From a very young age I had the Serenity Prayer memorized. That's because in a very large gold frame, in every living room, of every home we ever lived in, was a hand embroidered copy of it my mom made.
I repeated it to myself over the years when I didn’t get the part I wanted in the school play, when I got cut from the team, and even when my crush, of a whole week, told me he liked my best friend (hey that was earth shattering in middle school and obviously I still remember it years later).
When I was younger I focused on the "serenity" part; God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Or in Cass language "give me peace because I'm really upset that I didn't get my way". Towards the end of high school and in college I locked in on the "courage" part; the courage to change the things I can. For me those where times when I really struggled with doing the right thing versus the popular thing.
Today it really hit me that I've been skipping over the most important part of that prayer (I know it is actually longer than those three lines…but that's irrelevant right now), the wisdom part. I was doing my devotional for the morning and these lines jumped out at me:
God grant me the strength to go the extra mile, when it's required of me, and the wisdom to sit still when I should.
I am a doer. I hate inactivity. I hate waiting. We actually just had a communication styles workshop at my job last week that confirmed these facts and then some. So the idea of asking God for wisdom to SIT STILL blew my mind. I want him to use me. I want to be helpful. I want to fix things. But when I do that I am saying "Don't worry God, I've got this. You just keep chillin' up there in the sky or go help the really needy people. But I'm ok".
We don't allow for the opportunity to see His hand moving in our lives when we try to do it all ourselves. Worse, we get in that very dangerous area where we think we actually have control over things.
Looking at the Serenity Prayer through the eyes of wisdom gives it a new light. When I ask God for serenity I am no longer saying "hey this sucks, make me feel better". I am saying "I really don't understand this. I might not even like it. But I trust that You have a plan that is greater than my understanding".
When I ask for courage through the eyes of wisdom it now means more than "help me do what is clearly right versus what is clearly wrong". It means "help me to do what is right AND uncomfortable. Help me to turn the other cheek. Help me to show love when I am not being shown love". It is a reminder to serve like Jesus and to love self-sacrificially. We won't always be asking for courage to stand up to those around us. At times we'll need courage to stand up to the voice inside our heads that tells us to take the easy route.
It just goes to show how you can know something your whole life but never really be finished learning from it.