A while back I wrote a post about Post-Preaching Stress Disorder – the struggle many preachers face after giving of themselves in the pulpit. You can see that post here.
Let’s ponder further on what goes on inside the preacher. Instead of a landscape, let’s consider the “inscape” of the preacher who has preached. What might we be saying to ourselves in this time:
1. “I have failed God and let people down.” This is probably more common than most people realise. Too often we can be filled with self-recrimination based on how we felt things went in the preaching event. Perhaps some feedback or lack of feedback is playing on ours minds. Perhaps the enemy is whispering and trying to cause trouble for you in your vulnerable state. What would we advise anyone else to do with this sense of failure in other areas of life? Perhaps take that to the cross and give thanks for the forgiveness that is ours in Christ?
2. “I did really well, God is probably thankful I am on His team!” Probably less common, since our tendency is often not to feel great about preaching, but this one is not surprising considering our flesh’s gravitational pull toward pride. How easily our flesh can corrupt a good sermon into a moment for self-congratulation. It is important to hand over the successes as well as the failures, lest our relationship with God become determined (corrupted) by our performance.
3. “I received lots of praise, but I don’t let that touch me.” Here’s a more specific one. This is where we know that we shouldn’t become proud in the face of praise, so we handle it with humility . . . but there is always the danger of corrupting the humility into an impervious sense of distance from our ministry. This is the danger of disconnect, where we give a sermon, but we don’t give so much of ourselves as we used to. Be careful, God is probably not a fan of your “professional detachment” from something that means so much to Him.
4. “My ministry is done, now for some me time.” This is a very common danger. It is the post Mount Carmel danger zone that faces many of us week by week. How easily we feel we can “switch off” from walking closely with God and feel like we need independent rest. Rest may be exactly what is needed, but not rest away from God. Beware of justifying sin-stained choices in times of vulnerable fatigue. Be sure to rest with God, and perhaps with other people too. Lone time may be a devilish trap for the tired soul.
What do you find yourself saying inside after you preach?