I can’t change you. I can change me.

I’ve decided to blog… hopefully consistently…. because I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m a sharer.

By sharer, I mean that a joyful discovery isn’t fully  joyful for me unless I can share it with someone. If I love a book, I pass it on. If I enjoy music, I recommend it to a friend. If I have an aha! moment, I eagerly spill it out to someone who will relish it too. So why not toss my words/thoughts/discoveries onto a blog? One person might read it. Four persons might read it. No persons might read it. But I get to share, nonetheless. And I like the thought of that. So away we go…

I titled this post “I can’t change you. I can change me.” because I’ve been praying the following words a dozen times a day (at least) these past two days. I’d recommend these words to anyone:

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.

Those four lines are poignant.   For me.   In this season of life.

It’s like this: I too often find myself frantically attempting to control what was never mine to control (and will never be mine to control), while neglecting areas of my own heart that are my God-given responsibility to steward and control. In simpler terms: I find myself trying to change the people around me, focusing on what they are and aren’t doing, how I want them to view me or treat me, and how they’re living their lives. This attempt to control others is a bona fide recipe for internal chaos… fertile soil for crops of jealously, strife, anxiety, despair, and resentment. And when my eyes are glued to the people around me, expecting things from them, working subtle manipulation on them, or competing with and comparing myself against them, I am left with hardly any energy or time to live my life fully, freely, and fearlessly.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” … Translated for me this means: God, help me genuinely accept people, my friends, my family… Help me love them as they are not as I want them to be. Help me surrender my fictitious right to control them. Set them free in my heart from the tyranny of relational control. And in it’s place give me the liberty of loving them in full acceptance, in a spirit of gentle grace, the way You love me.

“…courage to change the things I can…” God, turn my eyes towards the One essential thing, the vertical relationship of You and me. Transform me, empower me, and embolden as I choose to obey Your Word, linger in it, and make my heart’s home in it.

“… and wisdom to know the difference…” God, show me what you’ve given me to steward, to cultivate, and to control in my own life. Then help me to do so. Help me to clearly distinguish the boundary between my realm of stewardship and the “realm of release”–i.e. everything outside of myself (people and circumstances) that is not mine to control or change.

Praying this way is powerful. It’s like taking a deep breath and then letting out a slow, satisfying exhale. The fate of the world (and those around me) is not in my hands. Thank God.

I can’t change you. I can change me.

God, grant me the serenity, courage, and wisdom to do so.

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