With signs of summer all around, another shift in seasons is before us. And whether we are finishing a semester of school, helping our family transition to summer schedules, or simply readying our closets with flip-flops and swimsuits, change is upon us.
While summer typically brings a rush of graduation parties, weddings, and showers—celebrations meant to be happy and joyful—the truth is that transition, whether joyful or unexpected, can cause a lot of stress. We might feel flustered with the shift in responsibilities that summer brings, whether in our school, work, or home. Or we might feel overwhelmed by how quickly the year is speeding on.
We might worry, halfway through this calendar year, that we’re falling behind as everyone else seems to be picking up speed.
But it’s in the middle of our fears and worries and anxieties, in the middle of our changing seasons, that the Lord offers us his unshakable peace.
With that in mind, let’s consider three ways to walk in Christ's peace as the seasons shift.
1. Embrace the truth that a shift in seasons offers us a chance to rely on Christ rather than on our schedules or routines.
One of the things I love about the school year—even as a homeschooling family—is that our entire community falls into a predictable rhythm. Our commitments fall into a weekly pattern. I know what’s coming, and I know what to expect.
And while routines and rhythms can be life-giving in many ways, they can also nudge me to rely on myself and do things by my own strength. When I know what’s coming on any given day or in any given week, I feel a small measure of control. I can start to think that I’m the one getting things done and making things happen. But the shift in seasons upends that false sense of power, because the routines and schedules that I’ve built for the past season won’t work in the next one.
Change forces me to realize that I’m never actually in control—and that’s a good thing.
Only Christ Jesus is in ultimate control. And when seasonal transitions remind me of my lack of control, it helps to point my heart back to the sameness, goodness, and glory of the lordship of Christ. For while the world will never stop shifting and changing, we can find peace in knowing that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Things around us will constantly morph, but we can turn to him with confidence, knowing that our Lord remains consistent and faithful. This truth will fill our hearts with peace.
2. Remember that peace comes from the person of Christ, not our circumstances.
When our external circumstances shift, it can be tempting to allow what’s happening around us to determine what’s happening within us. Even the best types of change can deceive us. If we assume that we will find peace in a new house, in a new relationship, or through a new child, we will find ourselves overwhelmed and disappointed by how these good things never fill our hearts in the ways that we want.
That is why the Word exhorts us to find peace by keeping our hearts and minds fixed on God. Isaiah 26:3 tells us, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
It is the Lord himself who is the source of peace in our lives. He alone can give our hearts the rest and comfort we so desperately crave in every situation. Christ promised his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27). He didn't promise the world’s version of peace, which is dependent upon circumstances and is therefore easily “troubled.” He promised his peace—a peace that endures, regardless of what we face. Peace comes from Christ alone, and he can never be taken away from us!
3. Play! Summer is a great time to play and delight in being God's child, trusting in his love and care for us.
The transition to the summer season highlights many of the good gifts that the Lord has given to us in his natural world: glistening lakes and trees fully in leaf, sandy beaches and caves for exploring, blooming flowers and abundant sunshine. Children instinctively know that summer is a time to play. And in healthy families and communities, they have the freedom to do so because they don’t yet carry the responsibilities and burdens that adults do. They don’t worry about paying the mortgage or passing exams. They don’t have to think about making dinner or figure out which career path to follow. Children simply trust that adults will take care of them, so they live more fully in the moment, enjoying the good gifts of sunshine and green grass in front of them.
Perhaps we might follow their lead and play this summer, too, trusting that our heavenly Father will take care of us, his children. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1). Yes, we carry responsibilities, but God is ultimately in control. Yes, God gives us good work to do, but we can also rest in Jesus’ finished work on the cross.
It will take childlike humility and trust in Christ to let go of our worries (see Matt. 18:3–4) and play this summer. But doing so can help us embrace our standing as a child of God. We can be peaceful about the future because we have a loving Father.
Embrace the Fun
If taking time off from practical and mental work seems hard for you, start by playing small! Consider having a picnic lunch in the backyard or taking a walk around the neighborhood with a friend. If you’re more adventurous, plan some “play days.” You could spend the morning at a splash pad with your family (and join the kids in the water)! Or grab a friend and take a trip to a nearby town you haven’t explored yet. The opportunities are limitless, but the goal is the same—to enjoy God’s care for you by trusting him as this season shifts.
No matter what is ahead for you in this month or the next, God remains the same. You can rely on him, find peace in him, and play because of his love for you!
Meet the Author
Ann Swindell is the author of the new book The Path to Peace: Experiencing God’s Comfort When You’re Overwhelmed (Bethany House) and Still Waiting (Tyndale). Ann is a member of Wellspring Community Church in Hudsonville, Michigan, where her husband is a pastor. She teaches Christ-centered writing courses at Writing with Grace, and you can connect with her online at AnnSwindell.com.