a life of trust in powers beyond ourselves.
5. Happiness is attainable -- now and in the future.
The prayer's ending has something very profound to say about happiness: if we follow the prayer's advice, we may be "reasonably happy in this life." Just reasonably? At a time when our culture measures happiness and success mostly in terms of money and power, that word "reasonably" stands out as an appealingly modest definition of a successful life. Rather than wondering why we aren't happier, or picking through every minute aspect of our lives, the prayer asks us to focus on the present, "Living one day at a time" and "enjoying one moment at a time." Whether or not you believe in God or an afterlife, and whether or not the prayer's ending -- a vision of being "supremely happy with Him forever in the next" -- appeals to you or not, there's something universal in the prayer's quiet celebration of understanding our own potential, our own limits, and our capacity for transcendence.
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“God, grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.”
~ theologian Reinhold Niebuhr
Recovery and 12-Step Fellowship Meetings around the world often begin in the same way – with the assembled group reciting the Serenity Prayer together. Early on in rehab, newly-sober addicts and alcoholics are taught to recite this prayer whenever they feel overwhelmed or tempted.
But what do these words – serenity, acceptance, courage, and wisdom really MEAN?
Let’s take a closer look at each.
Addiction is characterized by chaos, loss of control, and emotional turmoil.
Serenity, on the other hand, is a positive state of mind where you are untroubled by life’s ups and downs. It means remaining calm and true to yourself, regardless of what else is going on.
Some would even say that serenity is the goal of recovery.
Another characteristic of addiction is denial – refusing to believe what is plainly evident. Denial is an extension of our own stubborn egos – a futile attempt to reject what IS to chase after what we DESIRE.
In recovery, an example of this would be trying to control our consumption of drugs or alcohol when the very definition of addiction is that we have no such power.
Acceptance, on the other hand, means making the best of what we have. It means realizing the reality of what life has given us – genes predisposed to addiction, a difficult childhood, everyday stress, etc. – and still working with what we have been given to live the best life we possibly can.
There is an old acronym in recovery that signifies what “fear” is – False Evidence Appearing Real, meaning that another characteristic of addiction is being controlled by distorted or untrue perceptions about ourselves, our own value as human beings, our disease of addiction, and our ability to get better.
Because of these invalid perceptions, we react in unhealthy, self-destructive ways. We drink and use to cover up our own feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness, and shame.
Courage, on the other hand, means reacting and moving forward positively, even when we feel negative – doing the right thing, even when we are unsure. Courage doesn’t mean that we have NO fear, it means that we refuse to be ruled by it.
Courage during recovery can take many forms:
Addiction can be likened to a form of insanity. Some people define insanity as doing the same thing again and again, yet expecting different results.
For example, you may tell yourself for the umpteenth time that THIS time it’s going to be different – you’re only going to have a few beers instead of getting drunk… or you’re only going to get high on the weekends…or you REALLY mean it this time – you’re just going to muster your willpower and quit.
All the things you’ve said before.
Wisdom, on the other hand, means recognizing when something doesn’t work and being willing to try something else. It means putting our ego and stubbornness aside in order to reach our goals.
Wisdom in recovery can be as simple as understanding that our old behaviors and attitudes tend to get us in trouble, so instead of doing what WE think is right, we take the advice of our doctors, therapists, or sponsors.
By being mindful of the meaning behind the words of the Serenity Prayer, we gain a number of benefits:
Most of all, it becomes possible for us to rediscover happiness through acceptance. We can find the good in what IS and in what we CAN do, instead of focusing on the frustration of what we CAN’T do.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom. religious Vinyl Wall Decal Decor Quotes .
As a teenager, I got a notebook with this quote on the cover with a beautiful, vibrant beach photo. I liked the message & the bright colors & it brought me great comfort every time I used it. It wasn't until wasn't until I entered college that the quote started to take on new meaning.
Although I loved college, it was a major growing period in my life & I faced some really hard things. Some challenges came because of my own choices, while others happened from the actions of others & the normal course of growing up. I turned to prayer & faith often. This quote became a lifeline in the turmoil of my life.
It motived me to be brave enough to face difficult changes & uncomfortable conversations—I’m terrified of confrontation, by the way. It taught me to find peace & faith when confronted with circumstances I couldn't control. It prompted me to take a step back from what I was facing & reflect with wisdom on what I should do next. I clung to these words to with all I could & they have continued to help me get though my toughest challenges. They have made me stronger.
“Papered Thoughts” is an ongoing series, sharing thoughts on positive & motivational quotes to uplift & inspire readers to think differently & become better.
Source: This quote is from “The Serenity Prayer” by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. Complete Prayer: God, give me grace to accept.