“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow springs of life.” –Proverbs 4:23
The hours following Sunday morning are widely considered a low point of the week for worship leaders and pastors of all stripes. The high of leading at full capacity has worn off and we re-awaken beneath that familiar, but no less ominous, cloud of despondency. Exhausted and spent, we proceed to analyze each moment of the day’s worship service in painstaking detail, questioning every decision and inwardly beating ourselves black and blue for every looming mistake.
First, Consider Your Heart
The reality is that the post-Sunday blues are symptomatic of what is ultimate in a leader’s heart. If you wish to truly understand yourself, pay close attention to your thought patterns and desires in that 24 hours after Sunday morning. This will tell you everything you need to know about the condition of your soul and what idols you are prone to worship when the high wears off.
The truth is that we all run to certain things in order to cope with the spiritual and personal doldrums of ministry. Some leaders buckle under the condemnation, resorting to morbid introspection and self-focus; while others pretend it isn’t there, suppressing their despondency to maintain appearances. Both of these coping methods will inevitably blow up in your face in any number of ways. Therefore we need better strategies.
Strategies for Your Joy on Sunday Afternoon
So where can we find deep, abiding joy as we battle ministerial despondency? Can we really outfox our post-Sunday melancholy? I’d like to offer four practical suggestions to combat depression at a heart-level in the wake of Sunday morning. Hopefully, these will help us all to see that, contrary to our common experience, Sunday is actually an opportunity to be strengthened in the joy of the Lord.
Recall your vision
Your vision for ministry is a surprising part of the struggle for joy. On the commute home after a particularly difficult Sunday, I will ask myself in a spirit of prayer, Did we uphold our vision today? I do this because there’s something significant about going back to square one in retrospect. So keep the main thing the main thing on Sunday afternoon. Otherwise you’ll get swallowed up in the minutia and thereby intensify the very disillusionment you should be fighting. Therefore, by God’s grace, allow your vision for ministry to inform your perception of ministry before anything else.
Remember your identity
Who does God say that you are? What promises has he made to you in his Word? Serious, prayerful consideration of these types of questions will help you maintain Gospel-sanity on Sunday afternoon. According to Scripture, you are adopted by God and are therefore a co-heir with his Son (Rom. 8:12-17). You have been been crucified with Christ and are now eternally united with him by faith (Gal. 2:20). All the promises God has made to you are Yes and Amen in him (2 Cor. 1:20). So stop listening to yourself and start talking to yourself about who you are in Christ.
Resolve to rest
Let detailed evaluations of Sunday morning wait until Monday. Tomorrow will worry about itself, so rest today (Matt. 6:34). Take a nap. Watch some NFL Sunday Ticket. Do some yard work. Play with your kids. If it helps you rest in God and enjoy the treasures of life, resolve to do it. Your capacity to rest demonstrates your willingness to trust. So let Sunday be what it was and trust God with your work.
Relate to others
Lastly, don’t combat post-Sunday despondency alone. You must be faithful to relate to others in the midst of your struggle for joy. After all, we are hard-wired for relationship (cf. Gen. 2:18). So honestly communicate the reality of your despondency with godly people whom you trust. This might be your spouse, another staff member from your church, or a prayer partner. Whatever you do, don’t manage it on your own. Instead, make someone aware and ask them to commit to praying for you each Sunday afternoon. You’ll be surprised by the encouragement you receive from such relationships.
Dear worship leader, God is pleased with you. He doesn’t love you based on the quality of your performance in ministry. He loves you based on the righteousness of his Son with whom he is well pleased (Matt. 3:16). Thus Sunday afternoon isn’t a source of condemnation you must merely survive. Rather it’s an opportunity for you to thrive in the Gospel. God has given us the resources we need to outfox our disillusionment and fight for joy. After all, he is more committed to your joy than you are. He didn’t spare his own Son to save us (Rom. 8:32), and he won’t start holding out on us now. So let his grace take the lead as you take steps to redeem Sunday afternoon from the tyranny of despondency.
This article originally appeared here.