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.

Simple but effective, I use the shortened version of Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer regularly. Whatever situation I may be facing, it helps me maintain peace of mind, heart and soul.

Acceptance, courage and wisdom don’t always come naturally to me, and  I am grateful to have this prayer. It has seen me through traumatic times; overcoming depression, recovery from alcoholism and managing relationship difficulties, but it’s equally helpful for those day to day challenges such as forgiveness, frustration or uncertainty.

Even if you don’t believe in God, the message can be used as a tool to overcome many situations that keep you trapped in the past while you work towards a more manageable life. By choosing acceptance, you stop wasting time reliving events that can’t be changed. By focusing on what you can do, you reveal your willingness to move on with a positive mindset.

It was only recently when I was using the full version with a mentoring client that I was reminded of the beauty and power of the prayer in its entirety.

As a woman of faith, the whole prayer is for me a template for peace. It says nothing of dwelling on the past, holding on to resentments or regretting what might have been. Instead it directs me to live in the day; to focus on the now.

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.

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;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.


I wasted so many years trapped in depression and alcoholism because I blamed others and held on to anger. I numbed out my presence from the world because I lacked the confidence to reveal the real me. And I feared the future in case it would bring more misery and despair. Yet all I really wanted was to feel peaceful and to be happy.

Thankfully on my journey to recovery,  I found both. For I have learnt that faith doesn’t mean the absence of trauma or trials, but I am reassured I no longer have to go through anything alone.   I spent many years feeling very alone and afraid, because I trusted no-one and hadn’t the will to surrender to anything.

It took time, tears and courage, but when I truly surrendered and allowed myself to trust, it was only then that I could see how hard my heart had become and how I had built barriers around my soul. No wonder I had no sense of serenity or that I believed my life was something to be endured rather than enjoyed.

“In your serenity there is a clarity, strength and correctness that is beyond the petty scuffles of the moment — a greater truth. It is the truth of who you are; beautiful, calm, secure, open, willing and safe.”  Bryan McGill

thehurthealerIt wasn’t only to God that I surrendered and put my trust. I surrendered to myself. It meant I embraced who I was, and who I was not. In doing so I left behind my failures in the past and all the pain that went with it. Instead I allowed myself to make mistakes, be perfectly imperfect and enjoy life on life’s terms.

Today I know the truth of who I am, because I live in the Truth. And so I live my life as the person I was meant to be –  joyful, loving, authentic, and of course, serene.


©Carolyn Hughes Hurt Healer 2014 – All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without prior permission.

Top image thanks to the wonderful talent of  Julia Watkins http://www.platris.com All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without prior permission.