By VINCENT P. COLLINS
® Abbey Press ©
Reprinted with permission of Abbey Press
These various "home remedies"-blaming everybody, self-pity and the rest-have but one result: they make everybody including ourselves more miserable and add to our difficulties without solving them. Shall we "curse God and die”? No.
Do what the politician does: "If you can't beat 'em, join ‘em!" If you can't solve your problems, learn to live with them and in spite of them.
"Oh sure, sure; just like that! All very well to say 'learn to live with them,' but it's another thing to do it! Just how do you go about doing that?"
Very simple, my friend; so simple you wouldn't try it unless you were desperate. If you are desperate enough, you'll try anything. So try something that works- try acceptance!
Acceptance is the only real source of tranquility, serenity, and peace. It is also known as "Surrender," "Bowing to the Inevitable," "Joining 'em." It can be acquired if you have an urgent desire to help yourself and are willing to ask God to help you.
Luckily for us, the perfect formula for acceptance, simple and practical as a can-opener, is ready at hand, waiting for us to use it as hundreds of thousands before us have. Written by Reinhold Niebuhr, it is known far and wide as "The Serenity Prayer."
Here it is:
"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."
You simply ask God to give you the ability to take people and things as they are, if you cannot change them. We can very seldom change people, though we can change ourselves. We ask God, further, to enable us to convince ourselves that we would not have things otherwise, even if we could. Only God is powerful enough to control all things, and He seems to prefer to make some things come out right without changing them.
In practice: face up to the problem; that is driving you wild, and say, "Is there anything I can do about it right now, today?" If there is, do it! Don't put it off another minute. If there is nothing you can do about it today, accept it and forget it.
You don't get over a twenty-foot wall by banging your head against it-you just get a headache. If you sit down in the shade of the wall and say, "Maybe I'm better off on this side, after all," you may be sure that God will make things turn out better for you and for everyone else. This ability of His to make things work out for the best is known as Divine Providence, or " "The Kindness of God."
Acceptance-The little booklet that has changed lives --- millions of them!
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