These past few months I have begun to wonder if I may have some undiagnosed bipolar symptoms. My emotions seem to be on a grand roller coaster ride. One day I am feeling on top of the world, ready to take on any challenge; and the next feeling totally defeated and worthless, looking for a way to run and hide. Yesterday was one of those days I wanted to throw in the towel, as I let my emotions flow unchecked by the truth. The odd part was I had a wonderful Mother’s Day, the day before and felt truly blessed. But interwoven in my thoughts were some unresolved situations that are demanding my attention. The difference today is I am back on top and ready to handle life and I really can’t tell you why one day is so different from the next.
So here we go into my thoughts for today: as I was waking up this morning, thinking and praying about my feelings and what I should be doing or saying, I had one of those “aha” moments, as the Holy Spirit nudged me to contemplate the famous Serenity Prayer. This is what I realized:
- God is my “go to”. If I need serenity (peace), courage, or wisdom I need to ask God. Why? Because I can’t figure this life out by myself, it’s way too complicated. I don’t always understand why things happen or why I can’t fix things. God, on the other hand, has the better perspective. And besides being omniscient, He is omnipotent. Which is just a fancy way of saying He knows everything already and if we look to Him instead of ourselves He is powerful enough to work in our lives and overcome any obstacle set before us.
- There are some things I cannot change. Some of these things are obvious like the weather, but some are not as clear. Can I change my kids? Or my husband? Or my work or church? My psychologist at one time told me there is a difference between influence and control. I have influence in these areas of my life but I do not have control. I cannot make other people behave a certain way, I can only affect my response.
- There are some things I can change. This is where it gets messy. I have to own up to my own choices. I could just give the excuse that “it’s just the way I am” or “I’ve always been like that” or “if I just have some chocolate I’ll be able to handle things.” Is change ever easy? I guess that is why we need courage. And the reason we need it from God, is because people can let us down. Even if they want to be supportive, they often have their own issues they are dealing with. Making the change, doing the work, facing the possibility of failing and having to try again, takes courage.
- Figuring out what falls into the category of what should I change and what should rest on the back burner is another challenge. If I tried to change everything at once, I would be totally overwhelmed. Some changes take planning and research. Whereas some changes are beyond me and I need to deal with them by default. Some situations require compassion, grieving, or acceptance (things I cannot change) while others require action (things I can change). But every change requires wisdom in knowing my responsibility moving forward.
So I will pray this prayer today: Heavenly Father, I have both situations in my life right now, things I can change and things I cannot. I release into your care all my worries, concerns, fear, anger, heartbreak, and frustrations. And in their stead I ask for Your peace, Your wisdom, and Your strength to fill me and overflow me into every area of my life. Amen.
(Disclaimer: I mention my husband and children merely as way of illustrating a point.)