Within the addiction and recovery fields, the Serenity Prayer is widely known and recited. Recovering individuals typically learn these words upon entering treatment:

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

Though not all treatment facilities and recovery communities promote religion, the spiritual message applies and gently reminds them to let go and let a Higher Power take control.

Of course, it’s not merely those in recovery for addiction who find these words soothing. Their family members, friends and significant others typically struggle with codependency – constant efforts to change and control the addicted individual’s choices or behaviors to the point of complete focus and obsession, without regard for the safety or security of the self. As such, the Serenity Prayer is basically their healing mantra.

Yet, codependency can affect more than just those impacted by addiction. Countless individuals find themselves in the everyday battles of trying to control the lives of others and the outcome of anything and everything. It can be absolutely exhausting and overwhelming, and often results in a great deal of anxiety for them and for those they attempt to control.

But, as the Serenity Prayer states, we must accept that there are things that are out of our control.

Let Go

Letting go is not as simple as it sounds. Anyone who has ever had a child and watched them grow is aware of that. More to the point, if you’ve ever experienced a heartbreak or were able to see the signs of a cherished relationship ending, you know the difficulty all too well.

Both situations present us with the unknown.

As humans, we aren’t very fond of the unknown. In fact, it generally terrifies us, and that explains why we tend to grip so tightly to the proverbial wheel to remain in our comfort zone. But God asks us not to live in fear. In fact, to do so is to live without faith in Him and in contrast to love, itself. More to the point, to avoid leaving the comfort zone is to avoid growth and healing.

Let God

Where fear makes us hold on with a clenched fist, love allows us to let go – palms open and relaxed. That relaxation of our grip is a peaceful acceptance, also referred to as serenity. That serenity is possible when we decide to let God into the driver’s seat.

Though it can be scary to allow someone else to take over the wheel, it is undeniably freeing. Just like being the passenger on a literal road trip, the trust we offer while someone else drives allows us to relax, read a book, eat a snack, take in the scenery or enjoy a restful nap. It allows us a needed break from the stress and anxiety of having to constantly watch the road and be mindful of any precious cargo we might have on board.

Let Wisdom Decide

Like the Serenity Prayer, “let go and let God” is a gentle reminder to breathe and know that all we can do is our part, our own work, growth and healing. The rest is up to God.

The simple rule is this: the only person we can change is ourselves. We cannot change others. Even God gives people free will and allows for our path to be our own choice. He doesn’t nag us to stop or start anything. We get to choose and control the direction we take.

When we decide to let go, jump in the passenger seat, and trust God, we get to sit back, breathe and simply enjoy the ride.

You may also be interested in How To Handle Failure & Accept Your Imperfections

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