Serenity Through Acceptance

Serenity Prayer

It never ceases to amaze me what circumstances God can–and does–use to speak to His children.  For instance, He spoke to me the other morning through my impatience with another’s lack of willingness to try to understand and accept yet another.  Confused?  Allow me to explain…

A dear friend has an ongoing internal struggle with what he feels is the absence of his parents’ acceptance.  It doesn’t matter what he does or what his children accomplish, he feels as though he’s always living in the shadow of his brother and his brother’s family.  Try as he may, and he tries desperately, he cannot get what he’s needing from them.  In fact, more than needing, but rather craving.

It wasn’t long ago that I felt like the black sheep of my family as well, and in fact, had for most of my life.  It wasn’t until I learned serenity and peace come through acceptance, that I was able to let go and see my role in the play.  In fact, it was the lead role.   While I spent endless years feeling sorry for myself because I was “misunderstood,” and “not accepted for who I was,” all it did was make the chip on my shoulder–and in my attitude– that much heavier, driving those who loved me further away while I acted unlovable.

God let me know that I wasn’t trying to understand and accept them as they were, either.  I was expecting from others what I wasn’t willing to give.  He taught me that I cannot change anyone else, but only accept and love them.  I can, however, change my attitude and perspective.  And He gave me the wisdom to know the difference.

When God gave me the wisdom and the strength to let go of that burden and give it to Him, I felt a freedom I had never known.

So I thought I had figured it out and I was good to go.  But God wasn’t done teaching me the full lesson yet.  Either that or I’m a slow learner. ūüôā

The other morning, when I found myself frustrated yet again with my friend who continues to struggle for something he may likely never receive, God showed me I still wasn’t practicing acceptance.  I wanted my friend to feel something other than what he was feeling, and that wasn’t fair.  Who was I to expect him to feel what I thought he should be feeling?

God told me I don’t have a right to expect anyone to be anything other than who they are.

It’s better to lovingly meet people where they are, as they are, and pray for God to bring them peace how He sees fit.  After all, He is our Creator.  He knows what each of us needs better than any of us can begin to understand.

Since my friend’s parents haven’t always been this way, changing as they age, as we all will, I pray he can meet them where they are, as they are, realizing they aren’t the parents of his youth, and likely won’t ever be again.  I pray he can stop expecting what they cannot give, and appreciate what they can–and have given.

Serenity prayer?

I’ve learned that when I spend time with my heavenly Father, truly listening to Him rather than speaking at Him, is when I learn the greatest lessons.  I pray my friend can learn why he’s needing the acceptance and validation from outside, when he has everything he needs from the Father of all.

I’ve learned to try enjoy another in peace rather than struggle to change them, for it isn’t my place to change another or expect anything from another, but only to love. I pray he finds that same peace.

I wish I could say I’m successful all of the time, but that would be far from the truth.  But since God has shown me what is best for me to do, it’s my job to work at it.  As I once heard, God will move mountains, but he expects us to bring a shovel.

I pray God continues to use every opportunity to teach me lessons that lead me closer to Him.

We are all a gift and blessing to one another.  I pray we not be dissatisfied with the gifts He gives, but appreciate them.

All is Grace.

The Journey

The street sign for "I Dream of Jeannie L...

The street sign for “I Dream of Jeannie Lane” in Cocoa Beach, Florida (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I remember when I was younger and our family¬†would¬†embark on¬†a road trip, a car ride that could last five minutes or five hours, ¬†my sisters and I¬†would sing¬†a chorus that consisted of¬† “Are we there yet?” And “How much longer until we’re there?” ¬†¬†Wherever “there” happened to be.

My patient parents would offer words to pacify us for as long as they were able.  Until one of us started the trio again. Often times it became a solo.  Apparently, my voice felt the need to be heard more frequently, demanding immediate arrival.

In fact, I had often wished I were Samantha from the TV Show Bewitched, so I could wriggle my pointed little nose and POOF!   We would instantly arrive.  Or Barbara Eden in I Dream of Jeannie.  All it would take would be to cross my arms in front of me, close my eyes, nod my head, and the magic of time travel would have happened in the blink of an eye.

Instead, I irritated my sisters to no end belting out the same few words to a single song over and over¬† and over.¬† I remember especially liking the song “Delta Dawn,” much to my sisters’ dismay. Or “This Little Light of Mine.”¬† They didn’t seem to mind that one as much so it usually wasn’t as much fun.

Yes, I realize I’m dating myself, revealing that somewhere along that journey I wished away my youth into someone somewhat…older. ¬†Though I prefer to call it seasoned¬†rather than older.

The point being, things haven’t changed a whole lot. Except the age factor.¬† But I won’t get caught up in such minor details.

I still find myself impatiently waiting for the red light to turn green.

For the following week to finally arrive landing me a day off from work.

When that day off finally arrives, I watch the clock for a certain time of the day that a certain fun event is scheduled to happen.

Or eagerly waiting for winter to turn into the rebirth of spring, then into the warm lazy days of summer that turn out to be not very lazy at all.¬† In fact, before I know it I’m falling into the trees turned yellow, red, and the beauty that is my favorite season of all.

And it’s there I wish I could linger a little longer.¬† Have a little more time to walk, breathing in the smells of the fall air, listening to the leaves crunch beneath my shoes, coming in from a cool, brisk afternoon of outdoor fun to be greeted by the warm, comforting aroma of a roast in the crockpot wafting toward me as I open the door.

Autumn

Autumn (Photo credit: blmiers2)

And then its the excitement of the first snow.¬† And¬† the cycle begins its…cycle.

As I become more seasoned in life, I’m learning instead of waiting for time to fly by at a red light, I¬†can take¬†advantage of that rare moment when time stands still.¬† When I don’t have anything demanding my immediate attention, and listen to an audio book.¬† Or offer up a prayer for a friend in need.¬† Or a prayer of thanksgiving for all of the good things I have that don’t get the attention they deserve when I’m so busy.

I’m learning,¬†heaven forbid,¬† that I can actually¬†sit in silence. ¬†Paying attention to each slow, easy breath.¬† Enjoying the bird that flies right in front of my window, free.

I’m beginning to learn that I enjoy sitting still.¬† And silence.¬† And sitting still in silence.

I’m becoming aware of all of the opportunities I have in which to pay God the reverence due.

Trusting that I am exactly where God wants me to be at that exact moment in time.

In the dead cold of winter, I’m learning to focus on the purity of the white snow, appreciating the warmth of the sun on my face, or the way the sun¬†makes the snow sparkle crystals, looking like a layer of diamonds strewn across the backyard.

I’m learning that I’ve never truly arrived at the destination, because the destination I set keeps changing.

Rather, it’s about the journey.

As I get…seasoned…in life, I become aware of my surroundings exactly where I am, doing exactly what I’m doing, and appreciate that I am there.¬† At that exact moment.¬† With an opportunity to experience that exact moment in life.

To practice perseverance through an ongoing trial.

I’m learning that it’s in the journey that we truly live, experiencing the flair and tasting the flavor of life.

It’s in the journey that memories are made, obstacles overcome, lessons learned.

Heaven

Heaven (Photo credit: adyyflickr)

And it’s in the journey that I learn to truly enjoy the living.¬† The living that prepares me for my ultimate destination.

The only destination I need ever to strive for. Home with God.

Peace to You.