One of the definitions of a hangover from Webster’s Dictionary is “a letdown following great excitement or excess.” It is a common human experience after a party, vacation, holiday, or even a great spiritual moment to experience a letdown. Easter is over and life can easily go back to its distracted, ho-hum, stress-filled existence. Jesus knew all about this when He said, “The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.” (Matthew 13:22)
The first time I came to understand this reality was back in high school. My friends and I went to a camp that was literally the best week of our lives. We came home fired up to live the rest of our lives for Jesus Christ. A month later, on a Saturday night, we were at a party. Looking around I saw quite a few of my fellow campers getting drunk. That’s when the thought hit me, “Wow, it’s amazing how fast things went back to the way they were before that incredible experience at camp.” None of us noticed the fade.
It doesn’t have to be that dramatic of an experience to have a spiritual letdown. Here we are just a few days past Easter and we may already be riding the fade. Some of us may already be going from, “He is Risen!” to “Is this pandemic ever going to end? I’m going nuts!” How do you beat the letdown? Let me share with you some of the things that I have observed in people who seem to resist the fade and continue to grow.
If you have recognized the fade, you are already doing great! Awareness is half the battle. David once said to God, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Psalm 139:23-24) When you make it a natural part of your life to connect with God, asking Him to point out anything that’s not quite right, He will bring awareness of the fade.
A spiritual sprinter is someone who gets fired up, goes 100mph, and then burns out. It’s like going to a worship service and getting all excited and then needing to take a nap later on in the day. It’s when you jump in to wanting to change the world and you start serving like crazy and then get worn out pretty quickly. Sprinters go fast, but they don’t go far.
The path to sustained growth and influence is all about letting Jesus set the pace. Jesus himself said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
Jesus said people don’t live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. (cf. Matthew 4:4) How often do you think about food during the day? Even if you don’t realize it, the answer is probably a lot. Jesus is saying that we need to be thinking about what God says as much as we think about what our stomach says. Why? Because He knows that God’s words are lifegiving, plus He knows His words fade quickly from our hearts and minds. That’s why God said to Joshua, “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to do everything written in it. Only then will you succeed and prosper in all you do.” (Joshua 1:8)
That is why such a powerful antidote to the fade is a daily time with God learning from Him through His Word. If you don’t know where to start, go to Bible.com. This site has wonderful reading
plans for you to follow that keep you moving.
There is a large difference in the rate of fade between someone who is a church attender and someone who is authentically connected with other Christ followers during the week. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect meeting
together as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.” It makes it harder to fade when you have people around you who are great encouragers and keep you moving in your relationship with Christ.
Jump into an online group, but don’t just attend. Get to know the people in your group and start praying for them during the week. You’ll find your heart connecting more with your new online
family and with God as well.
The real secret of not going through a fade or letdown is to take the opportunity to just do life with Jesus. I’m not talking about constantly obsessing over what you should be doing for Jesus, but simply enjoying life with Jesus. Paul wrote, “May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” (Ephesians 3:19)
But don’t be confused into thinking that to experience the love of Jesus means you will constantly have this feeling of intensity. Why? Because you can’t keep up the intensity. You will get tired. The love of Christ isn’t so much about intensity as it is about knowing how deeply he loves you. Even if the intensity isn’t there, you can still feel a great sense of peace from the security of knowing how much He loves you.
The fade is real and it happens, but it all depends on what you do with it. Will you just go with the flow and ebb back into your old life? Will you try to fire yourself back up only to burn out? Or will you simply start talking to God again and do life with Him?