The 2016 election season has, no doubt, brought out the worst in many. . .as a political race often does to the ones closest to it. Yet this election took many unsuspecting citizens with it. Pulled into debates of every kind on social media, even those of us who promised to remain calm and stay silent, couldn’t help ourselves.
Whether we got our point across to any who would listen (or read) or not, the verbal wars brought us all to the same place, Election Day, where we waited (some at peace, some in a war of worry within themselves) for the outcome.
No matter how loud we shouted or how hard we prayed, the results are in. I woke up this morning (my 40th birthday) facing the second(ish) half of my life with a brand new leader of the country I am proud to call home. I could face the next decade with fear and worry or I can choose to trust the One who sits on the throne of my heart to protect and guide and provide.
If I’ve learned nothing else in my 40 years of living, I’ve learned that in everything I have a choice. And so do you. We may not get to choose our leader or the policy on issues we care about, but we get to choose how we respond; how we operate when life throws us a giant curve ball. We get to choose who remains on OUR throne and the things we say and do NOW will show the world who sits there.
So Now What? A Post-Election Game Plan
I’m intentionally writing this post before I know the outcome of this election. Because no matter who won, our response can be the same. Whether we are thrilled to welcome our new POTUS to the White House or we’re cringing at the thought of he or she taking over the Oval Office, we have only a few good and helpful choices to make.
1 – Find beauty in the ashes.
This election was ugly. Downright disgusting, hypocritical and unbelievable. Yet through the ugly war of words we may have learned when and how to speak up for what we believe. And that it’s okay to disagree, even with those we love most.
This election brought passion to the surface of our hearts we may not have known was there. Those issues you couldn’t stop thinking about? God put that fire in your heart for a reason. Because whether or not we agree with him or her on this issue or that, ALL of the issues are dear to the heart of God.
My pastor preached a sermon last month that he didn’t intend to be about this election but his words got me thinking . . .
Differences either divide us or they illuminate God’s distinct design. Stephen Headley, Music City Church
What matters most to us is part of how God designed us and part of what he’s called us to.
Maybe you didn’t know you cared so much about immigration or abortion before this election season. Our realization of what we truly care about is the beauty that can come from the ashes of humanity. God’s redemptive power at work in our lives will bring good out of all the junk we’ve experienced this year.
To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3 NLT
2 – Use peace-filled words.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18 NIV
When talking to those with whom we disagree. . .when speaking about our leaders and our country in front of our kids (especially). . .
This election season charged us all to fight for what we believe in. But there are ways to use our words intentionally to stand up for what we believe with a spirit of peace. Our children (and the world that is watching Jesus followers) need to hear us speak truth with love, gentleness and respect.
3 – Pray harder than you’ve prayed before for our leaders. All of them.
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 NLT
God is not surprised by flawed individuals in high places. This has been a problem since Adam and Eve made a poor choice in the garden. He knows our presidents and kings and queens are a mess. So much so that he gave his son to bring redemption and provide hope for our eternal security. In the meantime, he asks us to be thankful and to pray. . .for our leaders and for ourselves. Because even though our flaws aren’t on display for the world to see, they are still there. And so we pray, for God to reveal areas where we have been hypocritical or not represented his love to the world around us. We all need his mercy. When we realize just how imperfect we ourselves are, we are humbled to offer deeper supplication for the imperfect men and women who lead us.
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT
4 – Focus on the issues you are passionate about and get involved locally.
Once we realize where our passions lie, we can get out and do something about it on the local level. We can’t control who sits in the White House (even though I believe our votes matter, much of it is out of our hands), but we can control what we do about all those issues we can’t stop talking about. Let’s put our time where our mouth is.
If we’re passionate about a specific issue, we can’t convince everyone else to feel the same way but we can live out God’s purpose for putting that passion into our heart.
Passionate about education? Get involved in your school district.
Feel the responsibility to speak for the unborn? Get involved in a local crisis pregnancy center or an organization like Embrace Grace.
Burdened for immigrants simply wanting to find safety and freedom in our country? Find ways to help those already in your area.
Involve your children in this outreach (when age-appropriate) and show them our passion as Christ followers can be put into action as we become his hands and feet to the world around us.
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40 NIV
5 – Choose hope over fear and worry.
Throughout this election I have clung to this promise in Isaiah:
And he will be the stability of your times. Isaiah 33:6 ESV
We are promised security, even in the midst of the mess because our eternal hope is in Jesus. But once again, we have a choice. We choose to believe he in on the throne or not. We choose to put our hope in the long-term or we allow our hope to be wrapped up in our ever-changing culture. We can choose not to fear or worry (and this choice comes on a daily basis) because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
It’s a new day, friends. I want to face it with confidence that no matter what happens in the next 40 years of my life, it will be okay because God is on my throne.