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  • Writer's pictureRusty McKie

You Can't Control Everything

The first time I heard of AA's Serenity Prayer, it struck me as profound and wise.

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference..."

The prayer immediately forces us to reckon with a painful truth — we can't control everything.

King David also wrote a type of serenity prayer that starts much in the same way.


Psalm 131:1 begins:

O LORD, my heart is not lifted up;

my eyes are not raised too high;

I do not occupy myself with things

too great and too marvelous for me.

David learned that preoccupying himself with things too great for him (i.e., things he can't control) results in the opposite of a calm and quiet soul (v.2).

Knowing we can't control everything is painful at first — especially if we've lived much of our life fooling ourselves that we can.

Yet that pain gives way to joy. Or, to be more specific, "... accepting the things I cannot change..." gives birth to peace, calm, and serenity.

What are the things you can't Control

Go on then. Think about it. Better yet, make it a matter of prayer.

Process with Jesus:

  • What concerns flood my mind the moment I get some free time?

  • What thoughts can I not shake no matter how hard I try to ignore them?

  • Which of these concerns are outside of my control?

  • How has trying to control the uncontrollable impacted my emotional life?

  • How has it affected my physical and spiritual well-being?

  • How would accepting my limits change my day?

Friends, peace is available. But it starts with remembering our limitations. We are not God. But the good news is that God is God, and He is for us (Romans 8:31).

Continue to talk to Jesus about this, and join me next week as we continue to think together about how to move from what we can't control to what we can.


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