God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things that I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

I usually stagger, and sometimes fall, on the first part: opening myself up to accepting the things that I cannot change. When you’ve grown accustomed to leading, creating opportunities, changing unsavory situations, and encouraging others, sometimes you want to buck against those circumstances that you actually cannot change. You want to find the loophole, the break in the chain of command, the weak link. You want to force a square peg into a round hole. It is then that you, and I, experience the most discontent. It is when I know that I have done all that I can, yet I continue to find a way to alter the outcome, to sway it in my favor. This is the moment that is the hardest: knowing there is nothing more you can do, yet wanting to do more.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

Serenity is not enough. Serenity is the first leg of the race. Faith is the finish. You get through those anxiety-ridden moments when you don’t know the outcome by having faith in yourself and your God that, no matter what, you will be okay. You will continue to move forward. You will rise, and in the end, you will conquer.

You ever notice that you feel least in control when it seems the outcome is in the hands of another person, when you are not in control? For instance, you’ve submitted your resume, you’ve interviewed exceedingly well, and sent you handwritten thank-you notes. It seems you did all you can do. Yet, you still find yourself biting your nails and pacing, trying to figure out what more you can do to land your dream job. That is where serenity and faith must show up. When you’ve done all you can do and you simply have to wait.

I’m not good at waiting. I’m better at serenity and really good at faith, but waiting…eh, not so much.

I’m waiting to hear back from a few more graduate programs and a couple of fellowships. Depending on how much coffee I’ve had, I find myself stressed and anxious while awaiting the outcomes of my applications. That is, until I realize that I have too many other things to do instead of wait and worry. Those outcomes are no longer in my control. What I can control, however, is my work, my blog, and how I operate in my relationships. I can control the effort I put in at the gym and the food I put into my body. Once I reaffirm that I control certain events and outcomes, the waiting becomes less difficult. I have to remind myself that I am, in fact, equipped with the wisdom to know the difference between the things that I can and cannot change.

Most important, however, is that I also possess the courage to change the things that are within my control, and so do you.