Confession: I suffer from pretty severe Monday-itis, WebMD told me so. If it were up to me, no one would have to talk on Mondays. We would just walk around giving each other coffee and cuddles, because waking up is really hard sometimes.
A few weeks ago we had our women’s conference She Rises, which is held in the iconic Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. It was a weekend of doing all of things I love with all of the people I love, so somehow sleep felt optional. It was one of those I-can’t-believe-I-get-to-do-this weekends.
But then it was Monday, and the weekend hid behind my instinct to throw my alarm clock out the window and hand in my adult-card. I stumbled out to the kitchen like a baby learning to walk, sat on my kitchen bench, and waited for my Keurig to give me life. While waiting, I scrolled through Instagram and was met with this quote:
“If you were doing what you loved, you’d never have a tough Monday.”
I want to use my non-existent karate skills on the person who posted it, but since my coffee was ready I decided to give a passive-aggressive double tap.
After rereading this post for way too long, I found myself obsessing over someone else’s opinion. I started to think that feeling worn out on Monday meant I wasn’t cut out for being a pastor.
Ever had an unexpected moment of weakness right after a huge win? Ever dealt with unexplainable defeat right after a dream? Ever felt exhausted when you were meant to feel excited?
We all know what it’s like feel vulnerable right after a victory. It takes us by surprise and leaves us wondering if we have what it takes to fight the next battle. Trust me, you are not alone.
A few after I read that quote and questioned my calling, I read a story in the bible about Elijah on (probably) a Monday. It’s found in 1 Kings 19.
Elijah had an amazing conference weekend. He called down fire from heaven (conference opener) to show that God was boss, which lead into the best altar call ever, and then he killed the false prophets (this isn’t recommended for your conference). After that he called down rain from Heaven to end a drought, and then supernaturally ran ahead of it so he didn’t get his boots ruined, that’s my version anyway. That’s a pretty successful weekend! So it’s no wonder he woke up the next day (perhaps a Monday), absolutely exhausted. He was so tired that when the king’s wife Jezebel sent him a death threat because he killed the false prophets, he ran for his life.
Elijah had one of the greatest moments in ministry, but then ran from an empty threat because his fatigue filtered his faith. Exhaustion causes us to view the empty threats of life as suddenly life threatening. And I know how that feels.
Perhaps the day after the battle is more important than the battle itself.
Perhaps a decision not to rest after this battle is a decision not to be effective in the next.
Here are four simple ways to rest and refuel in moments of “Monday.”
1. Get full.
The angel made Elijah eat and drink until he was full because our body needs to be fed to function. Often when I am in conference/mom/wife/ministry mode, I forget to eat well. Sometimes emotions are just because we’re hangry (hungry + angry)!
2. Get down – sleep
When a toddler is having a meltdown it’s usually a sign they need to go night-night. Sometimes, I am that toddler. I am sad because I’m stuck in traffic, and overwhelmed because my hair is oily, and irrationally angry over an imaginary conversation I had in my head with my husband. And actually? I probably just need to shut down and go night-night.
The angel let Elijah rest. There comes a time when we have to shut down the devices and actually shut our eyes.
3. Get up – walk
Once he had regained some strength, Elijah went for a walk. I bet he didn’t feel like walking, but he did. Disclaimer: Elijah walked for forty days. Unless you are Forrest Gump, don’t do that. But why not take some time to go on a hike, take a yoga class, or try that dance class you keep driving past?
Exercise has saved my butt (pun intended) on many occasions. It’s helped me manage my emotions and stress better than anything else. The endorphins that release when we raise our heart rate do things that sleep alone will not.
4. Get away – Have some quiet time with Him.
The pinnacle of Elijah’s return to strength was an unforgettable experience with God. It’s amazing how quickly we can wander away from where God wants us when we are tired. God doesn’t get mad, He simply asks:
1 Kings 19:9:
“The Lord asked, “why are you here?”
And in that question, with His kindness, He will always take our brokenness and bind it up with His bold grace. Just like he did for Elijah (1 Kings 19:9-13).
So if you find yourself having a moment of vulnerability, even if it’s not Monday, you are not alone. Schedule some rest into your routine this week. And when you do, linger a little longer. Find Him in the whisper and you’ll find the strength you need to get back in the game. Happy Monday.
Elyse is a writer, pastor, and international speaker. Her experiences of life as a pastor’s kid have led Elyse to write her first book “Confessions of a Church Kid.” Elyse now resides in Los Angeles, working with young adults and ministering as one of the pastors at Oasis Church in Downtown Hollywood. Connect with Elyse on her blog.