I woke up last Sunday morning and couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. It felt like a truck had run over me and then backed up. Not only was I physically exhausted, but I felt emotionally wrung out. The negative narrative in my head began almost as soon as I opened my eyes. Here’s the weird thing…
Saturday had been an amazing day of ministry.
The event I participated in was filled with friends, and I got to partner with one of my favorite people, Tara Furman. Our keynotes book-ended the conference, and I felt particularly connected to the audience as I delivered a new message I’m passionate about with confidence.
So how could Sunday morning be completely horrible?
My mind wandered back to a talk I heard years ago given by Nancy Leigh DeMoss in which she used one of Abraham’s stories to illustrate this truth:
[Tweet “Many of our greatest spiritual attacks come after our greatest spiritual victories.”]
She used these verses as the foundation to her message:
17 After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).
18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying,
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Creator of heaven and earth.
20 And praise be to God Most High,
who delivered your enemies into your hand.”
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goodsfor yourself.”
22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, 23 that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ (Genesis 14: 17-22)
Do you see what happened?
Abraham defeats Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him. Victory!
Abraham rescued Lot. Victory!
Abraham meets with the King of Salem, the first High Priest recorded in the Bible. Some theologians believe he was the pre-incarnate Christ. Victory!
Abraham is tempted by the King of Sodom. After battle.
As I pondered this lesson, I reminded myself of some practices that I’ve let fall by the wayside.
Ministry requires rest. It’s a great gift to join God in His work, but being “on” is draining. I usually try to plan a slow day before and a day off after an event. Exhaustion is Satan’s playground, where he can lead us more easily into that negative self-talk.
Battle must be waged before AND after an event. I love praying through the armor of God in scripture to make sure I’m completely protected, but we need to remind ourselves that the battle isn’t over when we pack up to head home. Prayer for God’s covering needs to continue after as well.
Have you noticed that it’s easy to fall into the pit after an event? Share something that’s helped you to win the after-battle.