It’s easy to fall into the habit of simply mouthing the words to familiar Scripture verses, slogans, or prayers such as The Lord’s Prayer or The Serenity Prayer instead of carefully pondering the words. When I really think about what I’m praying, I often find one special phrase jumps out, such as “accept the things I cannot change,” or “thy will, not my will,” or “let go, let God” or “accepting this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it” Somehow Focusing on a phrase helps me gain some insights into myself and what I can actually do to help myself.
Acceptance is one of the most important skills we can acquire, not because acceptance allows us to opt out or stop caring, but because acceptance is essential to any meaningful problem-solving. How can we detach, change something, gain insights, or develop new awareness if we refuse to accept the reality of our situation? How can we discern what options we might discover if we insist this is happening instead of that? As one of the Al-Anon readings says, “The Serenity Prayer suggests I ask God ‘for the courage to change the things I can.” The word is things, not people. True, there is much room for improvement in my life, but it can come only from changing my own attitudes and actions for the better. In every problem, great and small, the Serenity Prayer will work for me if I keep aware of its meaning every time I say it.”