Three weeks ago my birthday was on a Sunday. I quit counting birthdays last year; however, acknowledging my birthday on a Sunday gives added meaning to the Sunday afternoon blues. Many of us experience melancholy on Sunday afternoon (or on Monday morning), birthdays notwithstanding.
No matter how great a Sunday morning Bible study session or kids worship hour is, the Sunday afternoon blues often come knocking on my door. If you experience a similar emotion, maybe these ideas will help you beat the blues:
Know your personality and temperament. If you are introverted by nature, you are more susceptible to the Sunday afternoon blues. If you tend to be introspective and melancholy, you are more susceptible as well. Knowing your susceptibility puts you on alert that Satan “is prowling around like a roaring lion” and may use this occasion to tempt you to doubt God’s calling on your life to teach kids. (1 Peter 5:6-9)
Eat something healthy. When I was a young adult, a seasoned pastor remarked that after Sunday evening worship services he would go home and eat an egg sandwich. There are times when fasting is appropriate. The Bible is also clear that we are to take care of our bodies. When Elijah was depressed after a victorious worship experience on Mount Carmel, an angel instructed him to “get up and eat.” (1 Kings 19:1-7)
Rest without electronics. Many times the last thing I view at night and the first thing I look at in the morning is either my iPad® or iPhone®. That’s not healthy, and that’s not rest. After teaching kids, go home, eat a healthy meal, and take a nap. Elijah did that, too. (1 Kings 19:6)
Get up and move. Wait! Didn’t I just say to rest? Yes, but don’t sleep your day away. I have found that if I follow a Sunday afternoon nap with activity, I feel better emotionally. For some, this may entail going to church for Sunday evening services, then returning home and taking a walk or carrying out the trash. Exertion is not necessary, just get moving. Again, look at Elijah. “He got up, ate, and drank. Then on the strength from that food, he walked forty days and forty nights.” (1 Kings 19:8) (Okay, forty days is a bit extreme.)
Stop beating up yourself. Let’s face it you’re not perfect, and neither are the kids you teach or the parents you serve. You are going to make mistakes at church. Get over them and leave them in the church parking lot. If you need to rectify a situation, do so. Certainly ask God to forgive you. Then, go home and rest in Jesus. (Hebrews 4:9-11) Most likely the kids have already forgotten about the incident in question.
Recount positive things that happened at church. One of the causes of the Sunday afternoon blues is being tired. When I’m tired—and especially when I’m both tired and hungry—I tend to think about what went wrong in the session with kids. Train yourself to talk about what went right before you say anything negative. Sunday lunch should be a time of recounting how God is at work in your class and in your church. Paul and Barnabas provide a good example for us: “After they arrived and gathered the church together, they reported everything God had done with them and that he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.” (Acts 14:27)
Thank God that every week you get to teach kids about Jesus. And thank God for the families He lets you serve. Along with Paul we can say, “I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:3-6)
Landry Holmes is the Manager of Lifeway Kids Ministry Publishing, Nashville, TN. A graduate of Howard Payne University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Landry served on church staffs before coming to Lifeway. He is a church leader, writer, workshop facilitator, and publisher. Landry also teaches children at his church in Middle Tennessee. He and his wife Janetta are the grandparents of two adorable grand babies.