Distracted on Saturday depressed on Sunday

punching-bag discouragementPreachers, teachers, and pastors often express a nearly universal weekend sentiment: they are distracted on Saturday and depressed on Sunday. The pre-preaching preparations start to settle over them by mid-afternoon on Saturday, and the post-preaching depressions start kicking in shortly after their services end on Sunday.

This isn’t always the case of course. Indeed some of our Saturday nights are peaceful and fun, and some Sunday mornings leave us feeling bold and inspired. Unfortunately though, that’s not usually the norm. Usually for us pastors, varying levels of distraction and discouragement mark our weekends.

The distraction and discouragement aren’t inherently bad things—after all, we’re excited to preach and we want to positively impact our hearers—and they can be useful tools to help us grow and draw us deeper into God’s presence and perspective. However, if they’re allowed to gain too great a hold on us, they will inevitably take us out. We will turn too much of our focus inward and we’ll lose precious time with family and friends. We will be present but absent at the same time, and instead of celebrating what God is doing, we will end up fixating on ourselves.

Fortunately, there is a remedy, but you have to love boxing to understand it. It’s called the counterpunch, wherein a fighter throws a swift, countering blow right into the middle of his or her opponent’s barrage. It’s how Evander Holyfield KO’d Mike Tyson back in 1996. A 25 – 1 underdog, Holyfield counterpunched Tyson into submission, ultimately scoring the greatest upset in boxing history. It’s how Floyd Mayweather Jr. has remained undefeated in 49 professional fights.

The counterpunching strategy is simple. When hit, hit. When pushed, push back. Pray. Read a Scripture. Speak truth to yourself. Say out loud that you are rejecting the discouraging lies of the enemy. Pray for someone else. Go for a run. Do something to shake the wet blanket of distracting discouragement, so you can get back in the saddle and carry on.

Although directed at a pastoral dynamic, this post applies to all of us. Whatever your vulnerability is and however and whenever you get hit there—hit back. Counterpunch. It’s the path to boxing upsets and victory in spiritual warfare.