Courage: Learning to Trust When You're Not in Control

Have you heard of The Serenity Prayer? It goes like this: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference."

I remember visiting my grandmother during my childhood, and she had this prayer hanging on the wall. Even though I didn't really understand it completely at that age, the words comforted me.

For many years while I was growing up, my father sexually abused me. I felt pressure to keep our "secret" and really wanted to tell someone, but was afraid if I did, they wouldn't believe me and I'd be in even more trouble. I decided, I can't do anything about this, but I'm going to survive it.

I believe the reason I was able to do this is because I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was nine years old. Through my relationship with Christ, I had the courage and determination to get through those years of abuse and eventually learn to live a life that I enjoy.

It Takes Courage to Change and Courage to Trust

Everyone feels fear at times and fear can keep us from progress and victory. So we need courage. It takes courage to make changes, and it takes courage to peacefully wait on God, trusting Him to make the changes we can't control.

And there are always going to be things in our life that we can't control.

I used to be a control freak. My attitude was, "I am not going to put up with that! I'm going to change it. I'm going to do something…" I wanted to change me; I wanted to change my finances; I wanted to change Dave and the kids; I wanted my ministry to grow…and it made me a very frustrated person!

I came to realize that my bad attitude was keeping me from changing, and it was also stealing my peace and joy. The truth is, I can't change myself. And I can't change other people or many circumstances in my life. But I can cooperate with the Holy Spirit, who can change me and give me the grace to accept what I can't change while I'm waiting on God to change those things.

Do What You Can and Let God Do the Rest

The key to having real lasting peace and joy in your life is realizing what you can do and what you can't do, not getting upset about the things you can't do anything about. We need to find the courage in God to come to terms with the things we can't change. That doesn't mean I don't want them to change, but I don't want to waste my energy and time being upset about things I can't change.

Now, God may not do things the way we expect or when we want Him to do it, but He's never late. He doesn't work on our time table, which usually stretches and tests our faith. But if we will let go of the things we can't change and trust God with them, we can still have peace and joy in our life while we're waiting for Him to take care of it all.

Philippians 2:13 says, "[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure…" (The Amplified Bible).

God will give you His strength and grace to do whatever you need to do if you will trust Him and have a good attitude. In Christ, you've got what it takes!

Life is short. Don't waste your days being miserable about something you can't do anything about. By focusing on God, meditating on His Word, speaking His Word and praying for His grace and strength in your life, you can have the courage to make changes and peacefully wait on Him to do what you can't do.