A peep into life in Africa, through the eyes of an African Reformed Baptist pastor.

Water, water, water, everywhere. What else do you expect? I am a Baptist, and I live in the land of the mighty Victoria Falls!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

My Monday Blues

Mondays. They are the worst days for a preacher. Perhaps I ought to say they are the worst days for this preacher. It is probably my most well-guarded secret but after twenty five years of experiencing such fainting fits, it is about time I let the cat out of the bag.

Almost every Monday, I wake up feeling as if the world ought to end. It lacks lustre. It is blue and gloomy. I have no drive to do anything and have to literally kick myself out of bed. This is not the day when I should be told to go visit the sick and dying. I am one of them!

Monday is a day full of self-pity. "No one loves me. No one cares for me. There is nothing I am achieving in life. What is the point of living on for yet another day? Everything is just meaningless." These are the thoughts that lay siege upon my mind the whole day.

Then usually by mid-day I notice a headache beginning to get the better of me. This grows to the point where it becomes unbearable by late afternoon. So, if I have some serious matters to attend to, I take some pain killers as soon as the headache rears it ugly head.

I have learned that I have a very expressive face. So, a usual comment I hear from people on Mondays is, "Pastor, are you okay? You don't look your normal self. Is something wrong?" My characteristic depressing answer is, "I'm fine, it's just my Monday blues."

Then comes Tuesday morning...
When I wake up on Tuesday, life is back to normal. The lustre is back. I am ready to take on the world and fight for the crown rights of my Lord and King, Jesus Christ, in every sector of life and living. Give me any space, and I will proclaim the Saviour Lord of all.

On Tuesdays, I look back to my Mondays and literally rebuke myself. "So, what was that pity party all about?" I say to myself. Evidently, all my gloomy thoughts had nothing to do with the reality around me. I'm one of the most privileged individuals in God's world.

I mean, this sounds crazy, but it really happens almost every Monday "to the clock". On Monday, I'm ready to put in my resignation letter and quit the ministry altogether. Come Tuesday, my spiritual engine is raving. I feel as if being a preacher is the best job on earth.

This weekly cycle has been my lot for over two decades now. Thankfully, I am not alone. Last Monday, I sent a text message to a pastor friend of mine. I simply wrote, "Monday blues...it's terrible!" His reply was, "I agree. How are you handling it? I am at a loss."

Well, I tried water therapy. I was told that if I drank a lot of water on Sunday, I would not have the headaches that attend my Monday blues. If it worked for others, it certainly did not work for me. It has only made my bladder work in overdrive for twenty-four hours!

Understanding the body clock
I think the most helpful "solution" was simply knowing what caused this problem. They say a problem shared is a problem halved. This weekly cycle bothered me so much that I sought counsel. I am glad I talked about my fainting fits with a doctor in my church.

The doctor told me that we preachers produce a lot of adrenaline as we heartily preach the everlasting gospel to sinners on Sundays. On Monday, the body seeks to neutralise it, hence the fainting fits. It takes a full day for the balance to be restored in the body.

I told the doctor that my concern was that even when I'm not preaching on Sundays I still go through the same cycle of Monday blues. His reply also made a lot of sense. He said the body has a clock and it has become conditioned. Every seventh day it triggers itself.

One proof of the body clock is how we get sleepy every twenty-four hours. I once thought this was caused by the fact that it was dark outside, until I began globe trotting. When I arrive half-way around the globe, my body stubbornly tells me at noon it is time to sleep!

Those who have experienced this have given it the name "jet lag". In other words, whereas the jet has suddently taken you twelve hours ahead, the body clock is lagging behind by twelve hours. So, the body behaves as it does back home until it adjusts to the new reality.

How do I live with this? 
I stand amazed. The words of the psalmist come with freshness to my soul: "I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well" (Psalm 139:14). No doubt, these bodies of ours were designed by an infinite Mind.

We are so intricately connected. Mere chemical imbalance in my body creates such a strong false perception of external reality. I even conclude that I am not loved and cared for, when in fact I probably have the most loving family and church on the planet.

So, for the last few years, when the dark clouds of my Monday blues begin to gather over my head, I simply keep saying to myself, "Conrad, don't believe it. That is how you feel. But the reality out there is totally different. Don't do anything stupid. Wait until tomorrow."

Today is Monday [I wrote this last Monday]. Yes, it is yet another blue Monday. You now can guess what I'm going through. I've already taken my pain killers. I'm now 30,000 feet above sea level, flying across the Atlantic on my way to Brazil, and feeling as if the world has lost its meaning.

Yet, don't worry. I won't do anything stupid. I will not open the cabin door and jump out of the plane without a parachute. I know this feeling will be totally gone tomorrow. I will wake up saying, "Brazil, I've arrived. Give me space to proclaim my glorious Saviour to you all!"

"My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim;
And spread through all the earth abroad,
The honors of Thy name!" (Charles Wesley).

Postscript: Usually, as the dark clouds begin to gather over my soul on a Monday, a ray of light breaks through. I often receive a message from someone who was at church on Sunday telling me how blessed they were by the sermon, or that someone shared with them how God converted them under the preaching. Today's was a Facebook inbox message early in the morning. It said, "Have a safe flight. Great sermon by the way!" It was refreshing. I can testify that I serve a gracious Master. He knows my frame!


  1. It happens to me, too - except that it starts Sunday night! I've found the Sunday night problem can be helped by a late-night bacon sandwich - at least it gives me something to look forward to.
    But what happens when you're at a conference? You generate the same amount of adrenalin on - say - a Wednesday; do you get Monday blues on Thursday? Or does the fact that you're 'up and at it' again (preaching on the Thursday too) just keep the adrenalin flowining?

  2. Thank you Brother Conrad. I thought I was the only one. My migraine headaches go until Wednesday sometimes and I have to take my meds for them too. What an encouragement this was to me as a young pastor. Thanks you!

  3. Dear Mr. Mwebe, this is a very interesting blog. I have read it a few times and came to the following conclusion: it's good that God allows you have a weekly down day... Those Mondays serve your sermons for Sunday. Otherwise you might be preaching only about the green pastures and the mountain tops and never on weakness and loneliness of the dark valleys.

    Do you take a day of rest every week as other people have their Sundays? As a pastor your Sundays are full of adrenaline... you need a day of rest and comfort to balance it out. That's a wise rhythm that God has put in his creation.