In Others’ Words: The “More” of the Serenity Prayer

Serenity prayer 2016

You have Facebook to thank for today’s blog post.

Specifically, you have my friend Kim Henson to thank. She posted the complete version of the Serenity Prayer on her Facebook page last week, saying she hadn’t known there was more to the prayer except what we so often hear — or say to ourselves. Like Kim, I’d never heard the second segment of the well-known prayer. But once I read it, I wanted to share it with you:

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;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.

Amen.

Most of the prayer reads like much-needed reminders — to not rush through life, to not demand that life conform to my expectations, to not set my hopes and happiness on here and now but rather on eternity.

But there was one phrase that gave me pause: Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace …

I’m mulling over those seven words even as I write this post. Hardships? The pathway to peace? The pathway to frustration, more likely.The pathway to disappointment. How can the hardships I face ever develop peace within me? They can’t  … they never will … unless I allow hardships to change me.

Unless I  stop putting me in the middle of the hardship and start looking for God in the midst of the trial.

Unless I stop insisting on what I want to happen and start looking for what God is doing.

Unless I realize that the struggle is the process God is using to change me … because maybe something I am doing is making the whole situation all the harder.

And yes, everything I just wrote is applicable to a specific hardship in my life right now.

In Your Words: What part of the second half of the Serenity Prayer spoke to you today? How have you experienced hardships as the pathway to peace?

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9 Comments

  1. March 15, 2016, 4:45 am   /  Reply

    There are some hardships I’ve lived through where I clung to God. I clung to my Bible and listened for his voice. I got through two major hardships moment by moment, day by day, month by month clinging to God. I did come out with a closer relationship to God, so it was worth it. When I think back on those dark days, I’m not bitter because I love God.

    I’ll pray for you Beth.

    • March 15, 2016, 8:50 am   /  Reply

      Thank you, Jackie. I appreciated your words about clinging to God through hardships. I know I’m not the only one facing challenges and I also know that I also have much to be thankful for during these times, too.

  2. March 15, 2016, 7:07 am   /  Reply

    Beth, I never knew there was more to the serenity prayer than the first part. Thank you for sharing it. That same line challenged me. What you shared as you elaborated was spot on. When we allow the trial to change us, or rather for God to change us through the trial, then we learn how to walk on the pathway to peace.

    I’m walking on a small trail of hard right now. I’m learning God’s truth and leaning into the things He wants to work in me. Dying to self is never easy. But I know the work He’s doing will bear fruit, in due time.

    Praying for you, friend.

    • March 15, 2016, 8:51 am   /  Reply

      Jeanne: It’s true that God changes us through trials, not when we opt for the EXIT door. Wise words, my friend.

  3. March 15, 2016, 8:28 am   /  Reply

    I love, love, love the second part to this prayer. The sentence you focused on is my favorite. It offers comfort when I’m not feeling it.

    Praying for you, Beth. Hugs and much love.

    • March 15, 2016, 8:51 am   /  Reply

      Thank you for sharing the rest of the Serenity Prayer, Kim. Like you said, it’s my favorite part.

  4. March 15, 2016, 9:06 am   /  Reply

    Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace…as I think about that, I remember hardships when God encased me in a bubble. The pain was no less, but as I depended on Him, I experienced that peace that is beyond understanding.

    Like others, I didn’t know there was more to the Serenity Prayer. Thanks for sharing.

  5. March 15, 2016, 10:00 am   /  Reply

    I would have answered this question differently twelve hours ago, but on the other side of a night I would prefer not to recall, let alone describe, I don’t know what to say. It was a beasting; there was nothing redeeming there.

    It is said that pain is a teacher; sometimes true, I suppose. But there are times when it’s simply something to be endured, and on the other side one can only lie on the floor, spent. And that can be the sum and QED of grace.

    • March 15, 2016, 1:09 pm   /  Reply

      Andrew: I don’t that I or anyone can truly understand the hardships you face day to day. And I think you have made peace with who are you are now … even as you fight day to day. And I also think you have discovered things about yourself — truths — that you never knew. You’ve certainly taught me things. Praying for you.

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