From time to time after youth group is done, I experience a variety of dark emotions: depression, loneliness, doubt, insecurities, questioning, hopelessness, confusion, and tiredness. I absolutely hate the drive home because I am left alone to deal with my negative emotions and thoughts.
It is my belief that there are external forces (including a demonic force) attempting to hijack us after a night of ministry. When everything is said and done, we are vulnerable and exposed.
In dealing with post-youth group we have two options:
First, we pretend that we are fine after a night of giving our souls away. And we somehow try to comprehend this confused and depressed state while we are doubting our call and our gifts for ministry. We wonder why we are snappy towards our spouse and why we had such a huge shift in our mood? By living in this state we are simply taking a beating and absorb the hits.
We confront the negative and dark emotions and thoughts. We get strong and seek His spirit and fight the good fight. We take guard and we fight back. We be proactive, not passive. We have to stand up to these external forces. I don’t care if you dont believe in the cosmic battle–It is the real deal. Spiritual warfare in the USA manifests itself in different ways and it is alive! The demonic attaches to our deepest secrets and deepest insecurities and controls our energy and emotions. We live and function in a world that is ruled by a King who lies and wants to destroy us. We have to acknowledge we are exposed to a power that is not the Kingdom of God. This is why I strongly and violently embrace the Christus Victor atonement paradigm.
It is essential we get in environments that will shift our psychological and spiritual state, to a strong and confident state. Can we see why John calls the Spirit a paraclete? So it is a wise idea to console with the paraclete in places that will mends and counsel us back together.
Here are a few of my places:
1) Car. I love the car and I love to drive. Driving for me is very therapeutic and a great connecting point with God. I also play music that matches my spiritual and psychological state. If I am mad, I play mad music.
2) Beach. The sound of the waves and the movement of the ocean ministers to my soul.
3) Scenic Views. I love to find look out points or points where I can see for miles. I imagine that I am right by Jesus praying (like in Luke 4)in a isolated place as I am exposed to the evil ways of the evil one.
4) I take a walk. There is something about walking that generates an energy for me to gain my spiritual strength back.
5) I work out. By exerting force, I am able to combat any force working against me. I love to run, pump iron, push ups, pull ups, and muscle ups.
I wish ministers would talk more about this post-youth group period. Not enough pastors are talking about it. We need to talk about it a lot because it is a very lonely and depressing time, which may contribute to burn out or a deep depression or even a demonic suppression. For too many years, I would just take the pyschologoical beatings and pysch myself out., which ONLY contributed to me being a insecure youth pastor. I started to flourish and thrive once I realized that I had to fight and I needed to learn how to fight. I was prepared and not blindsided after everything was said and done. It is all about awareness and sensitivity. I knew how to identify my dark emotions and deal with them while leaning into the paraclete. Not to get all super spiritual, but I think it is foolish to say there is NOT something working against us after we had an effective day in “ministry”.