Lent, Holy Week and Easter are a time of contemplation and reflection. This season can also be used for fasting or denying ourselves, or the opposite, adding a new discipline to our lives. Lent is the six weeks before Easter, during which many people of faith prepare their hearts for the Holy Week through these practices. This focused 40 days of discipline often leads to….what? Unfortunately, many people find after such a time of spiritual growth they end up feeling a bit of an emotional letdown or disappointment.
While Lent can be such a beautiful time of discovering new truths, ridding ourselves of things that distract us spiritually and a heightened awareness of the gift of the Resurrection, we often find ourselves with a case of the blues. We return to our normal routines and are not challenged to renewed consecration and accountability, It can be oddly unsettling to suddenly not be fasting. Some people, instead of fasting during Lent, add new spiritual disciplines, such as Scripture memorization, journaling or volunteering weekly. Suddenly, with no external motivation driving them to participate in these activities, they no longer have the “want to” desire.
So how do we avoid this type of spiritual stand still? These 4 Tips to Dealing with Post-Holiday Blues will help keep you moving forward.
- Live out what you have learned
It is easy to come to the end of a season like Lent and simply move on to what is next without processing the experience. It is important to ask yourself, “What did I learn?” Maybe this is the first time you have attempted fasting. Was it harder than you expected? Were you able to turn your attention toward prayer when you experienced the ache from self-denial? Do you feel you grew in discipline or recognized after a difficult day that you had become too dependent on the thing from which you were abstaining? Dig deep to discover one truth you can carry with you from the 40 day experience.
Perhaps you recognized you need a greater dependence on His spirit, or that social media truly was a distraction interfering with how you hear His voice, or simply that you don’t actually need caffeine to make it through the day! It might be a physical or spiritual truth, but identify it and continue to live it out. Don’t waste what you learned!
- Use your momentum
Have you ever tried to ride your bike down one hill and up another? The key is to use the momentum from going down the first hill to get you to the top of the second hill! You just spent 40 days developing a new discipline whether through fasting or practice. You should be proud of that! Do not lose that momentum! Maybe you should keep it going or even better discover what is your next step?
- Do you need to join a small group?
- Should you find an accountability group/partner?
- Maybe you should join a gym or start taking an exercise class?
- What is the Lord impressing you to do with what you have discovered or learned?
Answer that question; and then make a plan and do it!
- Develop new disciplines
Maybe instead of abstaining from something during Lent you began a new practice. Did it work for you? Did it stir your affection for the Lord and draw you closer to Him? Then by all means continue it! Or tweak it a bit to make it something you could do daily or weekly instead of for just a season. So maybe you should continue:
- Prayer journaling
- A weekly fast
- Avoiding caffeine
- To have daily boundaries for screen time
- Share with others your takeaways
One of the best ways to ensure what you have learned is to tell others about it! When you explain your experience and share your truth or takeaway, it solidifies it in you. It also gives glory to the Holy Spirit that worked that truth out in you. When you allow others to share your journey by telling them what you have learned, you invite them into your story. You may just ignite a spark that will lead them to their own journey!
How do you pull yourself up from the post-Holiday blues and turn the emotional let down into positive steps forward?