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How to banish the “Sunday scaries”: The key to living with empowered purpose

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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How to banish the "Sunday scaries": The key to living with empowered purpose
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Last night, did you have “a visceral reaction to the realization that the weekend is over”? If so, according to clinical counselor Pallavi Yetur, you’re not alone. The Washington Post reports that many people suffer from what are being called the “Sunday scaries”—”being seized by anxiety, dread, or simmering sadness because their precious days off are evaporating so quickly.”

Yetur theorizes that the “Sunday scaries” worsened for many people during the pandemic as they began sleeping at the “office” and repurposing their homes as work spaces. The workweek more easily spilled over into what should be personal time with unclear delineation between work life and private life.

Here’s a solution for the “Sunday scaries”: Live every day on purpose.

Our secularized culture has divided the sacred from the secular, the religious from the “real world.” We live in compartments—”work” and “home,” “public” and “private,” and so. We have separated our lives into lanes on a freeway or, more often, competing and colliding freeways.

There’s a better way.

The Bible calls us to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1). We are to be “crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20). Both require a holistic commitment. The entire lamb was sacrificed on the altar, not just a leg or an ear. The entire body was crucified, not just an arm or a leg.

The more we submit to God, the more God can use and bless. He is a Master Carpenter, but he must touch the wood he is to sand, shape, and paint. He is a Great Physician, but we must trust our bodies and illnesses to his healing touch. He is the Good Shepherd, but he can guide only the sheep who will follow.

One of Satan’s subtle temptations for people who want to follow Jesus obediently is to spark in us a desire for “personal” space that is ours. As C. S. Lewis noted, we are like honest taxpayers who pay what we owe but hope there will be enough money left over to do with as we wish.

Try this experiment: across this day, ask Jesus to lead and bless every hour you experience as you experience it. Don’t separate part of your life from his lordship. Don’t live for him and for yourself—go “all in” in following him as your King.

If you live holistically under your Holy Lord today, you’ll want to do the same tomorrow. And day by day, your Savior will lead you in his “perfect” will until the day he leads you home (Romans 12:2).

This is the promise and the invitation of God.