Stop trying to control your life. Seriously. Just stop…part 2 of the Serenity Prayer series.

Leslie Anderson Salem Oregon

Keep reading, even if you aren’t an alcoholic or addict, because I can bet you struggle with trying to control your life, we all do. we are getting in to some of the lesser known sections of the Serenity Prayer. Love that! I understand that on its face, ‘accepting hardship as a pathway to peace’ sounds like complete bull$h!t.

This is part 2 of my take on the Serenity Prayer. If you want to read Part 1, click here before reading on.

Everyone can benefit from following the principles in the Serenity Prayer. Everyone. Everyone. Everyone. Everyone. That means everyone.

That acceptance part truly is such a key for me in living an authentic life though. Acceptance of hardship and living in the present allows me to do what the Serenity Prayer suggests in this next part:

‘Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.’

There is so much value in living (fully being present) one day at a time. This is another cliche recovery theme, and I think it’s often overlooked by people who don’t struggle with substance abuse, which is unfortunate. I think we all need to live by these principles in order to be peaceful, as the Serenity Prayer indicates. Don’t be tempted to discount it because you’re not in recovery. You’re missing out on so much goodness if you do that!!

Here’s what I am learning (and have learned) about control and staying in the present moment.

Don’t play out scenarios that will never happen. It’s a waste of good brain space and good living. In my personal experience, so much of the good living is missed if I’m not living in the moment, in each day. Jason and I have both said we are masters at ‘the scenarios.’ We can spin current circumstances into tales that are unbelievable and certainly out of the realm of possibility. The vast majority of the time none of those scenarios even happen. Truly. How many of my worry scenarios have even played out the way I feared they would? The worry that consumes the brain can ruin the everyday enjoyment of the life that is right in front of my face!! I’m so good at missing the moment I am in because I’m focused on yesterday or tomorrow. I miss out on quality time with my family, enjoying activities I like, and life becomes a checklist and a chore.

What happens to me is that I get worried and focused on things that are outside the moment I’m in, and then my energy is sapped, I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, and I’m not fully engaged in my work or my family. I usually can’t even watch a good tv show or read a book, because I am consumed with playing out scenarios. It is such a stress producing, non-effective, frustrating cycle I get myself in to. It takes some work to get out of it too.

It’s a choice to live in the moment you are in. Like many other things, it’s a choice I can make. I can choose to worry or choose to be present in the moment I’m in. It’s a hard reality, but it truly is a choice. It takes being intentional to get out of the cycle of worry and fear though. Making that choice is not as easy as a push of a button. If it was, I wouldn’t be writing this post, I’d be pushing that button.

Lately I’ve been reminded that even with life’s worries, and let’s face it, we all have them, I am doing pretty much the same things in my physical world that I was doing yesterday. Blindsides will come, yes, but I want to deal with those as they actually happen, instead of living preemptively. Does my world really fall off the axis regularly? Absolutely not. My fear and worry make it feel like it will, but that is fear and worry talking, not Truth and Peace. I’d rather listen to Truth and Peace, than mess up my world with worry and living in a space of being out of control.

Be realistic about hardships. You’ve made it through all the hardships you’ve faced. When I reflect on my life, all 46 years of it so far, I see the bumps (or freakin’ nuclear meltdown in some instances) in the road that have come along, and spoiler alert: I’ve lived through all of them. I’ve even grown through all the hardest trials I’ve faced. I don’t regret any hard times I’ve been through because I’ve become a more authentic person because of them. Im not perfect, not fixed, and not put together. I’ve become more authentic. My screw ups, and even the undeserved trials that I’m not responsible for have all taught me something. I am thankful and grateful for every single moment of my life. Those hardships have truly been a pathway to peace. I could write books about the things I’ve learned through trials.

You have to be willing to forgive yourself, accept God’s forgiveness, and forgive others in order to be able to be present and enjoy in the life you have been given to lead. A big part of the accepting the hardships is the forgiveness piece. Owning the grief, pain, anger, sadness, fear, worry, or confusion and allowing the true emotions to be felt and worked out and moving forward is key. Discounting and ignoring hardships is a sure fire way to end up in more hardship. Trust me, I’ve done that more times than I care to admit. It’s always ended up badly.

You can’t change the past, and you can’t control the future. There are no do overs anyway. There are no take backs. The only path forward is forgiveness of self, others, and accepting God’s forgiveness in order to live each day at a time and to ENJOY one moment at a time. I need to stop focusing on things I can fix, change or control, and live the life I’ve been given. It’s a pretty good one, after all.

You have a a pretty good life too. Think about the things you are thankful for, but even more than that, the things you are grateful for. (There’s a difference between thankful and grateful, but more on that for another day.) What hardships have you grown through? What are some things that you never thought you’d overcome, but you did? How did that shape you as a person? Who are you grateful for in your life? What do you enjoy doing? What will you do today to enjoy one moment at a time? What can you let go of so that you can stay present? Focusing on these things always helps me to truly enjoy one moment at a time. It takes work. It’s a process and a choice, like so many other things.

I know you can do it, and I know you want to do it, just like I do. You’ve got this. Let go of the control, and just see what happens. I guarantee that you’ll be glad you did. It just feels scary at first.


If this is helpful, thank you for reading along. If not, take what you want and leave the rest. I wrote it for myself, but I am happy to share if it’s beneficial for you. Love, Leslie

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