“Wanda this, Wanda that, Wanda, Wanda, Wanda!” Those words take me back to our sixth-grade suggestion box. As I think back on it, I have to wonder why Mr. Cook, our beloved teacher, didn’t stop reading or at least perused it before he read the “suggestion.” The gist of the comment: someone was peeved because I got to do so many special chores: flag raising, art supply “fetcher.” I can’t really remember any others. It’s been a few years ago!
I’ve always liked to help. If volunteers are called up, my hand’s up. Is that a wrong thing? I don’t think so, but now, I find myself sometimes overwhelmed with, “Wanda, can you…,” or “Wanda, I need…” HELP! When is it my turn?
It is the life I’ve chosen. It is the right thing, but it’s not always easy. Are you in a situation like that? You wouldn’t pick it, but you know it’s what you’re supposed to do. Remember that we may make mistakes, but God never does. Something that has been helpful to me is the “Serenity Prayer”
God, grant me the serenity
(tranquility, calmness, peacefulness, quietude, quietness, stillness [antonym: bustle!!!])
To accept what I can’t change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
All three mandates are not easy.
- Accepting what I can’t change is DIFFICULT!!!! Why does it have to be this way? Why did he have to do that? Why can’t she see what she’s doing? Why can’t I….? You fill in the blank. Serenity in the midst of the storm only comes when we pull up the anchor of our own stubborn will and hand the wheel over to God!
- Changing the things I can. OUCH!!! What in the world! This is really encouraging, Wanda! But seriously, what can you change? Do know that you may not be able to change your circumstances, your spouse, your parents, your children, or your boss. But you can change YOU—your attitude, your trust level, your thoughts, and your actions. That’s hard! Sometimes it’s a moment-by-moment time of stopping and adjusting your attitude. What’s triggering this post? I don’t need to share all the personal fiery darts of my day, but I will say this. I’m listening to Humility, by Andrew Murray. It is so convicting!!! I tried to apply some of the precepts this morning and failed miserably! BUT the lesson God is teaching me is this: HE must increase, and I must decrease (John 3:30).
- Wisdom is mentioned 214 times in the Bible. It makes a great word study. The Hebrew word can mean skill or dexterity, but more importantly, it refers to learning about and piety towards God. It is ascribed to Joshua in Deuteronomy 34:9 and to the Messiah King in Isaiah 11:2. Job12:11,12 says that wisdom is with aged men, and with length of days, understanding. With Him are wisdom and strength, He has counsel and understanding, the capitalized pronoun referring to God. The book of Proverbs tops the list with 39 verses about wisdom giving us such gems as:
- The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction (1:7).
- Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
And the man who gains understanding 3:13.
- For wisdom is better than rubies,
And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her (8:11).
- When pride comes, then comes shame;
But with the humble is wisdom11:2).
- Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding,
But what is in the heart of fools is made known (24:33).
- She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. (31:26).
- The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
“Wisdom to know the difference”—the difference between what I can change and what I cannot. That may sound simple but at times the lines of differentiation smear and we say, “It’s complicated.” So, what do we do?
- Recognize the source of confusion. It may be our pride. I don’t want to change because I’ll have to admit I was wrong. OUCH! That’s peer pressure, folks, and it’s not only prevalent among teens! Or it may be ignorance—we don’t have all the facts or the knowledge to change it. It really boils down to “I won’t” or “I can’t,” but determining which answer may need to be the first step to changing or letting sleeping dogs lie. (Earliest rendition: He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own Is like one who takes a dog by the ears [Proverbs 26:17]. Interesting side note!).
- Pray for wisdom and strength from God. Some things are very difficult to change while others are extremely difficult to let alone! Praise God for His willing and wonderful help! My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1). At our church, we just had a lesson on this, and it reminded me that I not only have a Comforter and Friend, I have an Advocate who is cheering in my corner!! So good to know!
As you probably know if you’ve been reading my blog lately, I’m in a difficult situation right now. There are times when I don’t want to get out of bed (a symptom of depression! YIKES!) I have learned so much about me!!! I thought I was patient, kind, loving, godly, Christ-like! The old saying, “the hot water just reveals what’s in the tea bag” is true!
That said, I can’t say it enough: look in the mirror! In this “victim-mentality” society we live in, we are prone to blame others or our circumstances for our sin or lack of teachability. Take a moment to meditate on the “Serenity Prayer” again and allow the Lord to lead! It truly holds the solution to finding peace in the MIDST of the storm!