It is when we try to make our will conform with God’s that we begin to use it rightly. To all of us, this was a most wonderful revelation. Our whole trouble had been the misuse of willpower. We had tried to bombard our problems with it instead of attempting to bring it into agreement with God’s intention for us. To make this increasingly possible is the purpose of A.A.’s Twelve Steps, and Step Three opens the door.
Once we have come into agreement with these ideas, it is really easy to begin the practice of Step Three. In all times of emotional disturbance or indecision, we can pause, ask for quiet, and in the stillness simply say: “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. Thy will, not mine, be done.”
I believe I have used this tool fairly successfully. Not in the sense that I always or even usually ascertain God’s will and then carry it out. And I also have never embraced and used the Serenity Prayer in my day to day life the way some people do. But I have for a long time known in moments of emotional disturbance or indecision to ask for God’s will. In times of very high stress, like when someone seems to be in mortal danger, I usually default to that thought, something like, “God, show me what to do,” or, “God, use me to do what needs to be done.”
I say I’ve used it successfully because I haven’t had a drink. I can see from here that it’s taking me myself and I out of the equation and opening my mind to what I hope is a better way. The rest of the Steps are the instructions for how to continue on in this.