Today I read a timely post from Bonnie Gray published at (in)Courage.me that I would like to share with you.
Are you stressed by the presidential election? With Election Day approaching next week, there is no other way to put it. The presidential election is stressful. And everyone is affected.
Earlier this month, the American Psychological Association reported that 52 percent of American adults surveyed, regardless of political party, are very or somewhat significantly stressed by the 2016 election. The results of the APA survey show that both Republicans and Democrats are equally experiencing anxiety and stress.
There are no political party lines when it comes to being affected by uncertainty and negativity. We are human, and all the ongoing arguments, videos, stories, and images pouring at us online, exacerbated by social media 24/7, triggers anxiety and feelings of anger and helplessness. Therapists even see an increase between couples growing more irritable with each other; fatigue sets in as worries heighten, and division cropping up at work, among family and friends. Election stress hurts all of us.
In our stress, it is normal for us to ask: Where are you, God, in all this? What will happen to my family . . . to me? There are many voices clamoring to have us focus on fear, anger, and a sense of hopelessness.
But as people of faith, we need to turn our attention to only One Voice: Jesus. Our One Faithful Confidante is whispering words of hope and light, even in the midst of what appears so dark.
As followers of Jesus, we possess the power and comfort of God’s Promises as we face an unknown election and future for our country. We can ask a different set of questions because we are called to live by a different reality: hope, love, and peace.
God’s Five Promises to Encourage Your Heart
No matter what happens on November 8th, remember God’s words of encouragement. Here are five promises to encourage your heart during this election:
1. I Am with You. I Will Help Strengthen You.
“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
2. I Will Help You Overcome Anything and Everything
3. Power Isn’t Everything: You Are More Than Conquerors. Nothing Can Separate You from My Love.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)
4. I Will Take Care of You: No Harm Will Come to You.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Isaiah 43:1-2)
5. My Treasure in You Can Never Be Lost: My Very Self
“We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair.” (2 Corinthians 4:8)
Five Tips and Questions to Help You Shine
The APA offers tips to help people manage their stress related to the election. I’ve added my own tips and set of questions for you below, too, along with some beautiful scriptures to inspire you to be who God created you to be — during such a time as this. Shine!
1. Your Rest Is Important. “How can I better take care of myself and create life-giving experiences for others during these stressful times?”
Take time for yourself, go for a walk, or spend time with friends and family doing things you enjoy. “I urge you to make it your ambition to lead a quiet [restful] life and attend to your own matters and work with your hands . . . then, you will behave properly towards others.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11)
2. You Are a God’s Child: Peacemaker. “What conversations help encourage others around me and bring peace and kindness?”
Avoid getting into discussions about the election if you think they have the potential to escalate to conflict. Be cognizant of the frequency with which you’re discussing the election with friends, family members, or coworkers. Everyone is longing for care, kindness, and attention. Your words carry the power to comfort and encourage.
3. You Are God’s Ambassador. “As a citizen of God’s kingdom of love, light, and hope, how can I best represent my true citizenship to others?
If the 24-hour news cycle of claims and counterclaims from the candidates is causing you stress, limit your media consumption. Read just enough to stay informed. Turn off the newsfeed or take a digital break. Focus your time and energy on what really matters, the things that brings love, light, and hope — then share it with real people in your everyday life.
4. You Are God’s Light. “What is something I can do to help others?”
Stress and anxiety about what might happen is not productive. Channel your concerns to make a positive difference on issues you care about. Consider volunteering in your community, advocating for a need or passion close to your heart. “You will shine like stars in the sky.”(Philippians. 2:15)
5. You Are Cared For. “What anxieties or cares can I talk to God about, rather than trying to solve them on my own?”
When you find yourself thinking What-If?, stop and share your fears with God. Pray. He understands your worries. Remember God will take care of you, no matter what happens politically. Avoid catastrophizing and maintain a balanced perspective.
Like stars shining in the night, you can bring warmth, comfort, and peace to others. Jesus calls us to radiate His love, because He is alive in you and me.
Let us ask, “Jesus, how can I see You at work in me?”
Don’t let your hearts and minds be taken hostage by the fear, lies, and uncertainties. Set your mind on all that we are called to be and let us change the world by focusing on what really matters in life — everything beautiful and enduring.
Jesus lives in you and me. And He is calling us to live out a radical hope and light, right in the realities of everyday life.