How to Seek Stillness This Summer

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters
He restores my soul.”

(Psalm 23:1-3 NIV)

Chances are you’ve read these words before, but perhaps missed the opportunity for them to pave the way to stillness amidst the swirling storms of daily life. Summer invites us to set the regular rhythms of our worrisome days aside and instead seek refuge with our Great Shepherd. But what does stillness look like when there remains work to complete, children to care for, and challenging circumstances to navigate? Perhaps these reminders will help form your starting place for stillness all summer and beyond.

  1. Stop looking for greener pastures.

When less-than-ideal circumstances loom overhead, a health issue remains uncertain, or a relationship continues unamended, I tend to look around me for an easier, better path. Surely other’s lives lack drama and disappointment. After all, they seem to live life on a dream vacation, floating away from the heartache and dark skies that surround the rest of us.

Over time, those whispers of envy form walls of bitterness and blind my eyes to the faithful provision God offers. I find myself striving after a greener pasture rather than embracing the life God has chosen for me.

We may not even have a storm raging to feel the nagging lie that our pictures aren’t as dreamy as theirs, or that our children won’t be as successful as theirs. If only God led us to greener pastures.

Perhaps we feel like we have served our time through the valley of the shadow of death and now it should only be green pastures from now on. Somehow, we operate in our faith as if God owes us greener pastures like an employer transaction. But Psalm 23 reminds us that the valleys of life are inevitable. Not a measurement of God’s love for us, but rather a conduit for us to rely on his faithful shepherding all the while.

As a shepherd, He promises to lead us to the pasture that will most nourish and sustain us along life’s journey. To find true stillness despite our circumstances, stop looking for greener pastures, and start trusting His leading.

  1. Assess the current of your life.

Recently, our family traveled to the beach for a few days of intentional rest. The first day we arrived with boogie boards in hand for play and a bag packed full of books for relaxation. Minutes later, our eyes widened as two red flags waved above our heads, warning beachgoers that life-threatening currents prohibited access to water for the day.

In the same way we, too, experience life’s rocking waves and unforeseen outcomes. Perhaps you risk being lulled to sleep by their constancy, so that you forget the potential dangers that lay below the surface of a fast-paced, hurried life.

Maybe the waves of anxiety and exhaustion continue to beat against the shoreline of your life, and you have become numb to the undercurrent of an over-committed life with pressure to constantly perform.

Maybe the rocking waves of emotions, a failed marriage, abuse, or betrayal threaten to consume and take you completely under for good. Learning to ride the waves at this point feels downright exhausting, so you begin to contemplate ways to make them stop once and for all.

Whatever it is for you, now is the time to heed the warning and find a life of stillness found on the shores of grace. These waves in our lives are not formed on their own. There is usually something right under the surface that indicates the need to take a step back and reassess. Allow this summer to be a time of re-assessment and adjustment.

Psalm 23 reminds us that when the currents of our lives threaten to drown out the soft whisper of an ever-present God, He promises to lead us to still waters. In fact, all we have to do is cry out to the One who controls the wind and the waves, and He will draw near. When we allow our hearts to rest on His word, and make time to hear from Him, the pace of our lives reflects a steady perseverance over a rushed sprint.

  1. Remember restoration comes from God.

The times I feel most fragmented are the times when stillness is scarce. My soul searches for wholeness, rest, and refreshment in a variety of areas or from a variety of people. Yet Psalm 23:3 reminds me that God is the one who restores my soul—assembling the exhausted, doubting pieces back together. He is the ultimate source of my renewal in all seasons.

When we feel weary from the end of a relentless school year and nonstop activity, it’s common to search for refreshment in the expectations of a dreamy summer escape. While these months offer us moments of pause, so often we choose temporary fixes in search of complete restoration.

So, we keep searching and worrying all summer long.

I’m all for slow days swimming, organized drawers, and fun family trips, but let’s not forget that what refreshes our souls in a lasting way is stillness with God. When we feel lost or broken, we can turn to Him and find that He is more than capable of making us whole again.

As you meditate on Psalm 23:3, let it be a reminder that God’s restoration is comprehensive—it touches every part of your life. He restores our joy, peace, hope, and purpose. He restores our very soul.

Take comfort in the promise that your soul is in the hands of the Good Shepherd, who restores it with His perfect love. Just as a shepherd tenderly cares for his sheep, leading them to still waters and lush, green pastures, so your Heavenly Father cares for you, providing the spiritual nourishment you need to be rejuvenated now and always.

This summer, find stillness by seeking out God’s presence first, then trust His love as He leads you through another season.

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