A Pair-of-Docs: The Serenity Prayer #2 What Can I Change?


A Pair-of-Docs: The Serenity Prayer #2 What Can I Change?


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.



The ingredients for a life of serenity, that internal state of being calm, at peace, and untroubled, is not a call to passivity, but a call to action changing what can be changed and spending little time if any thinking about things you cannot change. 


“A state of inward serenity requires that you “identify and separate matters so that you can say clearly to yourself which are externals not under your control, and which have to do with the choices you actually control.”  (Epictetus, Manual for Living)  


Out of Your Control


          What other people do.

                   Their self-care

                   Their reactions to you

                   Their thoughts about you

                   Their attempts to manipulate you.

                    You can’t control if a person likes or dislikes you.


In Your Control


What you ruminate upon (controlling what you think about)


What you think directly influences how you feel and how you behave.


Philippians 4:8 (MSG)

… I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.


What you say to yourself (self-talk)


You have an internal dialogue going on all the time.  What are you telling yourself?  Are you positive and optimistic about your self or are you beating yourself down with the negative aspects of your life.

Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.


Your attitude (be like Jesus, be positive)


What life does to us in the long run depends upon what life finds in us…So the thing that matters is not what happens to you, but what you do with it after it does happen to you.” (E Stanley Jones, Victorious Living, p. 227)


Philippians 2:1-4 (MSG)

If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. 4 Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.


Your perception of events.


Perception is merely a lens or mindset from which we view people, events, and things.”  The way you see events becomes your reality. "Perception molds, shapes, and influences our experience of our personal reality” (How your perception is your reality, according to psychologists | Well+Good (wellandgood.com).


James 1:2 & 4 (MSG)

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.


What you say to others


The way we speak to others determines much about what is in our heart.  We build others up by our words of encouragement to them.  If we are always tearing others down and speaking negatively about them we will never truly value people.  In order for God’s Spirit to soar within us we have to speak to others the way God would speak to others.   (How Do You Talk To Others? | John Barrett Blog)

Colossians 4:6 (MSG)

Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.


How you treat others.


How you treat others is a reflection of who you are, your inner disposition towards yourself.


Galatians 6:10 (NLT)

… whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone …


Titus 3:3-5 (MSG) It wasn't so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back. But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that.


Avoiding drama


A person seeking attention can use drama to immerse you into their story.  It is exhausting

and stressful.


Drama doesn’t just walk into your life out of nowhere, you either create it, invite it, or associate with people that bring it.”   (25 Helpful Bible Verses About Drama (biblereasons.com))


Proverbs 26:17 (MSG)

You grab a mad dog by the ears when you butt into a quarrel that's none of your business.


What you do


You are in control of your behavior.  What you do is up to you.


2 Peter 1:5-7 (NIV)

make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.


Colossians 3:23 (MSG) Work from the heart for your real Master, for God ...




When you focus on what you can’t control, you waste time and energy and destroy your serenity.


Trying to control or change what isn’t within your control will only drain your energy and leave you in torment. What you can control is how you perceive a situation, how you react to it, and how you respond.  Always Choose to Focus on What is Within Your Control — OMAR ITANI


When you’re faced with a problem, the first step you should take is to identify the source and cause of the problem and whether the problem is out of your control or within your control.  If the problem is within your control, come up with possible solutions and options for handling the problem. Weigh all the facts, evaluate all your options, make the best decision possible, and then take action. Identify Things You Can And Cannot Control | Performance Property | Gerald Lucas


Stop trying to control what you cannot.  Self-control is hard enough.  Your in control of what you think about, what you say to yourself, your attitude, your perception of events, what you say and how you treat others and what you do. 


Controlling all that is in your control, letting all you can’t control go, activates serenity in your life.


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