Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Serenity

Robbie writing... I just wanted to share some recent thoughts given what has been going on in my sphere of thinking and living recently.

I am really missing my family. I want to be home so bad. Feeling out of the loop with what is going on and out of touch is the worst feeling I have felt in a long time, especially after this summer when every waking moment was spent thinking about Jacob and my family. How can I consider myself benefiting the circumstances at home when 99% of my time is spent devoted to non-Jacob things? I know it sounds like I'm just depressed... but I think it is also a good practice in letting go. In realizing that what I think of as doing things "for" my family really just meant saturating my mind with thoughts of them, which I need freedom from. But still... it is so hard to see all that is happening at home and realizing that I am not a part of it. One thing, in particular, that seemed to slice my heart open was seeing a picture of my Dad, mom, Jake, Jensen, and some friends with the firefighters who got the award for saving him. Someone commented on it, saying, "What a great family photo!" I know my feelings may be unfounded, but man that hurt. (Not condemning whoever said that... just expressing my feelings).

I've been reading this book by a guy named Nate Larkin, about his journey. In it, I came across this prayer, which is typically associated with Alcoholic's Anonymous, but is in my opinion one of the most beneficial reminders for life:

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

As Nate sees it, one of the biggest problems with the church is that it leaves little room for people to talk about their sins in the present tense. We want victory, we want righteousness, so we talk as if we've sinned before, but now are OK, because God is good and Jesus defeated sin, so this time we are really resolved to not sin again. How many times do people make this resolution over and over again?

One of Nate's greatest insights from the book, that he heard discussed in an AA meeting, is that "abstinence is not sobriety." How else can someone not drink for a year and then go into a relapse? Just because we avoid sin does not mean that we are actually transformed into pure, restored people. Restoration and purity are all about the process - Jesus does not allow for us to merely avoid sinful acts. He wants us to search our hearts and become the type of people who act out of a heart of love. He wants us to dig deep and work through the heartache and the struggle, not stay on the surface and be content to say "God is good and Jesus defeated sin, so I don't need help and I can be happy all the time." This is why so much Christian morality has become laughable to others... because we focus on the outward acts.

All this to say, I have been led to the conviction that I can't do this alone. I can't live my life in isolation. I need to be honest with who I am, and genuine with the sins that I currently, and probably always will, struggle with. No one can do it alone. Which is why Christ's teachings were so centered around the theme of community.

Who do you have around you that you can be brutally real with? It is not easy at all to be vulnerable. It may always be awkward to bring up. But it is so necessary. I need serenity to accept what I can't change... (I'm not at home and a little out of the loop?)... I need courage to change what I can... (change my view on it? Realize that I have responsibilities here, and that Jake is being taken care of?)... And I need wisdom to know the difference. This wisdom comes through God... but is often manifested in the insights of those around us. Have the courage to surround yourself with individuals who will seek this wisdom with you.

Blessings of love, hope and peace...

Rob (Jake's bro).

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Robbie--I look forward to your posts because they show very deep thinking of a kind that I have not been familiar with in the church population. I think that that was always a failing for me. The God I can accept is very real and wants to know our feelings and doesn't want or need them all prettied up.
For example, when coping with depression, I think a lot of people see that as a sin, that you are just not looking at or appreciating the good. They view it in very simplistic terms. They do not see depression as often being a disease that requires a hard struggle. In my life, I want to be as real as I can be and I want my God to be as well. Thank you Robbie for making me have faith that God is who I expect him to be and long for. KO

Danielle said...

That is the serenity prayer, people in AA, NA and different recovery groups say that at the end of meetings, and I pretty much just say it all the time..smile. You are a brave, kind man. The full orginal version is

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change: Courage to change the things I can:
And the Wisdom to the difference.
Living one day at a time:
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking as He did, this World as it is,
Not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will;
That I May be reasonably happy in this life
And Supremely happy with Him,
Forever in the next.

Reinhold Neiburh-1926