Tag Archives: America

I’m Suffering from Election Year Anxiety

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.

I’m Exhausted by Living the American Dream

The American Dream says I need to:

Be a loving wife who lets her husband enjoy his hobbies, encourages him even when you’d rather murder him for his illogical decisions, and offer sex several times a week.

Be a good mom who spends time with your kid. Don’t feed that kid trans fats. Play imaginative games. Read – a lot. Teach them new skills. Limit screen time. Discipline. Pinterest yourself into guilt and failure.

Take care of your home. (My floor needs to be swept and mopped daily – and we are only awake in that home six hours a day on weeknights. Key phrase: needs to be does not = actually happens. And you don’t even want to see the main bath toilet right now.) Keep washing clothes. Juggle the never-ending list of things to keep your home in order, which includes: freeze tomatoes, defrost the deep freeze, schedule an oil change (and don’t forget to go do it), pick up grass seed and dirt to patch the yard, go tree shopping, and do the monthly budget – which should have happened two weekends ago.

Don’t forget to have friends. Have great conversations. Even though you’re all stressed, exhausted, and just want to be sleeping instead of spending time together. But we know you’d be home pulling weeds or dealing with a screaming child if you weren’t together, so have another glass of wine.

Oh, and love Jesus. Read your Bible, do a daily devotional, pray, and be the best little Christian you can be. Radiate God’s love. Give – your money would be great, but mostly your time and energy. Which you have none of. Absolutely none.

It’s the American dream, y’all. All men are created equal.

But pull yourself by your own boot straps. Work hard to achieve success. And live in a 4 bedroom house with 2.5 children.

img_2399The thing is…J and I do work hard (and PTL we don’t have 2.5 children; one lil O is plenty for me right now). We worked to the point of exhaustion last week – first during the day at work, and second, doing upkeep on the home at night and taking care of lil O (hard work, y’all. You can see how I felt over this recent cracker package “dump”). While we’re both putting in 40-hour weeks, we’ve usually got additional responsibilities with our family and community. But what’s even more wild: we’ve said “no” a lot this month. No, we can’t help with a church project. No, we can’t visit family for a weekend away. So you’d think I’m sitting pretty, right? I wish…

Even with fewer responsibilities, I haven’t stopped to ask for help. I’ve reached the point where I don’t even know how to ask for help because I’m so damn overwhelmed and I can’t think clearly. And everyone around me – both friends and colleagues – feel the same. How am I supposed to ask when others are drowning too?

This feeling leads to me hunkering down and putting it in “go mode.” There’s too much to handle so I’ve chosen to be emotionless the past few weeks. I’ve simply shut out all feelings of frustration, loneliness, and even joy. I felt nothing. I thought it was the only way to handle the extra stress of this season of life. I just had to keep pushing through the to-do list. Because it had to get done. Right? I mean, what’s really the worst that could happen if I didn’t get it done? …Nothing, really. But I was on a mission. No time to consider the consequences. Just work your tail and get it done. Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.

But then, a moment occurred where things started to cut loose. Suddenly, it wasn’t all synching. It was likely watching 4th grade me try to hit a thrown baseball with a bat in slow motion. While I attempt to be, I’m not at all athletic. I’ve been less than blessed in this area, and by less than, I mean: bad. I’m straight up terrible at physical ability and coordination. So you can see where this is going…

I made a poor decision.

It impacted a few people negatively. Nothing earth-shattering terrible happened because of it, but I felt total shame. I didn’t fully consider the punch to others. I didn’t choose to feel the consequences. I didn’t ask for help. All my emotions boiled up and my composure couldn’t contain it any longer.

So I cried. I mean, “shut the door and just about wail” cried. I lost it because there is so much on my plate. I feel out of control. And I, like most, don’t handle “out of control” very well.

I know it’s important to give yourself permission to take a break. I read it on other blogs and hear it from other women all the time: take care of you first. I know why it’s important. I want to be better about it. But sometimes I just miss the mark. Sometimes I prioritize things over people, and everything over myself.

So God woke me up with a screw up. He reminded me I was doing life apart from Him. And once I realized He was trying to get my attention (which took 6 DAYS, y’all. This blow up happened 6 DAYS ago), my tightened shoulders suddenly let go of tension. I took a deep breath. I gave myself permission to sit down and close my eyes for a moment of peace. God’s not all that into living life drained. He’s more into living it joyfully – and together.

The thing is, I don’t feel any better about that huge to-do list today. And I definitely am not hitting the mark on “best friend,” “#1 mom,” or “wife of the year.” But at least I feel something today. Being cold to the world doesn’t help me have a better day or grow in relationship with anyone – including Jesus.

I remembered the American Dream isn’t so dreamy all the time. Because frankly: it’s exhausting. And God called me to be His before I call myself Uncle Sam’s.

I Wasn’t Gonna Talk Politics, but I Can’t Be Quiet Any Longer

I prefer to keep my political views offline, but 2016 has proven to be a whole other ballgame. I love being an American. I love learning about our country’s history (the good and terribleIMG_1751), I love voting and following the political process, I feel so blessed to live the comfortable and safe life I live (unlike war-torn countries or those with a lack of freedom). And I really want to be on jury duty. (Like really, really bad. I just get so jazzed up by participating in a historical process. I feel like I’m making history – because I am.) I even made “USA” watermelon treats for a 2012 summer Olympics watch party. Because: ‘Murica. And J and I LOVE attending rodeos. I feel like we’ve talked about this before, so that shouldn’t surprise you.

But lately, being American has not been…easy to be proud of. The violence happening in our country and the ridiculous rants coming from the presidential election and some protests are sending me into sadness, then rage, then…what are the five stages of grief? I feel like I might be somewhere in the middle…

So I had to speak up. I believe it’s important that we all speak up in favor of bringing good things to all people. But this election season has been and continues to turn a hateful corner, especially during this Republican National Convention. I know all election seasons are heated, but the hatred-filled words coming from men and women who claim to be followers of Jesus (and many who are not) are really missing the boat on what it means to be a messenger of the Gospel – or just a kind frickin’ person.

If you claim to be a follower of Jesus, you should recognize God’s greatest commandment, as cited in Matthew 22: 36-40. Some context: the Sadducees and Pharisees were testing Jesus with all kinds of questions about Jewish (Old Testament) law. A Pharisee asked:

“‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

It doesn’t say to spite people groups because of their sexual orientation, or gender choice, or race/ethnicity, or religious choice. Sure, you can find Bible verses that support hating things (that’s a whole other conversation, and one which I hope to blog about soon), but the key piece of information so many fail to recognize is: hate the sin, not the person. And Jesus tells the people to love – and not judge.

How can a pro-lifer encourage a scared, pregnant woman when shouting, “Abortion? The Supreme Court also legalized Slavery” (seriously – I found this suggested slogan on a pro-life website. But to give them credit, there were a ton of slogans listed with very supportive messages. So it’s not all bad and many are providing outreach in a helpful, positive manner). Then I found a website that sold super offensive bumper stickers, including one with a slash through a rainbow-colored “equal” sign, and another that, I kid you not, said: “My Apologies! If you look like a fag, walk like a fag and act like a fag, I naturally assumed…” WHAT?!? I about came unglued. These all communicate to me: not approachable. And that’s the nicest phrase I could come up with for right now. Which I think is rather generous.

Jesus shows himself living the great commandments when an adulterous woman is about to be stoned to death. Jesus stops the crowd, asking, “…Let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7b).

I know this verse well because my dad would recite it to my siblings and me often as a child. Missing Catholic mass in my house was not an option. And if you were too sick to go, you got sat on the couch and watched “The Hour of Power” on TV. Not Catholic, but close enough to meet reparations, at least in my parents’ eyes. Even on vacation, my mom would scout out the Catholic church and mass times of the town we were in. Not keeping the Sabbath is a sin, according to the 10 commandments (it’s #4, followed closely by #5 – Honor your mother and father). And we weren’t missing. But my mom didn’t bug my dad about missing – and it really only happened a few times a year, to give the guy some credit (“I was an altar boy. I’ve done my time.”). As soon as I started ragging on him about missing church, he’d all, “He who has no sin cast thy first stone,” me. And I’d have nothing. Oh, it’s a darn good verse to get you out of trouble.

And one American Christians need to start praying about. We are all sinful. I’m not perfect (though I wish I could be). We all fall short of his perfection. But we can all love. And when we greet Him one day in heaven, as a result of my love for others (which I fall way, way short of doing everyday people. I’m super judgy. It’s a problem. But I’m trying), I hope He will say to me: “Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done.”