ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Eric's Sunday Sermon; Serenity, a Good Place to Start

Updated on June 14, 2015

I just love a good fruit stand

I really do not like to go shopping, unless it is for fresh fruit.
I really do not like to go shopping, unless it is for fresh fruit. | Source

A good one to keep in mind.

There is a prayer that circulates and is quite popular among the twelve step programs that have helped so many with so many problems. We can fairly accurately attribute the work to a fellow named Reinhold Niebuhr. A short version is the most popular. However this long version gives us a broader spectrum and complete prayer. It is understood that the prayer in some form was provided to U.S. Military Chaplains and servicemen during World War II. The prayer is of such a nature that it is not copyrighted by any fashion.

Here it is:

God, give me grace to accept with serenity

the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the things

which should be changed,

and the Wisdom to distinguish

the one from the other.

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.

I like the prayer. It has guided me through much hardship that my own thinking got me into in the first place. If the reader is a bullheaded, hardnosed, “I’ll do it myself” half-wit like the author then they will know just what is being referred to here. Sometimes I wish it were not so, but it often takes a trial and error system of my own before I step back and ask for guidance and wisdom. Of course when I do it is always forthcoming and a relief.

Let us take a look at the basic premises of the prayer. Perhaps it will help us act more in line with it and less in line with our own self will run riot.

Old man river just keeps on flowing along.

I just love a good sunrise.

About half way out of the Grand Canyon with more than two thousand feet up to go.
About half way out of the Grand Canyon with more than two thousand feet up to go. | Source

Serenity first.

It takes some getting used to but the idea makes sense. On first blush you would think that the prayer would lead up to serenity. But that is not how it works. First it asks for serenity. Acceptance, Grace and Serenity are first prayed for. When we think about it, it makes sense. The very first thing we must do is surrender and accept where we are at any given time. As for me, I prefer to engage in denial whenever trouble rears its ugly head. But pausing and asking for the grace of serenity is a great space to be in. From here all things are possible. You don’t even go after the concept of solving the problem first. You go after what you can control – you.

Now some may adhere to the concept that they can meditate and self control themselves into such a wonderful space of acceptance and therefor serenity, more power to them. My hat is off to them. But as for me, I need God. Call it a crutch, go ahead it does not hurt my feelings at all. I have a personal relationship with my God and God can help me do what I cannot or will not do for myself. I have worked myself into situations where it all seemed so helpless. On my own I was just powerless over my own feelings. And turning to God for the serenity has always worked for me.

An interesting aside here. I spent some time as an athlete, I even kind of made some money at it mostly teaching. One thing that just cannot be missed is about the winners. Those folks were always loose. Make no mistake they worked hard to get to where they were but once in the thick of things they all were cool as cucumbers. As I look back on it, I would say they had a calm confident serenity. They knew they were where they were supposed to be and that they could accept whatever was thrown at them and come out on top.

I can’t change you. But I can be serene in myself and accept you for who you are. And in that I can enjoy you. Now if I take that to a world view I can begin to do the same with this big old crazy world. When I can do that I can enjoy the beauty, wonder and splendor of this great gift called life.

You be the judge, not my normal style but I liked it.

Kind of a cool piece of fruit.

And no I left it just the way it was.
And no I left it just the way it was. | Source

Be careful on this courage thing.

As a generally lazy man I kind of like fear. There I said it. Fear can justify me doing nothing. Let someone else deal with distasteful or hard things. Just like most things that I ask God for, I eventually get them in some form and courage is no different. I write for a living. And quite often I have fear of publishing or submitting something I have written. When I ask for the courage to move forward I get it and there is no excuse anymore. Now that is a small deal, but it illustrates that this notion is not just about great big scary things but about our day to day lives.

Our comfort zone is something that we develop ourselves and usually come to nurture and protect. Stepping outside that zone takes some courage. We can immediately notice that in speaking about the things that we can change, we most often are speaking about ourselves. Let us just say we have to deal with and change the way our community deals with the homeless. On a community level the mechanics of change are not that difficult. It has been done before and the blueprints are available for all to see and repeat. Yes, even things like funding are there to be found and obtained. So why don’t we change these circumstances more often, even right now. The answer is in the courage to change. Oh the buildings and services take no courage to change. It is our self that takes the courage to change.

Quite simply put this part of the prayer is; God grant me the courage to change myself.

How about you?

When faced with a situation have you ever sought serenity first?

See results

This looks pretty popular.

This idea called wisdom

It would seem that wisdom is a difficult attribute to grasp. Perhaps I find it easy to ask for wisdom. Also I think it is freely given. Those two parts are not troublesome or problematic. Here is where the difficulty lies. Receiving the gift of wisdom. It is one of those things that the harder we try to get it the harder it gets. For me, I can ask for it but I just have a real hard time waiting for it. It is one of those God’s time things. It comes when it comes and we cannot force it at all. I was blessed enough to be able to obtain a doctorate in my education. I liked school. The harder you worked the more you learned and the more knowledge you had. It was as simple as it gets. But you just cannot go out and achieve wisdom.

Age and experience are no guarantees. Sure eventually we all get smart enough not to stick our hand in the fire and to drive close to the speed limit. But I have met some really old folks who were not wise at all. I have never met a wise person that answered questions quickly, smart yes but wise no. Wisdom, especially that wisdom that tells us when to act and when just to sit still is a hard one. I had an aunt who was just plain wise. And it seems to me that most of her advice to me centered around suggesting that I stop beating my head against the wall and go with the flow.

On the other hand my children and wife seem to think I am wise as they come to me when they have problems. I learned quite some time ago the wisest thing that I can normally do is shut up and listen. So perhaps I do know about wisdom. I know that the wisest thing I can do is be quiet and listen for God, and only then take the next indicated step.

Now this is the mangiest dog I ever did see.

But this dog loved to follow me around and protect me, go figure.
But this dog loved to follow me around and protect me, go figure. | Source

It ends up being all about you.

Well right at this very moment I am serene enough to know that I cannot change the whole world. But I am courageous enough to impart upon you some wisdom that just might make a difference to you. You are not an accident or just a happenstance of nature. Inside and within you is near perfection. There is not another just like you. You are special. You have done really good things in your life and you will do many more. Just by being you you will make a positive change in someone’s life. I can say this with all confidence because I have a deep abiding faith in my fellow children of our creator.

Now it seems to me that the serenity prayer could also be real short. Although there is no real reason to keep our prayers short.

Please Lord let me be and act in Love.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 22 months ago from San Francisco

      funny you should have presented this. guess what I'm working on.

      Thank you for the strength

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 22 months ago from United States

      A wonderful message and beautiful prayer my friend. whonu

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Martin, thank you for coming by. Sometimes coincidences seem like a whole lot more. Good luck.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Whonu, it is good of you to come by and leave such an encouraging note. We are truly blessed to live in a world with many beautiful prayers.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 22 months ago from SW England

      Up and everything but funny; shared too. What a wonderful message. I know it's true because I've come to a similar thought process myself. I'm sometimes too bullish and react too quickly (Taurean!) but I've learnt to look from 'outside' and appraise the situation before reacting. It usually works. I've had to think carefully about a family member lately, what advice to offer and what to do. I could easily become indignant and angry but that does neither the situation nor me any good. A quiet thought process, an acknowledgement that I can't control everything, and measured advice to try to help. The next day always brings a slightly more positive outlook and some resolution.

      You definitely are wise, Eric, and your messages help me so they must help many more and for that I thank you.

      Ann

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 22 months ago from sunny Florida

      Spot on....'...the courage to change'...absolutely...out of our zone and into the muddy, murky waters takes that courage and often when we do, we wonder what all the fuss was about!!!

      I wear a charm on a little bracelet I have that has this prayer on it...serenity is a good way to begin in so many cases.

      Voted up up and away I would have:

      Shared Pinned G+ Tweeted but found no way to do so

      Angels are on the way this morning ps

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 22 months ago

      There is so much great advice here ,Eric I actually excel at seeking serenity , do I always succeed ? No. However I learned a long, long time ago that that is exactly where I have to always begin a difficult journey . And serenity comes in small dozes too occasionally . It can seem to be so elusive and also short lived but if we truly want to succeed in this life thingy ; we need it .great one and thank you :-}.......Ed

    • The Stages Of ME profile image

      The Stages Of ME 22 months ago

      I have one word for this hub, "WOW!" I have never heard the complete prayer, what a difference it makes when you see it in its entirety. I am thankful you have written this. I found beauty and a deeper understanding of self and others in these few words. I love the encouragement you shared at the end the last part is absolutely something to be said to everyone. "You are not an accident or just a happenstance of nature. Inside and within you is near perfection. There is not another just like you. You are special. You have done really good things in your life and you will do many more. Just by being you-you will make a positive change in someone’s life. I can say this with all confidence because I have a deep abiding faith in my fellow children of our creator."

      This is awesome and I will share it with many, Peace and blessing to you always!

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ann, I like the term "walking the talk". You do that. It is a very good thing to see someone practicing a better way. In your example you give me courage to take positive steps to do better. Thank you

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Patricia, I read your latest about your continuing journey. I decided I would pray on it and sleep on it before commenting. And yet here you are this wonderful morning encouraging me on. The angels are swooping in as I write and I love them. Thank you

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ed your serenity is showing through you may want to cover up a bit ;-) Last evening my wife asked me why I was so quiet. I told her I was reveling in my serenity. And I really was. It was bliss. My son got the gist of the exchange, he yelled quite loud and startled me and laughed. We all laughed. If my serenity is based on the quietness of the outside world -- I am in deep trouble.

      Thanks for sharing your remarkable insight with me this morning.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Kathy, you bring light into my kaleidoscope this morning. A jauntier step and a broader smile will greet those I meet today. It is a fine thing you do to let your light shine on others. Thank you

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well you just know this old alcoholic has spoken those words a few times. This is my guiding light in life...so thanks for the reminder on this beautiful Monday.

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 22 months ago from India

      A wonderful and great prayer I would love to recite for my whole life. Eric, the marvelous thoughts expressed here are to be read and reread so as to internalize them deeper into our mind, heart and soul.

      I 'll never claim to have understood these perfect ; these look beyond understanding and very subtle.

      Only grace of the Absolute is capable to instil peace and calm in our lives and not our intellect and experience. I'll love to go through this hub again and again. Thank you for this cool sunday sermon.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 22 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      Peace seems hard to attain but if we learn to accept the things we cannot change it will make our lives more peaceful. I loved the last part of your message. We are not an accident. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made, unique and one of a kind. If we just tap into that and be the best "us" we can be, somehow, someway we can all make a difference.

    • serenityjmiller profile image

      Serenity Miller 22 months ago from Brookings, SD

      Ah yes, the Serenity Prayer... quite literally my namesake. :) Funny how the significance never sank in til I entered 12-step recovery for myself...

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill, I am eternally grateful for the lives this simple prayer has touched and guided into a fullness of life. And you are at the top of the list.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Harish, my dear friend it brings me joy to have you read and add to this hub. I try to do good things repeatedly. Somehow I believe by making them my habit, sooner or later the goodness of them will seep into my fabric. Perhaps if my body does them enough they will eventually touch my soul. You are a constant of encouragement and inspiration.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 22 months ago from The Caribbean

      Your Sunday sermon reaches me at just the right time on a Monday. Thanks for another honest, practical presentation on serenity and courage. Like you, I am helpless without God to achieve any of this. Preach on!

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dana, how right you are. To make positive changes in our world we are well advised to make them in ourselves first. Just my perspective is something I can change and do daily. Thank you for being you.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Serenity it is great to have you visit and let me know. What a really cool name. I think we all need a twelve step program of some sort.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dora, your comment made me reflect on the people I know who seem to have some real serenity. Not a one of them claims to or does do it on their own. Now that is a concept even I can grasp. I really do not need to reinvent the wheel.

    • serenityjmiller profile image

      Serenity Miller 22 months ago from Brookings, SD

      Rumor has it, there's a book out called "The 12 Steps for Everybody." I haven't checked it out yet, but it's on my to-do list. In the meantime, I have non-alcoholic friends who make me want to give them a copy of the Big Book and say, "Here, read this... just cross out the word 'alcohol' and write in the word 'anything.'" :)

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 22 months ago from Victoria, Australia

      A wonderful Sunday sermon. I'm not at all sure that age brings wisdom, perhaps just knowledge of a few more platitudes. I seem to be one of those who love to dash in where angels fear to tread and then wonder why afterwards! I know that prayer and the serenity it can bring after all the self-inflicted turmoil. Well written!

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Serenity, it sure does make one think. I have never met a person that could not benefit from humility. And I have never met a person who went through a twelve step program in earnest who regretted it.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bronwen, a happy day to you. I certainly live in gratitude for prayers like this that seem to let God's light shine in. They seem to mend things that we simply cannot mend ourselves. Thank you for coming by and relating that you know the prayer.

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 22 months ago

      Dear Brother Eric,

      So happy to read the words here that you have been led to impart to us who read. So many truths to the wisdom of your words. Maybe it will be wisdom that is found from them. What really was most enjoyable with this sermon is that you included the fact that God is in control even in those times, when we think he is tending to others in his flock.

      Up, shared= Beautiful, interesting, useful and Blessing it is to read!

      (((((((((((((((( Eric ))))))))))))))))))))))

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Jo, I am happy that you came by to read and comment. My little mind sometimes gets the notion that God is not paying attention TO ME. What foolishness I can come up with on my own. Just now you reminded me that He is right here with me. And oh boy things sure look brighter. I can hardly wait to find out what He has in store for me today! Thanks a bunch you little angel.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 22 months ago from San Diego California

      As usual this was beautiful stuff and you have a humble way of expressing yourself that makes your message all the more powerful.

      I just got home from my Mom's house in Colorado. For six days I led the blissful existence of a child under Mother's protective wing. Now I am back to Southern California reality, and it ain't easy! I will try to find some comfort from your words. Great hub!

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 22 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I have always liked the serenity prayer. In the past, however, I tended to use it as a last resort, after my bull-headed attempts at doing things my own way weren't working. Unfortunately, that is putting things backward! Now that I am "older," I am more prone to look to God for help first, as I am finding that he knows a lot more than I do!

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Mel, why is it that as we get older that we find peace under our mother's roof and little under our wife's roof? Just kidding, kind of. I really enjoyed your piece on the mural conspiracies. Hey! just cuz I am paranoid does not mean they are not following me.

      Welcome to the 90 degree days.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 22 months ago from San Diego California

      I am feeling the heat here in my living room. Where is the @!%# June gloom when you need it? Whoops, I think I just violated every principle listed in your prayer...

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hello Denise, always so good to hear from you. I have a small statue of a bull in my office. Once a preacher friend was visiting and asked if it was like a symbol of a bull market. I told him the truth. It is to remind me just how bull headed I can be some times. My brother gave it to me. Life is good when I follow His lead and not so good under my own command.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Mel, I think I am worse, I going to visit a "friend" I do not really like just because he has air conditioning and a pool.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 22 months ago

      I liked the Godsmack video. I’ve always liked that song. One of my favorite radio stations has played it for years. It isn’t often that we see the complete Serenity Prayer, so thanks for publishing it. The short version has been in my thoughts for years.

      I was reading along and thinking about how you said we can change ourselves even if we can’t change the situation when I thought about some advice a wise spiritual mentor gave me when I was having career problems. She said that I couldn’t do anything about it, so just roll with the flow. Then I came across your wise aunt’s words to that effect. A lot of the times we don’t need to change ourselves, we just need to roll with it.

      Words about wisdom: Wisdom is something you don’t realize you have until someone points it out to you. It is ageless. Some children are wise, even when their parents are not.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      MizBejabbers, thank you for coming by and leaving such a wonderful note. I had forgotten about some small children being wise and serene. But they sure enough are. And you are right it seems to be a spirit thing and not necessarily in their DNA. Interesting.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 20 months ago from Home Sweet Home

      When I face a fear or problem ; I pray first

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 20 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      peachpurple, aren't we truly blessed to have prayer?!

    • Johan Smulders profile image

      Johan Smulders 20 months ago from East London, South Africa

      Serenity only comes when I am enjoying peace. New concept to look for it in battle. Another great hub and I also enjoyed the serenity prayer. Knew the short version but thanks for the longer one. Keep up the good work!

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 20 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Johan, it is good of you to drop by and leave a note. It is such a pleasure to me to share these ideas with others and to learn from them.

    Click to Rate This Article