Finding the Serenity in Change

“To everything there is a season.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) What season is it for me?  It’s change the mantel decor time. My home décor changes like clockwork. The beach pictures, antique sand pail, lightweight throws, and patio décor all go back into storage. I pull out the vintage quilts, autumn tree paintings, and little faux pumpkins. Some people can leave their home furnishings the same all year. But not me, I fiddle, rearrange, spruce up, declutter.  I embrace change.

STOP! REWIND!  Gotta be honest. I love some kinds of change.  As much as I love autumn, the days get darker and my schedule more chaotic. The dreaded Seasonal Affective Disorder rears its head. Come to think of it, that’s why I embraced seasonal décor in the first place, to celebrate and prepare for, rather than hide from, a potentially depressing time.

Some good changes I’m in total denial about. My youngest grandkidlet started preschool. Dear daughter got engaged to a wonderful guy. After several non-starts on remodeling, our financial planner encouraged us to envision our dream retirement home instead.  All good changes, first world problems, but there’s an element of loss involved. That brick on the head didn’t slow Miss M’s growth down one bit. Dear Daughter might move after the wedding.  Relocating from our home of decades means saying good-bye to a great neighborhood, deciding what family heirlooms to take or sell, leaving the place where we marked the kids’ height as they grew. And this is all with time to plan. I don’t know how people do estate or moving sales with emotions swirling around immediately after a death, job loss or medical event.

Change, even good change, and all the feelings it invokes can be a bit overwhelming. At least for me. I decided to break down my feelings about changes in my life with the help of The Serenity Prayer. I’m a big fan Reinhold Niebuhr, credited with writing these famous words,

“God help me to change the things I can, accept the things I cannot and the wisdom to know the difference.”

But folks may not know the Serenity Prayer has more verses:

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. 

I can’t change the fact the grandkidlets are growing up or the kids may have new opportunities far from home. I can’t change the fact health events made us look at downsizing sooner than we planned.  But I can enjoy one moment at a time with the grandkidlets, the wedding planning, and sending our newlywed furniture off with young folks starting their own lives together.

Change is a part of this life God has given us. Hardships, even first world ones, make us stronger. Most importantly, trusting our unchanging and steadfast God helps us when the life unpredictable gets the best of us. Niebuhr wrote I should be “reasonably happy in this life.” That line always makes me laugh. So human and so true.  I still struggle with change but I know I don’t have to feel guilty about not being thrilled or 100% happy.  God’s helping me handle it.

What changes are you going through? How are you handling them? How can you let God handle them?

Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Sis Steele
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  1. Piper on October 12, 2015 at 8:50 AM

    Change is not easy for me. I don’t change my decor often–probably for that very reason. I still struggle with accepting change as a normal pattern in life, but posts like this with an encouraging word are helpful. Thanks, Julie!

    • Sis on October 12, 2015 at 4:36 PM

      I guess I change things around because I’m afraid of becoming stagnant. You are quite welcome.

  2. Gretchen on October 12, 2015 at 2:15 PM

    Beautiful post, Sis. I, too, change my decor to reflect upcoming changes which may or may not be painful. I am at the crossroads that many 40 and 50 something women face, and choosing, day by day, minute by minute sometimes, to embrace what is. I’m trying to stop shoulding all over myself and others, and embracing each day that God gives. Thank you for including the rest of the Serenity poem!

  3. Sis on October 12, 2015 at 4:37 PM

    ” I’m trying to stop shoulding all over myself and others”. Oh, I needed to hear that! Thank you.

  4. Nikki H on October 12, 2015 at 6:04 PM

    I’m trying to embrace change–you know my hair color change is still a bit traumatic for me. But I love the change in the seasons. I’ve pulled out the pumpkins, we bought gourds, and I found a delightful teapot with autumn leaves at the thrift store for $2. Score!
    We have made some purchases for Christmas decor, envisioning the grandkids looking with joy and wonder. Now I’m searching for the perfect Nativity…
    I love and appreciate that verse of the Serenity Prayer you posted. “Reasonably happy” indeed.

    • Sis on October 12, 2015 at 7:21 PM

      Been there and done that, Nikki, with the hair. But you have handled it well. And the grandkidlets love moving the decorations around so I make sure to keep everything at their level…except the breakables of course, and even then.

      Yep, “reasonably happy” is so much more realistic. Thanks for your comments.

  5. andrea frazer on October 12, 2015 at 8:05 PM

    I am changing my thoughts over my work life. I am changing from being a mom of kids to a mom of tweens. I am realizing that I need to change some pretty big strongholds I have over certain people in my life in terms of forgiveness. Why can’t I forgive? Ah, it’s because I need to change my habits. I need to set more appropriate boundaries so I’m less hurt in the future… so I’m safe to forgive the past, enjoy my future and live a bit more abundantly in the present. And finally, I’m changing a LOT from what I want to happen in my life (to make a lot of money on my book! And to stop doing ten things/day to make a living!) and doing what God would have me do. I know I am doing okay when I am in peace. When fear hits, it’s a sign I’m way off and resisting change. Nice post!

    • Sis on October 13, 2015 at 6:47 AM

      “When fear hits, it’s a sign I’m way off and resisting change.” We can’t do anything about change because it happens to us, sometimes by choice, but most often just by time. But we can do something about the fear that leads to being stuck. Thanks for making me think pre-coffee!

  6. Jen on October 19, 2015 at 9:49 AM

    This post really spoke to me this past week while we were in Bar Harbor. I had so many bittersweet, “I wish we could have brought our ‘little’ kids with us. They would have loved it. I miss those days,” moments. But at the same time I enjoyed my adult vacation and this transitional period we find ourselves in. There is a serenity in that, isn’t there?

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