I grew up listening to enough Thee’s, Thou’s, Thy’s, and Thine’s to believe that God only spoke in 15th Century English.  Shakespeare with his where for art thou? and the Psalmist David with his thou makest me to lie down in green pastures made it hard for a Kansas country boy to read 500-year-old English and watch the characters jump off the page.

But I learned a trick; paraphrasing. In some circles, I would be labeled a heretic, but I learned to create my own version.  Where the heck are you? replaced wherefore art thou? and I took a nap in the hay field was a reality I embraced more than he maketh me lie down in green pastures.

Now, I have my own version of this popular serenity prayer originally penned by Reinhod Niehbur.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

The serenity prayer is based upon the determination of personal responsibility. It assumes we recognize a problem and then asks us these questions:

  • Can I fix this?
  • Do I need to fix this?
  • Am I being asked to fix this or am I butting in?
  • Do I have the skills needed to solve it?
  • Do I have the authority to implement solutions?

Here is my paraphrase:

Not my circus; not my monkeys.

I loathe wasting time, resources, worry, and sleep on things that I can’t fix. I have expended a lot of mental energy fighting battles that were simply not mine to fight nor were battles anyone could win. I’ve become quite cautious about getting sucked into the drama of others.

Sometimes it is my circus; sometimes they are my monkeys; sometimes I need to throw myself passionately into providing order to the chaos.

But sometimes it’s not my circus; they are not my monkeys.

Wisdom is determining which circus I buy tickets for.

 The photo used in this blog was purchased from istock.com