One day, a man was walking down the street and saw a woman standing in front a brick building. She had her hands pressed against the bricks and was pushing with all of her might. She had beads of sweat dripping down her face.
“Excuse me, are you OK? May I ask what you are doing?” the man inquired.
“I don’t want this building here. I want it over there. It’s blocking the view from my apartment.”
The man wasn’t sure how to respond, so he wished her luck and continued on his way.
This woman sound a bit crazy right?
But consider this: she’s not crazy for wanting something different or for feeling disappointed about her crappy view. But she’s wasting her time and energy with her attempted “solution”.
Whenever I focus my energy on trying to change something that is NOT in my control, I am acting like that woman. (Ugh…that’s a hard pill to swallow.)
And, in fact, whenever I focus my energy on obsessively wishing something will change when that something is NOT in my control, I am acting like that woman.
The next day, the man is walking down the same street and sees the same woman in front of the same brick building. Only this time, she’s not standing and pushing against it, she is sitting cross-legged on the ground just staring at it.
“Ma’am, is everything OK? What are you doing?”, he asks again.
“I am just wishing this building wasn’t here. I don’t like it here. I want it over there. It’s blocking the view from my apartment.”
She wants something different – that’s fair. She feels disappointed – also fair. BUT, the longer she focuses her emotional energy on something that she can’t change, the more frustrated she will feel.
No amount of wanting or moping or complaining about the building is going to make it move. (But those things can sure be fun!)
I can’t change other people. I can’t change many situations and circumstances.
But I can change me.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.