If you have participated in a recovery program, such as AA, NA, or Celebrate Recovery, you are likely familiar with the Serenity Prayer. Often said at the end of a meeting, this prayer is meant to refocus those in recovery on their Higher Power or, more specifically, God. The Serenity Prayer reminds us that we are powerless on our own and are in need of God’s help in recovery. But how do we take the words of this prayer and apply them to our daily lives? Let’s look at what serenity means and the impact it has on your recovery.
“When I finally understood the difference between things inside and outside of my control, I began to experience a life characterized by peace.”
Living in a state of serenity guides us towards acceptance, courage, and wisdom. Serenity is characterized by a state of peace, and the first section of this prayer outlines a pathway to feeling calm despite circumstances. Life is full of uncertainties and things we can’t control, and accepting this helps limit sources of frustration. However, there are times when we have the ability to change aspects of our lives.
When that is the case, it takes courage to pursue a different path. In recovery, we are striving to make positive changes to better ourselves, but that’s not an easy choice to make. It takes strength from God to alter our ingrained habits. We also need wisdom to differentiate between the things we can and cannot change. If we spend our energy trying to resolve situations outside of our control, we only set ourselves up for disappointment and frustration. Asking God for guidance in determining areas we can shift our thinking or behavior ultimately sets us on a path toward serenity.
Serenity by Living in the Moment
“I spent so much of my life worried about the things I did in my past and what may come in the future. I didn’t realize how much this affected my ability to appreciate what was in front of me.”
Anxiety is rooted in a fear of the future, and depression is a negative focus on events of the past. Living life outside of the present moment creates an opportunity for negative emotions to take hold of our lives. It’s a natural desire to plan for the future or look forward to things coming up in life. But this focus can prevent us from seeing the positive things in our present lives. Similarly, we all have done or experienced things in the past that stick with us. While it’s important to process through and make amends for our past, dwelling on those thoughts and experiences inhibits our appreciation of the good of today and keeps us from true serenity.
Serenity in Trusting God
“I thought I trusted God to make right the wrongs in the world, but I often found myself taking matters into my own hands.”
Since the Garden of Eden, sin has been an unfortunate reality in the world we live in. Living in a sinful world means there is a continual battle between good and evil, and we rarely have control over these forces. While we make choices daily based on what we believe to be right, God gave everyone the ability to choose if they will pursue a path of righteousness. Unfortunately, there will be many people who decide to live a life guided by selfish desires, and this can negatively affect us. Serenity comes when we are willing to put our trust in God and believe that he will make all things right in His time. When we are hurt by someone, it’s easy to want to seek out personal justice. While there are times when this is legally necessary, in other moments, God may be asking us to trust His sovereignty.
“I know that even my most joyful moments pale in comparison to the true happiness found in eternal life.”
When you think about a joyful memory in your life, you may remember time spent with family, a new job or home, a wedding, or the birth of a child. These moments can bring a level of happiness and serenity you may have never experienced before. It might even feel like life couldn’t get any better than what you felt at that time. Those feelings tend to fade over time, despite our best efforts to preserve the memories, and we wait for the next pivotal experience. Our happiness on earth can last despite circumstances, but even the happiest events in life can’t compare to the pure joy available to us in the Kingdom of God. This hope we have for our future comes when we are willing to surrender our desires to God and allow Him to have control over our lives. When we pursue a life surrendered to Him, we experience serenity unlike anything we have ever known before.
Serenity in Recovery
Living a life dedicated to recovery will bring challenges. There are going to be things outside of your control and hardships that come your way. As you navigate the path toward sobriety, you may feel overwhelmed by the road ahead. At Celebrate Hope, we provide the support you need to achieve and maintain your sobriety, rooted in the hope of Christ. Our faith-based addiction treatment center in Orange County, California allows you to address the root issues related to your substance use disorder both in individual and group settings. If you’re looking for a rehab experience where faith is an integral part of your healing, contact us today.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The Origin of the Serenity Prayer: A Historical Paper. Reviewed July 30, 2009.