Thursday, January 7, 2016

Acceptance ~ That Thing I'm Learning to Do

Most of my life I have struggled with accepting situations that could be changed, but can't be changed by me, sometimes wrestling with them until my fingers are sore and my brain is idling dangerously close to zero. I lose sleep. I talk to myself. All of this, despite having read "The Serenity Prayer" a thousand times.

After awhile, there generally comes a time of acceptance—thank the good Lord—and when that happens I wonder why it took me so long to reach that point, because relief only comes then. Acceptance doesn’t mean I approve, admire, agree, or endorse the situation. It doesn’t mean that the situation doesn’t still bring me heartache, but accepting it as being one that I cannot change means I can stop the wrestling match and move forward. In the words of Havelock Ellis: “The art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”

Giving up is a subject I’ve blogged about more than once; my favorite can be found here, entitled "When Hope is Misplaced." I don't mean giving up hope in God, never, but when we place our hopes in people, well, that can be an idea destined for failure. Sometimes, expecting nothing is a healthier choice.

Just this week, after having yet another honest conversation with someone about serious choices, I sat on the sofa, worn out, feeling helpless and hopeless and very tired. 

Suddenly, out of the blue, a thought came to me, a thought so foreign to how I was feeling that I knew it was from God. The message was, in essence: “Accept what you cannot change. You're wearing yourself out, emotionally, and your efforts are changing nothing. Accept this situation. Accept it!” Such a thought startled me. How could I accept this situation when it was choking the life right out of me? And that's when I realized that I have to accept this situation, because trying to change it is what's really choking the life right out of me. 

So, there in the darkened room, alone on a sofa, I decided to do just that. And when I embraced the idea, it felt as if a great weight fell off my shoulders. Knowing I'd done all I could do to change things, to make things better, left me free to move forward, to find peace, to leave it in the hands of God and to never stop praying about it.

Here’s the best part. I went to bed and had a dream. Seldom do I feel as if God has anything to do with my often crazy dreams, but I know He gave me this dream. In my dream, I was still wrestling, my spirit in a state of mourning, when a woman handed me a copy of "The Serenity Prayer" and said, “Accept what you cannot change.” I fretted and resisted this notion, but the woman kept pointing to it and saying, in firm tones, “Accept what you cannot change! Accept what you cannot change!”

After waking, I knew, without a doubt, it was what I had to do—accept it. I went to my computer and pulled up a copy of the long version of "The Serenity Prayer." Often, the one we quote is a condensed version, but the long version says it so much better. It has not only become a real prayer of mine, but is currently my desktop screensaver, reminding me of my goal, setting me on a path toward peace.


As if my dream wasn't confirmation enough, later in the day, I browsed through my blog list and came upon Brenda's blog that contained words I needed to read, both her own words, and the words of others, as well. She has no idea how much. This quote about acceptance rang my bell:


Life doesn't always go as we'd hoped, and accepting reality can be tough, but the best we can do is do our best to live peaceably with everyone, to change what we can and to leave in God's capable and faithful hands, all of the situations that are out of our control, those that bring us pain. That's my goal in the year 2016—acceptance. Won't you join me?

Until next time, dear friends, thanks for keeping me company, for listening to me ramble on, for just being there.

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24 comments:

  1. WE just began a study, what's so amazing about grace?'by Philip Yancey in our small group. Your post speaks grace. God bless you and thank-you for sharing words of experience and wisdom. that dream surely was a God-send.

    ...also,I've never seen the full serenity prayer before...thank-you! Printing it for my fridge.

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  2. Dayle, I had to follow your comment to your blog as it's so nice to meet someone new visiting mine. I had no idea that it would be heaven sent until I read your current post, brought to my attention for such a time as this. I suspect that you may have found me through Brenda as I also found her post and quote relevant. She, by the way, actually set up my first blog a few years ago in the giving spirit so typical of her.

    I've scrolled down your year in review and have added you to my blogroll so that I won't lose you and can visit again. Acceptance, never stopping praying about certain concerns, but leaving them in God's hands is something I've also been led to do, handing over at last, I hope, some heavy burdens.

    Best to you, Dayle,
    Dewena

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  3. Well, this post certainly has spoken to me, especially in the midst of the struggle with our son's alcoholism for many years. For a very long time, I tried to change him...and his circumstances, and like you, not accepting the situation as it was. Little by little, the Lord helped me to release this responsibility...not all at once of course, but over a period of time. I don't know an exact moment when I felt released from it, but gradually He is taking it from me. He gave me the peace that surpassed all of my understanding during moments of serious crises, time and time again. It's hard to let go, isn't it? And about that Serenity Prayer...my son, himself, is the one who just recently showed me the long version which I had never seen before. Isn't it so wonderful to know that we never get too old to receive these new revelations from God?! Thank you for sharing this, Dayle... what a very timely post, indeed.

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  4. Thank you for this post. I needed it this morning. Well, in fact, I've needed it every morning for a long time. I'll be reading it often. Hugs and love, Sister/Friend.

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  5. I could have wrote the title of your post myself. Oh my ....how hard this feels at times.
    xo
    Leslie

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  6. I took a screenshot of the complete version of the prayer...
    Thank you for that. And for this post as well.
    It is quite relevant to me...and I am so happy that you found your answer, and in turn, I found mine.
    Have a cozy day, my friend. : )

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  7. Thanks for this post. It is so true, as I have been learning for the past five years. Is it easy? Absolutely not! Is it possible? Yes, with God's daily help. I pray I never forget that. I think I will choose acceptance as my word of the year. However, I will not forsake spiritual discernment in what I accept. Have a Blessed Day!

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  8. That prayer has been wisdom for me, too. Praying that you will see a good resolution for the concern at hand...the one that God Himself is working on.

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  9. Wow! Now that would be a God-speaking moment for sure! Don't you just love it when he speaks so clearly and continues to confirm that message. I find it so hard to surrender, but when I do, I find peace. Sounds like you are listening. Thanks for sharing. I'm glad I dropped by.

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  10. Dear Dayle,

    Incredibly, it only takes one thing to change everything.

    For this timely, heartfelt lesson today, thank you. It is a gift from the Lord.

    *hugs*
    Kelley~

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    1. Dayle, thank you so much for this post. I've been struggling with a problem for a long time. Now, I'm going to ask the Lord to help me to let go. You've just given me the push I needed. Blessings

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  11. I used to choose a word every January that would help me realize my New Year's resolutions but I haven't done that lately. Thank you Dayle for the reminder and I hope you don't mind if I share yours - acceptance.

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  12. What a fabulous, thought provoking post. I had to come to this realization as well about 5 years ago and like you, I felt freed when I finally did. I had to accept that what I was fighting and fighting to change was out of my control. And I made a new life for myself with that strength to boost me. Good luck with whatever it is you were struggling with. May you find peace in 2016.

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  13. I needed this, Dayle, and yes, I'll join you! Thank you for putting this into words (beautifully, as you always do), and making me think about the power of acceptance. PS - I'm so glad to see that you and Dewena have found each other! I adore her!

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  14. Hello Dayle. Loved your post on acceptance. It was funny we both wrote about that this week. (Great minds think alike?) Hope your new year is filled with many good things. Susan

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  15. Here, I've always presumed the "Serenity Prayer" worked ... for everyone else. You've expressed my own frustrations so perfectly. Thank you for the re-direct! :)

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  16. This post really spoke to me b/c I too have struggled with letting go and accepting. An older friend of mine is always saying, it is what it is, can't change it so let it go. Your words Dayle hit the mark with me. Have an amazing Sunday.

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    1. I'm having to reply to a comment because the comment box isn't showing up on my end! This is happening a lot lately. It's probably my end.

      Acceptance. Contentment. Not worrying. All those things seem to go hand in hand. To trust Him with it all is so hard, especially when we have to deal with those He created. ;) It's a good word. Thank you for sharing it!

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  17. I needed to see this today Dayle. I know it will take time for me to get to where you are but I'm going to try very hard -acceptance- I need to do this for myself.
    Thank you

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  18. I think as women we struggle with this more than men. You are not alone in feeling this way. Thanks for sharing the full Serenity prayer, don't think I've ever read the whole thing.

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    1. You're so right, Jenn. Men are wired differently, and that's not a bad thing.

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  19. Thanks Dayle. After many days and weeks and months of endless struggling, I've accepted what I cannot change, simply because I know the truth, and I'm not in control of the situation?
    The weight has lifted some, in my struggle to let go and let God do his work.
    I will never stop loving and praying and believing God is speaking to her heart and healing her mind.
    Nothing is too great for my GOD. In his own time.

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  20. I think we are a lot alike! The book Fervent is helping me to realize I wrestle against flesh and blood too often, when I need to be warring on my knees against the enemy. I've too often tried to reason someone into doing what they should, but once the enemy of their soul becomes involved, there's no listening to reason.

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Dear Readers, I adore your company and your comments. If you ask questions here, I respond to them here, so please check back when you have a chance. Kind regards, Dayle