I’ve spent the last 12 years going to Christian festivals in the summer. They’ve been a staple part of August and, as a result, I’m a dab hand at putting up tents and being okay with not showering for a prolonged period of time.
These times away in a field in the middle of nowhere can be some of the most seminal and life-changing moments in our lives. But what happens when we get home? What happens when that issue we thought we had dealt with rears its ugly head again? What about Monday morning when you’re back in the office and, despite the sweet moments in God’s presence the previous week, you still can’t stand your job and it saps your joy?
Post-festival purgatory, as I call it, doesn’t need to be a stumbling block – it doesn’t have to haunt you. Otherwise, the tail end of each calendar year will be marred in a way that makes booking these events next year seem like a bad idea.
Share what happened
So often, we can restrict the good things that happened to that period in time, leaving them behind when you return to normal life. Find a couple of people who you can share what happened with. Tell them how it made you feel and – most importantly – what you are going to do about it now. Give these people full permission to hold you accountable and watch you grow in these areas.
Being involved in a vibrant community is really important.
Embrace your church
God’s plan is the local church – not conferences. As wonderful as it is to be encouraged and inspired as you worship alongside thousands of other believers, they’re moments in your calendar – not the everyday. It can be difficult to go from events to your local church, which has significantly fewer people and a below-par sound system. But if God’s calling you there, it’s not your place to be resentful or make passive aggressive remarks. How can you love your church more? How can you give more to it and encourage others who are there? What’s your role and are you fulfilling it? God’s not a conference God. He’s the same – in a field, in your church or in your bedroom.
Don’t beat yourself up
Often we have really high expectations when we come back to normal life. You have a long list of things you want to see happen or achieve, and the reality is that sometimes this doesn’t always happen. It can feel like there’s a huge gulf between the ‘you-at-the-conference’ and ‘you, now’. Don’t beat yourself up if this is the case. Your activity never has and never will determine your identity – it’s the other way round.
Develop an attitude of gratitude
Sometimes it can be hardest to return to normal life if you’re without the people you met or hung out with at festivals. Isolation and loneliness can creep in, or you may suffer from FOMO (the fear of missing out). Make every effort to find a community to join or just embrace the one you’re part of. Make a list of five things every day that you’re thankful for. Big or small, serious or trivial – it really doesn’t matter. Look to what you have and cherish that instead of identifying what you’re lacking. And remember to make sure friends are holding you accountable to this – it’s not about sin management, but greatness management.