2. Grant

“God, GRANT me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change”
        This drawing may confuse you at first. It is not lovely like most “inspiring” artwork. But please bear with me; you may feel as surprised as I was.
        I was so certain I knew this definition that I almost didn’t bother looking it up. However, its 1934 meaning was not what I expected. I think of the word “grant” as meaning the same thing as “to give”. I usually hear it in connection with someone applying for a financial grant and receiving they money they requested. To me, it basically seems like a gift. There are usually conditions attached to that type of grant. But once the grant is—well—granted, the recipient gets money from the grantor. Until now, “grant”meant the same thing as “to give”.
        Here is the 1934 definition: “Grant v. – to agree or assent to”.
        That’s odd. The word “giving” is nowhere to be found. Why would we ask our Higher Power, to “agree” instead of to “give”? Whenever I recited the Serenity Prayer, I thought I was asking to be GIVEN courage, serenity, and wisdom. I saying: “God won’t you please, please, please give me those good qualities?”
        Suddenly, that request suddenly made no sense. Why would I beg for qualities that the God of my understanding wants everyone to have? Would a loving God ever reply, “Hold on now. How dare you ask to receive any good qualities”? That idea suddenly struck me as ridiculous. Of course our Higher Power wants us to have good qualities… before we ask… while we ask… after we ask! Every minute of every day!
        Those financial grants I referred to earlier are not awarded as random favors. Not at all! Grants for, say “Female Farmers”, will only be given to female farmers. Every requestor will receive grants as long as the funds lasts. In the everyday world, grant providers run out of funds before all requests have been satisfied. But is it possible for the Divine supply of good human qualities to ever run out? Will a voice in Heaven ever bark, “We are receiving too many earthly requests for courage, serenity, and wisdom. Cut off the supply immediately!!!” When I think of it that way, it is totally ridiculous.

Only a fearful mind would conceive of a God like that. I had to admit that it was my fear—not my Higher Power—which denied me access to courage, serenity, and wisdom. I have come to believe that my Higher Power has already made those qualities readily available to me. He doesn’t really “give” them to me today, they became my birthright long ago.
        My fear often poses as an invincible wall. To confront my fear, I forced myself to draw exactly what fear WANTS me to believe. I depicted a cruel-looking and intimidating barrier between me and Serenity. The fence is tall and bristling with sharpened spikes, wires, chains, and nails. Surely, I could never penetrate it or scale it. Fear would have me believe God is sneering: “See how beautiful Serenity looks? Well I’m certainly not going to let YOU have it. I’m going to give it to someone else, not YOU!”
What a lie!
        The key to unlocking this “Grant” drawing sit out in plain sight. A glance to the right and the left of the barrier shows the fence is very narrow. As long as I remain frozen by my fear, I will be defeated by forces that are entirely inside my own mind. But if I ask my Creator to move away from the spot that fear has lured me into, I quickly can see that God had already granted me everything in the Serenity Prayer—before I ever asked.
        This 1934 definition changed the Serenity Prayer for me. The next time I recited it, I didn’t feel I was pleading for a handout. Rather, I felt I was saying “thank you” for receiving what my Higher Power had already granted long ago.
— Amen to that!
The Drawing
        If parts of this fence vaguely remind you of a concentration camp fence, that is on purpose. I wanted this fence to look horrible and that’s the most horrible type of fence I know of. Does my desire to show something scary confuse you?  To be honest, this drawing confuses most people and I understand why. It is showing us the world as Fear would have us see it. Fear wants us to view the world this way: “One way or the other, I will always be denied the good life that I yearn for.”  And who can argue with Fear? It is high and wide and deep and terrifying. In a moment of real panic, Fear blocks out everything else and completely fills up our entire view of the world. Like that fence in my drawing, my Fear is scary as hell. 
        Fortunately fear is not my Higher Power. I don’t have to believe it and trust it and follow it. I can take a step back from it at any time, and ask my real Higher Power to show me what He sees. When I do that, fear shrinks a little at first. Then I notice there is hopeful information that my fear forgot to mention. And fear shrinks a bit more. And soon, I notice I am not surrounded by a fence of fear anymore. In fact, fear usually shows me only a small piece of the whole picture. I can choose to stay “trapped” behind that small fence OR I often can choose to go a different way. Like around it. Away from it. Find another path that is free from fear. 
        Oh, it looks huge and awful, alright. But the only way that fear can replace my Higher Power is if I let it. I ask God to grant me the courage and serenity not to let that happen today.

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