i actually started out writing this post in response to a song a i heard on the radio the other day, but it kind of turned into something else, which i believe is a God-thing (as i like to say sometimes)...i'll write about that next time

in other news, i hate packing...

it's true...no matter how excited i am about where i'm going on a trip to (even if i was going to the moon), i despise it

packing always entails being organized...having a gigantic list of what to pack, not to mention things to do before you can pack, like laundry, charging the video camera, going to the store to buy a ton of stuff for the trip and running a million other little errands, cleaning the house, making arrangements for pets, etc, etc...

organizing things is not something i am always good at, but something that is absolutely required for me to exist and function on a day to day basis...without my dry-erase board on the fridge of things to do, people to call, places to go, i wouldn't make it...seriously...thankfully i have a husband who is actually GOOD at organizing, so he helps tremendously when it comes to getting ready for a big trip

as a graduation gift for Paul (and sort-of a second honeymoon for us both), our family and friends bought us a cruise vacation to the Western Carribean, specifically Cozumel...i have been to the Riviera Maya before and i've seen Tulum and Cancun and that whole area, but i only got to see the island of Cozumel from the shore...i never actually stepped foot on it, but how i wanted to! now we get to go...its pretty crazy to think that only 5 months ago, we were in Belize on a tropical vacation for our honeymoon, and a week ago we were in Knoxville, TN on a paid-for by the Guard conference trip...and now this...God has really used people in our lives to bless our socks off...without their help, none of the trips we've taken would have been possible...if you're reading this, and you helped with any of these trips, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

but as i was saying...no matter how much fun i know i will have on a vacation, i can never get excited about it until i'm there, and the craziness of getting ready to go is over...i wish i was more calm about it, i really do...but that's a part of me i can't change myself, and if God so desires, i know He'll keep helping me with that, and eventually change it

there's a saying/prayer that a lot of people, even those who don't follow Christ, like to use...it goes like this:

O God and Heavenly Father,
Give us grace with serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed;

the courage to change that which can be changed,
and the wisdom to know the one from the other,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

i can't tell you how many myspace pages i come to where people have this on their "about me" section or somewhere else...but nobody ever has the rest of the prayer...did you know there was more to it? there is, and it goes like this:

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 and ever in the next.

the Alcoholics Anonymous group, which is the most common place this prayer is heard, has modified the prayer quite a bit...they have completely taken out the second half of the prayer, and they have changed the first part to say:

God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

as you can see, they omitted the words grace, mind, and through Jesus Christ our Lord...

they also added in there the big letter I...what I cannot change...what I can change, etc, etc...this is what gets me the most about the changing of the prayer...placing the duty of change in the human's hands, instead of a Power or Authority much higher to be the agent of change...the problem with this is that we (humans) are not capable of real change, a permanent change...in actuality, if you look at the statistics, there are very, very few people who come out of Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step programs who don't return to alchohol some time or another later on...now this is not to say that that these programs don't work at all...i know of people who were able to defeat the demon of alcoholism through this program...but these people also gave the credit to God, and allowed HIM to be the agent of change

perhaps my favorite part of this prayer is in the second half, which says Trusting that He will make all things right, if I surrender to His Will

never in the original prayer does it say that changing oneself is up to the person needing the change...it is up to God, for us to leave in His hands, "TRUSTING that HE will make all things right, IF we surrender to HIS will..."

it is God who knows the parts of us that need change, and it is only Him who can truly change us from the inside out...all we have to do is surrender those things to Him, and allow Him to do His work, all the while trusting Him to do it...
the amazing thing about God is that although He never changes (for He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, always), He is the only one stable enough to be an agent of change...humans aren't capable of being stable long enough to be an agent of change...we are always changing, but when it comes to a change that needs to be made permanently, we are basically hopeless without Him...we cannot do it on our own

this is what i have done when it comes to my mania/fear of packing for trips and getting stressed out...it is what i have done when it comes to the previous post i wrote about people that i care for and worry about constantly...and it is what i have done when it comes to Paul leaving for Iraq in 2 1/2 months...these are things that i absolutely cannot change, but i know that if the Lord, who knows what is best in every situation, desires to change the circumstances, people, and me, He most definitely will

today, what are you trying to change about yourself, your life, your sitation? how many times have you tried to change the problem before? are you still trying to fix the problem, when God is the only Solution???

allow HIM to take control of yourself, your life and situations in it that you cannot change yourself...in time, He will make all things right unto Himself


Erin said...

Amen sister!!

Ginger said...

I have a hard time with change but it is the one thing that I seek the most. I came to your blog from a friend of mine. I loved your answer regarding calling God Abba Father, that is where I am now but so desire to learn to call Him Papa. Have fun on your trip and I pray that packing done quickly! Be blessed.

Kate said...

I'm fascinated with the original version of Niebuhr's prayer. I'm also really fascinated with his male language for God. The United Church of Christ must have forgotten this.

Great, great post!