God continues to transform my life on a daily basis, as I remain open to learning and leading. One of the most significant areas of my recent ongoing growth has been my increasing ability to remain calm in the face of situations that once would have been very troubling. This is not to say I have achieved perfection in this arena. Far from it. But I am growing. And growing significantly.
This growing power of serenity is such a wonderful blessing! Don’t get me wrong. My life is not suddenly trouble free. I still face many of the same challenges I have faced for years, the same kind of challenges you probably face in your own life in one way or another. But I am not nearly as anxious as I once was. Dealing with family during the holidays has not been stress free this year, but I have not been stressed out. My wife and I have recently shared various moments of disappointment, frustration, and loss. And I remained calm. I have both received and offered fair criticism, and got through the struggle of those moments without getting tied up in knots. I was even able to stand before my church family and offer a testimony of the amazing gift of Jesus, based on my own perspective as a struggling sinner, giving some very vulnerable personal details. Difficult, but I did it without losing it.
At the heart of this movement of calm transformation in my life are two key elements. First is an unfolding of the concept of “differentiation” within my mind, heart, and experience. This concept was at the heart of the theories of one of the grandfathers of family therapy, Murray Bowen. My thanks to Eddie Parish, Hal Runkel, and others for helping me in the process of unpacking this treasure chest of relationship growth. Second, my life is being shaped daily through the simple, yet profound words of a prayer that offers guidance to millions:
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.
As I continuing growing in these powerful ways of faith, calm, and serenity, I thank God for the increasing opportunities He is giving me to reach more lives with this message. Be on the lookout for much more from me regarding these foundational elements of healthy, mature relationships in the coming months. I’ll let you know when the book is available!