When ‘Serenity Now!’ doesn’t work

In the Seinfeld television show, a character named Frank Costanza had the habit of doing a certain thing whenever he felt himself on the verge of freaking out. He exclaimed “Serenity Now!”

He felt that if he called out for serenity he would get it. Unfortunately Mr. Costanza didn’t ever seem to truly deal with his anger issues. He just bottled them up inside until the next big outburst.

There are other habits people have which try to achieve a similar effect. When some people feel themselves getting really upset about something they stop what they’re doing, go into another room, and take a series of deep breaths. To me, that sounds like a pretty good idea.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Paul says to “pray continually…” Yes, he is encouraging his readers to make a continual habit of prayer. But he’s also instructing them that there isn’t a time or feeling for which prayer isn’t warranted.

Including exasperation. 

When we’re upset about something, prayer isn’t often the first thing that comes to mind. We’d rather vent, lash out at someone, or wallow in the swamp of our own self-pity.

But prayer is a better use of time and energy.

Friends, there is a lot going on—in the world, in your community, in your home, and in your mind. Instead of throwing up your hands in exasperation, clasp your hands in expectation.

Our God works wonders, opens eyes, and changes hearts—even when you don’t feel very serene. 

Pray continually. When you’re weary, sad, mad or glad.

Instead of throwing up your hands in exasperation, clasp your hands in expectation.


Notes:

–The Up Devotional is published 5 days a week (Monday-Friday) and returns on July 11, 2022.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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