The Power in Accepting What Is

Thermometer in our Mexico home recording a morning temperature of 59 degrees.

Like most houses in Mexico our Mexican home has no furnace. The weather is moderate enough that this works, usually. Sometimes, however, the outside temperature dips into the 40’s and that means the temperature in the house can be in the 50’s when we get up in the morning! “Brisk” is the most positive way to describe it. If, in our home in the States, the furnace would fail and the temperature drop into the 50’s we’d be on the phone to a furnace repairman in no time at all! When the inside temperature dips in our house in Mexico we simply put on a sweater and get on with our morning. When you can’t do something about something the best approach is to simply accept it.

Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote what is called the Serenity Prayer. It includes this phrase, “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.”

We’ve had to accept the “brisk” temperature in our Mexico house, because there’s nothing we can do about it! There are a lot of things in life that happen which are beyond our control. Grumbling about them and wishing they were different ends up being a waste of time and emotional energy. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.”

For those of us who seek to do God’s will, this principle of acceptance means determining to spend less time and energy grumbling about how we’d rather do things our own way and more time and energy giving ourselves to doing things God’s way. It’s been said that making the decision to live God’s way is the last big decision you have to make in life; all other decisions are just deciding what that is.

Yes, some circumstances can be changed, and should be! Some of our current circumstances, however, can’t be changed. Past circumstances are also in this “unchangeable” category. The best response is acceptance. This will help us deal with what can’t be changed, for there is tremendous coping power in acceptance!

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”  (Jesus praying before His arrest and crucixion in Luke 22:42)

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