Note: This is a except from a chapter in my book, Just Be Love. I have updated this in blog form to address the importance of the Divine Attributes and the Serenity Prayer with our current experience with the Coronavirus.
Let love guide my heart, wisdom guide my mind and power-with guide my soul.
Attempting to explain the attributes of God is like trying to describe the indescribable. We can only imagine as we take in the totality of our earthly surroundings, look up at the sky, and wonder how all this takes place in the Creator’s wondrous universe
Around the world, many religious and spiritual traditions have four ways to describe the all-ness of God. Describing God as all powerful. The second, God is all present, God is everywhere, in all things seen and unseen. The third meaning, God is all knowing. Lastly, God is all loving, infinitely good.
There are three Divine attributes, known as: Power, Love and Wisdom. It can be said that God’s Power, Love and Wisdom is always present.
The Divine attributes of Power, Love and Wisdom are offered as tools for the soul’s earthly existence. Souls, through the human condition choose how they use these tools as part of their soul agreement. Power is offered so we may learn to create, to relate and to serve. Love is intended to provide the experience and learning environment for us to understand what we came here for, and to promote harmony through a peaceful existence within ourselves and all earthly inhabitants. Wisdom is attained when we’ve kept our minds on the higher path of spiritual growth. The soul seeks to experience and know who God is through these attributes, learning and discerning the right use of them.
The Divine Attributes and the Serenity Prayer
I’ve come to realize a correlation with the divine attributes and the lines in the Serenity Prayer. The Serenity Prayer, used by many 12-step programs throughout the world, was written by Reinhold Niebuhr, and adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous groups in the early 1940’s. Here is the familiar version.
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.
It was the AA’s intent to adopt this prayer as a means of assisting people who were struggling with alcohol addiction. It offers a pathway to inner peace and freedom from the grips of shame and addictive behavior. I believe this prayer forms a bridge from making self-destructive choices that come from our lower mind to choices that are more from our higher mind, thus more constructive.
I believe, this prayer is useful for all of us attempting to overcome the human struggle of choices and change. Especially in our current time of the Coronavirus. With its uncertainty, yet tremendous opportunity for personal and collective growth. The virus, is creating yet another choice point in human evolution. Which is, our willingness and ability to create, accept and embrace higher more sustainable ways of living and being.
To go back to “normal”, the familiar, after the affects of this pandemic, is like staying in a burning building and wondering why I got burned or died. The evidence is clear and hitting us on many fronts. Going back to “normal” is not helpful, nor sustainable for humanity to survive or thrive.
The Serenity Prayer emphasizes the importance of acceptance, courage and discernment. It also captures the moment of choice—discerning the importance of accepting the reality of a situation as is, and the value to change what is ours to change. I’ve come to appreciate how this prayer weaves the attributes of Power, Love and Wisdom with the attributes of Acceptance, Courage and Discernment.
The Power and Serenity of Acceptance
The first part of the Serenity Prayer says: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” Our willingness and ability to accept the uncertainties, and even the tragic events in our life will, in the long run, provide us with greater inner power and the spiritual peace and strength to move forward. Our personal power, inner peace and self-worth can be compromised by unfortunate life situations.
Within your difficult or painful experience, how many of you have struggled with the perception and feeling of not having control or a say in the experience? This Coronavirus experience, may be for many, one of those uncontrollable and difficult experiences?
When we have a sense of no control or say in an experience, we can begin to feel alone and powerless. Our lower ego self will want to control what is not ours to control. Our ability to tap into the Divine wisdom within is blocked by the attitude of resistance and non-acceptance. We can forget the presence and power of God. Yet, God and our higher self are asking us in circumstances that don’t seem to make sense or seem unfair to accept the situation. It is normal for our ego mind to resist and ask, “Why?” We need to know. We want control. We need to make sense out of this.
The recent events and experiences we are encountering with the Coronavirus, offers us the opportunity to accept what we cannot change. For many, it could be the sudden death of a loved one, loss of a job and income, or the struggle with isolation and boredom, due to restrictions to many of our daily routines and pleasurable activities.
The answer to the Why’s of our life experiences, and most recently the Why’s of the Coronavirus, are mainly found through “acceptance” of the things we cannot change. Due to our limited perspective, we would benefit from realizing that some aspects of what we experience, and the “why” of it, may not be totally understood in a way that makes sense to us.
Resistance and non-acceptance of “what is”, will move us further from the answer, limiting our willingness to change what we can. Acceptance and trust in divine order are the answers to the question, “Why?” This is what makes acceptance so powerful. Acceptance generates a forward movement, overcoming resistance. The “why” doesn’t matter now because we accept the things we cannot change. We surrender to the power and knowing that is greater than ourselves, letting go of the need to control, the need for a concrete answer.
The act of acceptance is an act of love; it moves us, arousing the spirit within us. With acceptance, we let go of conditions and limits and can view our experience from the higher perspective. Acceptance opens our heart to compassion; it illuminates the path to serenity and empowerment. Acceptance comes from an open and willing heart. It’s a sign and act of spiritual maturity. Acceptance calls us to spiritual surrender and trust (to have faith) in a power, love and wisdom greater than ourselves.
The solution or way is to let go of upset and worry to just “be” with what life is at this moment. There are times in our life when we are powerless. It is best to acknowledge this, and with humbleness, surrender to the all-powerful God. Acceptance is a form of spiritual surrender. Which brings us into harmony with the all-loving and all-knowing Creator.
In times of accepting our powerlessness, we do have the power to change—from within. When I accept the things I cannot change, I then naturally change what I can—myself. In this, we empower our self; I change my perception and belief about “what is.” I change from the inside-out. This is the embodiment of true, authentic power—this brings peace to the heart and mind.
True power and strength manifest the soul’s desires to do the will of God; trusting and allowing oneself to be aligned with Source in order to co-create. True creative power is life force energy generating constructive results; using power to benefit our desires, through surrender, trust and acceptance. Acceptance is allowing; it’s an act of acknowledgement and demonstrates the willingness to take responsibility for oneself in positive, compassionate and forward-focused ways.
Love Fuels the Courage to Change
God is all loving, infinitely good. God’s love is the primary Divine Attribute. It calls us to the yearning and mystery of love.
The second part of the Serenity Prayer asks for “the courage to change what we can.” The only aspect of life we truly have the power to change is ourselves. It takes courage to change our perception, belief, attitude and behavior about our self within a situation and/or relationship. Love, acceptance and change starts from within. Courage is using our heart and higher mind to rise above our false and limiting beliefs in order to create a change in our life. It is through the energy of love that courage arises. To rise as love is to manifest the courage to change what we can. It’s an act of courage to say “yes” to life and more importantly to say “yes” to ourselves.
In the 12-step program, I am asked to admit that I am powerless to an addiction and then turn it over to God. With this acceptance, I then need to do the inner work of working the 12 steps. Embracing and working these steps is an example of the courage it takes to change what I can. I have connection with, and faith in my higher power and higher self; I love myself enough to do my part toward overcoming the powerlessness of addiction, or other unfortunate life situation.
Earlier in this blog, I mentioned about us asking the question “Why?” in our difficult times. I have found in my own journey the importance of, rather than asking, “Why?” or “Why me?”, asking instead “Why not me?” Asking this question takes courage and acceptance. It’s a profound path back to love and soul understanding. It opens us up to a deeper level of surrender and acceptance, creating an awareness for greater possibilities in the perception that moves us through the things we cannot change. Asking “Why not me?” opens us to more deeply explore, with curiosity and innocence, the soul contract; the lesson that was meant to be learned from the experience.
Courage is an important ally in transcending fear. It creates the willingness to be vulnerable when expressing love to ourselves and others. It invites us to step out of our comfort zone. By going beyond what we’ve known to be true about ourselves, we move to a higher state of consciousness to something better. Love creates the courage to move through this Coronavirus experience with more grace and ease. To trust, have faith, that the divine has our back to guide us through this difficult and uncertain experience.
Love fuels the courage to overcome addictions, to reconcile a broken relationship or to walk away, if need be. Love generates the courage to admit our mistakes, speak our truth and strive for self-improvement. Love also fuels the courage to be of service to others.
The Wisdom to Know
Analyzing others is knowledge
Knowing yourself is wisdom.
Managing others requires skill.
Mastering yourself takes inner strength.
Knowing when enough is enough,
Is wealth of spirit.
Be present, observe the process,
Stay present, observe the process,
Stay centered and prevail. —Tao, 33
Wisdom is grounded in truth and understanding and aligned with divine principles. It is allowing the wisdom of God, to flow in us. Wisdom is more than knowledge expressed with words—wisdom resides in the silence; it listens and holds a higher perception. Wisdom dwells in the soul-heart, and often arises in stillness, solitude and fasting, igniting the higher mind, where inner knowing, and truth can be discovered and lived. It’s the basis of the power of acceptance, and the courage to change.
Wisdom values compassion to self and others. Wisdom is part of the Divine Attributes and the third aspect of the Serenity Prayer, “and the wisdom to know the difference.” The Wisdom to know the difference is discernment. In the process of discernment, I come to understand what I cannot change and surrender to this, while generating the courage to change what I can. It’s the ability to discern from our higher-wiser perspective, what to release to the higher power and what to take responsibility for. Wisdom is acceptance and responsibility in action.
Discernment is the ability to recognize which perceptions, thoughts, beliefs and behaviors of past experiences no longer serve us, and the willingness to create new ones that do. This is the wisdom to know who we are and make empowering choices. When we are authentic, we elevate our thinking and gain clarity, which expands our possibilities and potential in life.
Wisdom connects us to the essence within us; our intuitive inner knowing. The Holy Spirit is the feminine aspect of God. Wisdom is the Holy Spirit, the Divine Mother, the heart knowing of God. The Holy Spirit offers the ability of self-mastery through our hearts knowing and right action. The Holy Spirit assists all souls with discernment and trust to move forward on the journey.
With wisdom, God invites us to dance with the power of acceptance, as love is manifested by the courage to change. When love and power unite, wisdom is born. Wisdom gives the higher meaning to love and power. Love promotes wisdom, which inspires the courage to take right action; wisdom offers the right use of power and love.
People who have power without love and wisdom become tyrants. Greed is power without love and wisdom. How we use power will be how we express love. How we use wisdom will determine how we use power and evolve as love.
Jimi Hendrix said it well: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.“
Wisdom accepts “what is” and summons the courage of our inner warrior to engage in changing what truly is ours to change. The greater our strength and will are in alignment with the will of our Creator; wisdom will arise from within, expanding our soul evolution in human form. Let us say “Yes,” to God’s knowing and use of power, love and wisdom.
This Coronavirus is offering us the experience of accepting what we cannot change. Changing what we can and knowing, living the difference.
Let’s say “Yes” to God and embrace the serenity when we accept our Creator’s ways with this Coronavirus experience or other life struggles and tragedies. Let us pursue the courage and strength to change what we can, especially our self, and the wisdom to know the difference. This is our birthright and the higher, more expanded way to walk the Earth—Rising as Love and Goodness.
David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC, from Grand Rapids, MI., is a licensed clinical and spiritual social worker, certified life transition coach, and author of Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey. His practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential. Visit David’s website: transitionpathways.com David’s book, Just Be Love is available for purchase through the publisher: Global Summit House email: infoglobalsummithouse.com and Amazon.com. If you would like an autograph copy of his book, contact David by email: firstname.lastname@example.org