To Accept the Things I Cannot Change

By on August 5, 2012
Under the Sunflowers by Robert Duncan

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.

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–Reinhold Niebuhr

Isn’t the poetry above beautiful? Most of us know the first stanza but true peace is found through that which follows. I had never read it before until I searched for the author’s name.

I was sharing with a friend recently that I’ve been practicing “to accept the things I cannot change”. I so want to fly out and take part in a special time of teaching and fellowship in her home but even the thought of packing wears me out.

Of course, there is a fine balance between hope, faith, and acceptance. I hope some circumstances will improve but I have faith that God is in control… so I can accept what comes my way and depend on Him to help me live with any limitations.

Even St. Paul had a thorn in the flesh which our Lord told him he must learn to accept. If it all depended on our faith, I don’t think there were too many people between Genesis and Maps that had more faith than the man who wrote much of the New Testament.

There is a freedom that comes in “having done all, stand” and “accepting”. I personally have found it takes as much faith to accept God’s will as it does to believe for whatever is the need… finances, healing, provision… rain.

Learning to accept God’s will in our life is not a popular sermon topic these days. One of the reasons I love reading books about Jonathan and Sarah Edwards (as well as his sermons) was the acceptance in the theology of that generation that God’s will is not always the same as our wants.

I have found with accepting comes freedom as He can then begin to give me wisdom about any situation I am facing. For instance, once I accepted Christopher’s behavior was from severe ADHD, I gained wisdom and guidance… not to mention lots of advice which I had to filter through for the good and not-so-good.

With acceptance came the decision to remove Christopher from the Public Schools and homeschool for a year or two. He excelled at home after a year so we put him back into his old school. He was once again a square peg in a round hole and drugged to keep him quiet in class.

So… we brought him home for good! If I hadn’t accepted that he was smart but severely ADHD, my husband and I would have never known the joy (and hard work!) we experienced in homeschooling.

We have watched him blossom from a boy labeled as stupid and a troublemaker (due to his extreme hyperactivity in childhood) to the young man he is today experiencing academic success, excellent job opportunities, and the loveliest of wives.

Acceptance does not mean rolling over, playing dead, and staying on the sofa until the dust settles. While I pray for a miracle of healing, each day I also accept the physical limitations which greet me and I have learned how to meet goals in spite of them (much the same way Christopher has learned to work with distractions while studying by wearing headphones).

Some goals are met by working on them a little at a time like reorganizing and redesigning Christopher’s room, organizing the garage (the heat has put that off), and even designing and planting a garden. All of these goals were met over months and years… and hopefully will continue in years to come.

Sometimes I have to set aside the everyday To Do list as I did these past few days to finish writing deadlines… or there would have been no Saturday Pantry post, no Sunday Afternoon Tea, and no Mom Heart post. Which was why it took me over an hour to catch up on dishes last night!  (Hubby helped by getting his own meals for two days.)

I always have to face limitations with reality… such as not traveling to be with other Mom Heart writers in Colorado. Then there are times I have to push through fear and fatigue as when we travel to New England or to meet our family elsewhere such as Colonial Williamsburg.

It is never easy for me to do this but it always results in a joyful experience. I have to face the challenges which come with any traveling to be a part of my grandchildren’s childhood years.  They are growing up so fast. 

So… it is time to meet another week with that fine line ahead of Acceptance… in combination with Faith… and Trust… and Hope. When I am tempted towards fear and apprehension, I will remember that I reside under the Shelter of the Almighty who is the Rock I hold onto when I start to falter. He promises to keep me from stumbling and falling.

I want… at the end of my journey on this planet… to have it be said “she finished well”.

Picture Credit:  Under the Sunflowers by Robert Duncan

Originally posted on Coffee Tea Books and Me.

About Brenda Nuland

Brenda is a Midwestern wife, mother, and grandmother who loves to write about living a life of faith, books, tea time, decorating, frugal living ideas, homeschooling, and everything having to do with making life more beautiful - especially in the midst of difficult circumstances. Her blog:

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To Accept the Things I Cannot Change