Welcome to my Friends and Fellowship Serenity Summer Soiree. Each week during the months of June, July, and August plan to enjoy meeting some of my favorite writing friends and fellowship around the goodness of the Lord. This week, we are encouraged by my sweet friend, and award-winning writer, Jeanne Takenaka, as she shares 4 ways to find peace during difficult seasons.
Is anyone else like me, thinking we will find peace in the “lazy days of summer?”
After a crazy springtime/end of the school year, we often assume we’ll find peace and experience serenity during the summer months. And, perhaps, in some ways, we do.
Last summer, our family faced multiple transitions. And trips. And upheaval, physically, mentally, emotionally. I longed for serenity and peace. Our two young drivers shared one car. I gave rides to the one who drew the short straw for using the vehicle each day.
One son rebelled and sneaked out many nights. He hung out with friends who influenced him in dangerous ways. One son slipped into a deep depression, which scared me and stole my sleep. One son geared up for his first foray into college life.
Finding peace last summer seemed out of reach. Every week or two, I traveled with one son or the other for college visits and acting activities, and we threw a family vacation in there too. By mid-August, I was worn, fraying at the edges of my soul, and constantly worried.
When we know what to do
I knew the pat answer to my anxiety was to trust God, to pray, to be in His word. And these are all sound suggestions. Sometimes, though, we need a unique touch from God, reminders that He is with us in life’s unknowns.
In some of our seasons, peace seems elusive. And serenity? During our children’s season of rebellion and depression, I was anything but calm. My thoughts churned my heart and spirit into a froth.
My focus diverted from Jesus to the circumstances. Trusting God? I couldn’t figure out how to do that.
Here are a Few Things I Learned About How to Find Peace During Difficult Seasons
- In difficult seasons, we need to give ourselves grace to feel the feelings. But we also need to not get stuck there. God isn’t surprised by any of our thoughts, our worries, our feelings. He will walk with us through them into a healthier place.
- Even when I felt like I was failing in trusting God, I kept coming to Him. During my morning walks, He spoke hope into my heart through beauty and even through a surprise rainbow that started without rain in the air. He reminded me He was with me. He is always working in our situations.
- Serenity isn’t the absence of chaos. It’s the calm that comes in the middle of the crazy, because of where our focus is.
- Remember, when we fall into worrying seasons, God still loves us. We find peace when we hand over our loved ones, our situations, our concerns (read fears) to the Lord. To the degree that we trust God in difficult times, we can experience His peace.
Ways we can find peace in difficult seasons
These are some suggestions for what helped me find peace in our difficult season.
- Prioritize spending time to nurture our relationship with God through studying His word, prayer, worship, and being still. I know. This is sometimes painfully hard. We have feelings, thoughts, and questions about why God allows what He does. But, when we seek to know Him, our hearts and spirits can calm down.
- Accept our current circumstance. This article at Great Performers reminded me of the importance of acceptance. Too often, My first instinct is to attempt to change this situation, not sit in it. But God . . . God knows the whys of our current season. When we choose to accept where we are and that God is with us, the turmoil in our inner lives stills.
- Choose gratitude. Giving thanks takes our focus off of ourselves and plants it on God. This alone enables us to find peace.
- Find one thing we can do that brings peace to our environment. When I feel chaotic inside, decluttering does wonders for stilling the chaos in my heart. It enables me to see my life, my space, and my current season with a fresh perspective.
As summer faded to fall, my heart aligned with God, coming to a place of yielding and trusting Him. It took time and continual seeking to draw near to my Father. Peace came in yielding and trusting.
Serenity in tough seasons can only come about when we decide in our hearts we will trust God, no matter what.
Summertime can be the most difficult time to find peace, especially for those who have children in the home. Summer schedules alter our priorities and sometimes cause stress. But, when we shift our perspective, this season can be one of serenity, laughter, stretching, and joy.
What about you? What helps you find peace in summer’s busyness? What’s one thing you love about summertime?
Award-winning writer and blogger Jeanne Takenaka creates stories where faith and grace hold hands in relationships with people and with God. She has been married for twenty-six years to her real-life hero and is mother to two young adult sons who keep her on her knees in prayer. They live in Colorado. She enjoys making memories with her family, hanging out with friends, and savoring a great oat milk latté. When she’s not writing, you can usually find Jeanne, camera in hand, looking for #alittlebitofpretty in her days. She is represented by Cynthia Ruchti with Books and Such Literary Management. Connect with Jeanne on her website and blog, on Instagram and on Facebook