That well-known prayer is found on wall hangings, plaques, dishes, prayer cards, etc. and the text usually reads, "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."
Would that we all lived that short prayer! Imagine how different our daily lives would be?
And yet, there is more.
That short excerpt is actually part of a longer prayer which continues:
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful 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.
There is so much packed into that prayer which perhaps will revisit another time but what I want to ponder here is the invitation the prayer offers to conversion, one day and one moment at a time.
Lately I have been so convicted of the moment-to-moment grace that God gives and reception of mercy and conversion therein. In a celebrity and sound-bite culture, we attach importance only to "big" events with audacious happenings. We are "outraged", freak out, feed on the adrenaline rush it provides but nothing really changes.
We often live in "The Land of If-Only" where our minds play the game of, "If only I was...then I would be happy." "If only the people ( I work with, have in my family, see everyday) would change, then I would be better." "If only the Church would...then I would be holier." And it goes on and on while we miss the daily reality of grace leading to serenity and conversion.
One of my favorite passages from a wonderful book by C.S. Lewis titled The Problem of Pain reads, "We are, not metaphorically, but in very truth, a Divine work of art; something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character."
God fashions and refines us daily. As a great masterpiece, the Artist takes much care and diligence in perfecting the work of art. And that happens one day at a time, one moment at a time.
What part of the masterpiece is God working on in your life right now? Is it forgiveness? Letting go of perceived control? Is He trying to flood you with joy or speak to you the beautiful theology of your body?
Like any other pursuit, conversion takes time and diligence. Our life is a series of triumphs and failures, victories and defeats. It all fashions the masterpiece.
So let's let the Artist do His work.