Serene Faith : Not Resting On Your Laurels, But Not Spinning In Circles Either!


 

The other day I wrote about exuberant faith after having read Day 289 from The Message//Remix:Solo which was entitled “Getting Our Way”.  This was a reflection on Galatians 5, more specifically 5:16-17, 19-23.  Following the Bible text are suggested ideas to think about, pray about, and ideas for living out the message.

“LIVE

Hold one of the following words in front of you today; exuberance, serenity, willingness,compassion, conviction.  Let the word permeate what you do.”

Serenity for most of us probably sounds like a distant dream, so much so that when we meet serene people we may be inclined to think they are on some kind of drug.  In my mind, serene people don’t raise their voices, lose their temper, lose their self-control in crisis, smile calmly but maybe not energetically.  It would seem to be the opposite of exuberance.

Serene is what I was not a moment ago while fighting with the dictionary trying to get it to stay open while I typed from it!  According to the Winston Canadian Dictionary serene is an adjective meaning 1. clear and calm; 2. placid:composed.  The dictionary would apply the first definition to a description of an environment or circumstance while the second would apply to a person.  In an action oriented and fast paced world, placid seems to imply a lack of energy or drive which is barely acceptable.  Composed sounds good as it speaks to being in control of yourself, emotions, actions, thoughts and all.

I remember when my children were first-born and I was on maternity leave.  When they were sleeping, theoretically, my environment was serene and quiet, and I had an opportunity to relax and gather strength and my own serenity.  Things just didn’t work that way for me.  I needed to get out, be around other people, and be active.  Even in the quiet of a room by myself I am rarely comfortable to just sit.  Serenity is something I pray for.  At night, to help calm my mind and clear the way for sleep, and in the morning to help me face whatever challenges await me calmly.

I used to belong to the Women’s Institute (remember the movie Calendar Girls?)  My group never made a nude calendar to raise money for a cancer ward.  But at the beginning of each meeting we repeated the following Collect for Women written by the founder of Women’s Institute, Mary Stewart.

Mary Stewart Collect

KEEP us O Lord from pettiness; let us be large in thought, in word and deed …
LET us be done with fault finding and leave off self seeking…
MAY we put away all pretense and meet each other face to face, without self pity and without prejudice…
MAY we never be hasty in judgement and always generous…
LET us take time for all things: make us grow calm, serene, gentle…
TEACH us to put into action our better impulses straight forward and unafraid…
GRANT that we may realize that it is the little things that create differences; that in the big things of life we are one …
AND may we strive to touch and know the great human heart common to us all, and …
O LORD GOD let us not forget to be kind …

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