Question: “I’ve got so much on my mind. I’m obsessed and worried. How can I just let go of some of these things?”

The other morning I spent some time with God, journal in hand, and listed off eleven things that were weighing heavily on my mind.  Some days, that list would have left me feeling hopeless and sad, paralyzed even.  But this day, I remembered something that I used to do when I was attending AlAnon.
It involved the Serenity Prayer (by Reinhold Niebuhr), and most of you are probably familiar with it:
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.
So I took that list of my eleven worries and I ran it through the grid of this prayer: what can I change and what can’t I change?
For example, one of my worries involved a friend whose job performance is in question and his job is on the line. Can I do anything about this? Nope, not one thing.
However, I have a meeting coming up that I am dreading. Can I do anything about this? Well, technically, I could cancel the meeting or not show up — not that I would do those things, but sometimes it’s helpful to see that we aren’t as backed into a corner as we think we are.  I can’t control what the other people in the meeting are going to say to me. But, I can control what I am going to say and not say.
And I went on down that list, deciding what fell in my parameters and what didn’t.  The things I have some control over, I came up with action steps.  For instance, I was having feelings of jealousy about something. So my action steps were: confess to God (check), confess to the person (check), pray for the situation (check), repeat as necessary.
The rest of the items on my list (about half) were basically one hundred percent out of my control – they all are in the hands of someone else or Someone else – and there is nothing I can do but wait and see how everything shakes out.  So, for those things, I prayed prayers of surrender.  I can’t make someone call me back, I can’t force a judge to rule in my favor, I can’t coerce someone to want to do something that they don’t want to do; but I can pray.  So for each of those uncontrollable things, I asked God to do his will, to help me know if there is anything I can do, for peace, for the strength to let it go, and I gave each worry to him.
I shut my journal that morning, thirty-five minutes later, with much more peace and resolve than when I first sat down.  Not completely carefree; it’s not magic.  But we can lay down our worries and our burdens, knowing that God is caring for us.

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. -Psalm 68:19-
For those of you who don’t know, the Serenity Prayer 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. Amen.

If this post helped you, I would encourage you to check out “Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage”, found here.

Life isn't always how we want it. When change seems elusive, and we're stuck in old routines, a gentle push or some self-reflection can make a difference. Let these questions be that nudge to get you moving.

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