If you read my post last week, you’ll remember what stress I had been feeling and my total melt down as a result. I had hoped it was getting better, and it is, but for some reason this week, I can’t shake the feeling of anxiety. Webster defines anxiety as, “fear or nervousness about what might happen.”
What am I feeling nervous about? What am I fearful of?
Then today, as I was reading article after article and watching video after video of the presidential debate that occurred a few days ago, I had this gloomy feeling I couldn’t shake. Comments being made by candidates and other politicians are sending me into a tailspin of the future of our nation! Between Trump’s bigotry and arrogance and Clinton’s “crookedness,” and lies from both, I’m about ready to “jump ship.” Ugh. It’s really difficult for many, including myself, to find positive characteristics in either candidates and look forward to the future.
After 45 minutes of going deeper into the rabbit hole, I realized: I’m suffering from election year anxiety.
Self-diagnosed, of course. But this is a real thing that major news outlets are reporting on! I seriously thought I had just come up with a new dictionary term, but turns out NPR, The Atlantic, Time Magazine, Health Central, and Huffington Post are all reporting on this feeling. Also, they’re offering tips on how to cope with deep despair and anxiousness during an election year.
Sure, the articles above give a number of strategies for dealing with this anxiety, but as a Christian, many times we’re encouraged to consider how the Bible guides us toward resolving conflict. And I know the go-to anxiety verses in the Bible:
- Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow has enough worries of its own.
- Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
I’m sure you could also add a few more.
But God hit me in the head with a brick again (not literally). I love how ideas pop in my head and I recognize this is God speaking, not my brain doing the work. I had this thought: the leader of the free world will obviously shape America in a new way over the next four years. And if that leader is Trump, then God help us (I guess you know where I stand now). But really, the next president will only have so much influence. And as I started to pin all my hopes and dreams and fears and doubts on this one person, God reminded me that He is ultimately in charge. He will be the Grand Redeemer. And I should be putting all my hope in His plan.
As I consider that, part of me gets angry with God because that logic seems so…immature. Childish, almost. “Put all your hope in Him.” Is it realistic to put all my hope into a being that I often forget is a part of my everyday moment-to-moment actions? It’s easy to forget God’s presence when you’re working with a client at work or cooking dinner at home. But experience has taught me: when I really let go of an issue and ask God to take control of it in my life, he never disappoints. He always shows up. It’s miracle-like stuff, y’all. Been there?
Then I realized, while the president does have a lot of power, the three branches of government exist to balance each other out. And did you know that state and local governments have a more direct impact on your life than federal? It’s in your best interest to spend more time researching the candidates close to home because they’re determining funding for salaries and equipment to emergency services like police and fire departments, public works (like snow removal and street repair), and having the parks mowed and pools filled with water.
Needless to say, I could feel the tension in my neck starting to leave as I processed this. And I chose to take a few deep breaths.
1 Timothy 1-2 provides wisdom from God for one way to approach our government leaders: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”
So for now I will pray for our leaders and potential candidates for all offices – federal, state, and local. And I will continue to share my views with those I come into contact with. I will continue to work toward overcoming this anxiety. And I will vote. And you should too. It really does
matter and it takes so little time to do. By choosing to vote, you are literally making history. Your grandchildren will ask you about this election some day. I believe it’s important for me to say that I did my duty as a mother, wife, woman, worker, and American to voice my opinion. I did not stand silent.
So take control of your election year anxiety by letting God have control of your worries about this future. Because He’s got this. Just give Him a chance to show up.