To change and grow takes time.
When I first came to support meetings and saw the healthy happy people around me and saw the value of the steps, I decided that I was going to give my best effort and be healthy and happy too. I did not understand “easy does it”. I was positive that I could get through the steps in a couple months, grow and be a new person.
But, I quickly became exasperated with how long each step took to complete. Frustration came quickly when I easily fell back into old ways when I knew a better way now. This frustration led to a feeling of depression. Then I heard others talk more about being gentle with themselves and about how change takes time.
I know that I developed bad habits and negative ways of dealing with things over my lifetime. I should not expect to change and react in happy healthy ways immediately. As I open my mind to being more flexible, and apply the lessons I am learning to my life, I will change and grow. I will be gentle with myself and everything and everyone around me and remember “easy does it”.
All of us have them. Sometimes my problems seem overwhelming to me! They are all I can think of. They monopolize all of my time, energy and thoughts.
I need to think about and pray about my difficulties to find solutions. But, when my thoughts start to go around in circles, my problems can take over my whole life. When I dwell on my trials they become bigger and bigger. They seem bigger than they really are. When I look around me and see others and their difficulties, then my difficulties shrink. When I serve others around me and especially when I can help others with their problems, then my problems shrink back to normal size and my life is richer and brighter.
I’m sure God does not look at my problems the same way that I do. He might see them as lessons to learn or obstacles to overcome and strengthen me. My attitude really affects my difficulties. If I can look at my trials as stepping stones back to my Heavenly Father, then I remember to ask God what He wants me to learn. When I do this, sometimes they don’t even look like problems anymore, they look more like opportunities and even blessings. “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are”.
God is my example.
God is so patient, loving and kind with me! He waits for me to see and understand. He gives me many blessings and is patient with my ungratefulness. God loves me no matter what I have done or said or thought. He forgives me of my many mistakes and sins and waits for me to change. He patiently waits for me to ask before giving me His advice, guidance and counsel.
I see God’s example of patience, love and kindness towards me. I notice my impatience toward others and strive to patiently allow them their freedom. Sometimes I react with anger towards others when they don’t behave as I would like. I can stop and try to love unconditionally. I notice when I look the other way or react unkindly to others and work on being kind even when I’m tired or busy.
Now I see that I’m being impatient, unloving and unkind towards myself! As I see how God treats me, I remember that I am His child and I deserve patience, love and kindness even from myself.
God shows me how to be patient, loving and kind towards myself and others. As I try to follow His example I feel more joy, serenity and peace.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”.
What is Serenity?
What is serenity? Serenity is not freedom from chaos, hardship or trials. Serenity comes from God. It is the feeling I get when I am seeking God, trying to do His will and trying to follow Christ. It can be there amid chaos, hardship and trials or even when these things worsen.
What are the things I cannot change?
What are the things I cannot change? The things I cannot change are other people, places and things. Most often I need to “mind my own business”.
What can I change?
What are the things I can change? When I remember to “mind my own business”, I remember that my own business is myself. I am the only person I can change. I can get to know myself – what I like and don’t like, what I like to do, what I care about, what I want to learn and how I want to grow. When I take care of myself, I make sure I’m eating right and getting enough sleep and exercise. I can take time to create, write, dance, sing, make music or whatever helps me to feel alive. My own responsibilities take time and I can let others handle (or not handle) their own. I can develop and work on my relationships with God, with my family members, with those in my support group and others. It is full time work to take care of myself – to change the things I can!
How can I know the difference?
What is wisdom to know the difference? I think part of that is realizing that there are some things that I could change, but that I should not change. God will help me to know what to change, how to make things better, what to get rid of and what to add. Sometimes I forget that I cannot change other people and interfere too much in their lives. This prayer helps me remember to focus on myself.