Serenity is not a thing. It cannot be held or touched or tasted or locked away in a vault somewhere.
Sometimes I wish it was. Sometimes I think it would be easier if it were a tangible object I could purchase from a street vendor and carry around in my pocket with my lip gloss.
But then if I could purchase it, it would become something I take for granted. Something I could misplace. Or even worse, something that could be in such high demand only the rich could afford it.
In reality, serenity is an experience, a state of mind, and – I believe – a state of the soul.
When I first began to search for serenity in college I was suffering with tremendous anxiety, I was not sure it could be attained. At best, I doubted my mind and emotions would work right so I could obtain it. At worst, I doubted its existence entirely.
I knew it meant peace in my mind and peace for my emotions, but nothing more. The idea of equanimity was all my brain could comprehend. Alcohol became my easy fix for numbing out.
Eventually, I assumed a life without alcohol meant a life without fun, without excitement, without that certain spark. Until I strung together a pile of one-days-at-a-time, I had only experienced sober adult life as oppressive and speckled with panic attacks.
Eventually, my idea of serenity began to take a surprisingly exciting shape. I was experiencing positive experiences and emotions I never thought were possible without movie-magic or a buzz. It does exist, and it’s much more than equanimity.
Here’s what I’ve learned about serenity:
Serenity is trusting God with your life. Trusting that He is giving you what need and not necessarily what you want.
Serenity is ditching what doesn’t work, whether that’s people, substances, thought patterns, behaviors, or all of the above.
Serenity is gathering and nurturing that which makes you excited, happy, and thankful.
Serenity is the process of learning how freedom from drama is possible with friends’ help and support, and taking comfort we are not alone and our struggles aren’t so different from the next person’s.
Serenity is understanding that you are priceless, cherished by the one who created you.
Serenity is confidence in knowing that while everything and everyone that surrounds you has an expiration date, God’s love for you is eternal and will never fade or even flicker.
Serenity is freedom. Serenity is hope. Serenity is peace. Joy. Fun. Excitement. Adventure. Laughter. Confidence.
It is not a destination. It is not a way to live perfectly. It is a way to experience your journey with maximum freedom.
How you create serenity along your journey will look different from mine. Your story is different because God tailored it exactly for you. Your struggles, joys and preferences are unique to you.
I needed to create more boundaries to find serenity, but you may need to tear down thick walls to finally let others in. Part of the journey is discovering what you need to live a life with a lot less drama in your head, your heart, and your soul. And discovering how to create a lot more serenity.
This year marks a new leg in my journey. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I followed God’s lead. He is asking me to share what I’ve learned with you, my dear reader. And beyond that, He has asked me to be a speaker to groups and individuals. A single-handed speaker of truth. And like the woman at the well, I’ll share what I know with anyone who’ll listen: serenity is possible with God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
There are days when I fight depression from raging hormones (ladies, you know what I’m talking about) or want to numb out with a big bottle of wine. But there is never despair; I know the struggles I face have an expiration date.
Hope and gratitude and confidence in something far greater than anything this world has to offer – that is the serenity for my soul I nurture every day.
I invite you to travel alongside me with this blog and explore what it looks like to trust God, ditch drama, and love this life.