SERENITY NOW!!! *in my best Kramer or Frank Costanza voice*

I was trying to decide what to post today and one thing kept going through my head, the Serenity Prayer.  Many people who know me know that for a living for the past 13 years I have dealt with individuals that deal with mental illness and substance abuse.  As a result of this and some other personal things I won’t go into I have become pretty familiar with this prayer.

While today I wasn’t probably quite as successful as I would hope on holding on to this prayer I know there are days that my mood and my attitude have been worse.  For me I display addiction and self destruction  through overeating, I mean overeating as in I am completely bloated and full but still stuffing my mouth full of any kind of chocolate, starchy, fried fatty goodness I can find.  I did knowingly eat more than I should have and chose the options that were a bit less healthy (chocolate and peanut butter eggs why must you taunt me this time of year???).  But overall I held fast to this thought: No matter what I do the things around me that are happening are not mine to hold nor mine to control.  It’s hard to see the people you love go through things that they can’t control and know nothing you can do will end or stop or fix it.

Isn’t it amazing how even when we see issues coming, fully realize it will happen it somehow still stops us in our tracks?  We can have someone around us be very ill, terminal even, and yet that moment that we hear they are dead it’s still hits like a ton of bricks.  I’ve seen it over and over and experienced it myself.  So where or how does this prayer fit in?  It’s a reminder that when we try to control the uncontrollable we spend energy that most of us really need to survive; emotional energy and physical energy both.  Here is the prayer and I want you to read it carefully, because most of us know the short version, but the full version is so much more beautiful.

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.
Amen.

–Reinhold Niebuhr

I know that not everyone believes in God, that is your choice and I am sure you have your reasons I don’t want to argue that.  Focus on this “living one day at a time, enjoying on moment at a time, accepting hardships as the pathway to peace”, WOW!  And “taking this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it (let’s face even though I think I should be the queen of the world I am clearly not cut out for it) trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will, that I may be reasonably happy in this life”.  In other words, help me to enjoy the days as they come and not focus on MAKING things perfect, but accepting that things (WE) are imperfect so that I can find peace and happiness.  When we mess up our focus and try to control things, or fix things, be perfect all the time, or get back at people we give up our peace and happiness.

What a relief to know and to accept that this is not our job!  A relief that means I don’t have to seek out things to MAKE me “happy”.  Addiction at it’s root is a desire to numb ourselves from something, life, people, the past, days that end in Y, whatever.  The message in this prayer is that I no longer need to do that, I can focus on today and doing “the next right thing”  I can accept that hardships are a part of life.  I can realize that the fried fatty goodness I smell driving past McBurgerQueensBox really won’t make me feel better and won’t fix the problems in my life or those around me.  Comfort foods only provide comfort in the moments between when we eat them and then regret them.  The same is true for shopping, relationships, drugs, alcohol, you name it we (I) can over do it. 

So that is my peace for now, for today, for this moment knowing that I don’t have to try and control everything. Recognizing I don’t really want to control it anyway, and that I need wisdom and courage to do what I can and know the difference.  I can’t control hurt and pain, but I can control what I choose to put into my body.  I can control my efforts to be healthier, the outcomes maybe I can’t control because illness is a part of that, but I can get the wisdom to know the difference.  I hope you have a great night and a great Friday and here is a little bit of humor for the evening.

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