Blog: Serenity Deception

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I started reading this book “Influencer: The Power to Change Anything” by Kerry Patterson et al. The opening of the book covers a topic that Michael and I have been discussing a lot lately, and this book says it so, very well.

Through the trials that Michael and I have endured, there’s always this question: why? What is all this for? What is it leading us to? People will say that everything happens for a reason, but then in their next breath say that we should endure. Some people even say that it’s ok because our reward is in heaven. 

While that may be true, I’m still a bit unsatisfied with that explanation. It isn’t enough to compel me to do something with all this passion bubbling up inside of me to do something with the talents and experience God has given me!

In “Man’s Search for Meaning” Viktor Frankl says that “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” The idea that life has an elusive purpose that might not even be realized in this life probably wouldn’t have carried Frankl through the trials he was talking about. 

Then I saw this quote by Corrie ten Boom: “I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do.” I KNOW there is a purpose for the crazy stuff we have to endure! The secret is pushing through the trial to find that purpose. 

So, back to the “Influencer” book. This message jumped out at me right away:

We all know that “serenity prayer”: “Every day you ask for the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” 

While I don’t disagree with the premise of the prayer, and it’s message about faith, here’s the problem with this, quote: “when [our strategies] fail miserably, we surrender. It’s time to quit and move on. We tell ourselves…that it’s time to turn our attention to things that are in our control. We seek serenity.” 

Yet, we all know of people who have overcome seemingly unbeatable odds to do something about their problems. We all know about people or situations that seemed impossible, but someone had the determination to find the solution. 

I have sometimes referred to this as the hero’s journey (see Episode 013 with Kathy Mellor), and that some people just feel the call to do this work of finding solutions, or overcoming great obstacles!

The point of this “Influencer” book is to teach me how to find those solutions because these people have “discovered that when it comes to changing the world what most of us lack is not the courage to change things, but the skill to do so.”

“The reason most of us pray for serenity rather than doggedly seeking a new solution to what ails us is that, left to our own devices, we don’t come out with the big ideas that solve the problems that have us stumped. We fall into the serenity trap every time we seek solace when we should be seeking a solution.” 

Much of what I have been learning lately is that to act on faith, rather than fear is to push through the discomfort of not knowing how to do something to discover that solution. 

There will always be opposition when we are trying to work toward that ‘why’ that Viktor Frankl talked about. There will always be a struggle! Napoleon Hill says that, “Everyone faces defeat. It may be a stepping-stone or a stumbling block, depending on the mental attitude with which it is faced.” He also said that, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” The trails and tests that we face will be comparable to our ambition. That’s what I think Corrie ten Boom was talking about. If we have an important work to do, and we feel compelled to do it, then there will be opposition. That opposition is preparing us for the experiences that will allow us to do the most good in our sphere of influence. Also, the stronger the trial, the more satisfying the victory!

“Real intent implies with real effort and real change” Lynn G. Robbins says. “That kind of change results in spiritual growth. Our success, then, isn’t going from failure to failure, but growing from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm.”

Another quote from Napoleon Hill: “The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.” 

Michael and I have this burning desire to accomplish so much more in this life. Some people are willing to sit back and let life happen to them. But, working on this desire is much like planting a seed and cultivating the soil, plucking out weeds, and nourishing the seed, until ultimately the solution arises.

“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted” (Christine Caine).
A good seed will grow, but we have to be willing to work to help it grow, finding solutions, innovating, studying, working, and developing ourselves. When one obstacle is overcome, the knowledge gained leads to the next desire, and the next solution. Climb over that step and get an expanded view of the path beyond. Every step taking you closer to that goal. 


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About the author, Jodi

I live in Richmond, Virginia with my husband, Michael, and our four young kids. We homeschool, and work remotely, so I guess we may take this on the road some day! I have a bachelor's degree from George Mason University in Health Promotion Studies, but I attended five different universities before finally finishing while I was expecting my third baby! I'm a returned missionary from the Hawaii Honolulu Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm sort of a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none, but I do enjoy reading personal development and parenting books, finding new ways to enjoy exercising, and learning more about being an entrepreneur.

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