A Spiritual Discipline for Surviving Election 2016

This is not another article bashing Trump. Neither is it one about Bernie, Hillary, or moving to Canada.

Believe me, I wish it were. It’s what I want to write about. It’s easy to open up your web browser and share opinions and frustrations. It would be so much easier, and I’m guilty of having done it in the past. But I refuse to do it anymore. Here’s why.  

A narrative of fear has consumed this election season. Whether it’s rhetoric on the campaign trail or what we hear in the media, a narrative of fear has crept into our daily lives.

The election. Those two simple words drum up a great deal of anxiety, fear and opinions. And this isn’t wrong. But I am tired of reading a lot of things from a lot of people—a lot of Christians in particular—who are speaking out, but from a distance. It seems to me that much of what we do behind a keyboard is driven by fear.

But as Christian millennials we should have a far better response. We are a generation that wants to make an impact, and I love that about us. But I think we’re going about it all wrong. If we are hoping in Jesus, then let’s bring back the message of the cross to a frightened country. Let’s not give into the fear mongering.

"The election. Those two simple words drum up a great deal of anxiety, fear and opinions."

Jesus’ final commandment to his disciples in Matthew 28 was to go and make disciples, "baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…”.

Jesus told us, as His followers, to go and to make and to baptize and to teach. In other words, Jesus told us to get close. There is nothing wrong with having strong opinions. It’s important to have a voice. But we should also act on that voice.

Let’s not conform to the patterns of this world (Romans 12:2) and let’s bring the Kingdom to earth by not reacting to something that seems so out of control by fear-fueled and cruel words. This is easier said than done, but I’d like to just offer one solution for now.

Let’s practice the spiritual discipline of pausing.

When you’re angry, pause.

When you’re scared, pause.

When you’re tempted to join the angry mobs of people who don’t quite know what to do with all of their valid emotions, pause.

Pause. Pray. Give yourself a little bit of space to invite the Holy Spirit into these very valid concerns that an election like this one will bring up in our hearts, and see what He would have us do about it.

This doesn’t mean that typing on a keyboard is wrong, but it does mean that we don’t join the angry, fear-fueled rhetoric of the Internet, and that we instead only speak when we know it is completely surrendered to the words of Jesus.

And then let’s dare to get close to these issues. Let’s dare to actually get messy in this by being vulnerable enough to have dialogue with people who are not like us; people who don’t vote like us, believe like us or agree with us.

Will you join me? Will you join me in ridding our hearts of fear? In trusting that no matter what, we are still anchored in the hope that Jesus alone can bring us? And then will you join me in pausing long enough to truly make an impact on this world for the Kingdom of God instead of just in the momentary Facebook post that pops up on a timeline?

Together we can conquer fear in the name of God and actually change this beautiful country that we are blessed to live in. Jesus is still King, and He has still chosen us to partner with to bring true, eternal change. 

All hope is not lost, no matter who sits in that Oval Office next.  

-Brooke Perry is a graduate of Portland State University where she received her degree in Communications with a minor in Writing. She is currently finishing up her last year of the MDiv program at Western Seminary and works for a non-profit called BeUndivided that works to equip and inspire churches to get involved in their local public schools. She recently re-located from Portland, OR and is currently living and working in Washington, D.C. You can read more of her writing here.