This is episode 43, and we’re talking about how to abide in Christ during the election season. What do I mean by abide in Christ? I mean we focus on His power, His purpose, and His peace. There are some practical steps we can take to help us focus on His power, purpose, and peace, and we’re going to walk through them together today.
I’ll also share why my Patreon supporters are so important and what you get if you sign up to support me in that way. Visit patreon.com/sandrapeoples to learn more.
Oct. 5th, How to Abide in Christ During the Election Season, ep. 43
Hi friends, this is Self-Care and Soul Care for the Caregiver, and I’m your host Sandra Peoples. To us, self-care isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity. We need to take better care of ourselves so we can care for those God has entrusted to us, whether that’s a child with special needs, a spouse with declining health, or in our caregiving profession.
This is episode 43, and we’re talking about how to abide in Christ during an election season. If you’re listening in real time, you know that last week we had the first presidential debate and then President Trump was diagnosed with COVID. I’m recording this episode over the weekend before it releases on Monday, so even more surprising things could have happened between when I recorded and when you’re listening! And based on how 2020 has gone so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if that were true! So I thought it would be a good time to talk about how we can abide in Christ during the election season. I’m not going to tell you how to vote. I am going to tell you how not to feel hopeless or powerless right now.
Before we jump in, let me tell you what’s available to my Patreon supporters this month! They got five new downloads to add to their Abiding Caregiver planners: the October month at a glance page, a page to list what they’re thankful for this month, a daily 3 do list, a printable for their books read list, and a new weekly planner. For their support that starts at just $5 a month, by the end of 2020 their planners will include over 30 printable pages. I’ll tell you more about how you can get these downloads and join the Patreon community at the end of the episode.
Last week I successfully avoided a lot of the response to the debate (more about that later), but I did get a message from someone I don’t know well asking if the debate changed my mind on who I planned to vote for. I thought it was an interesting question since she didn’t know who I planned to vote before the debates. She went on to explain how worried she is because she thinks Christians aren’t voting the way she thinks they should. I totally get that worry, but the fact that she was reaching out to me, a kind of stranger, about it showed her worry may be really taking over in an unhealthy way. It may be keeping her from abiding in Christ during this election season. You may be facing that temptation as well—the temptation to give into fear or worry. And then let that fear or worry make you want to turn it all off and disengage, or drive you to over-engage, to feel like it’s up to you to change the world.
As challenging as it may feel, as Christians, we need to take some steps to abide in Christ right now. What do I mean by abide in Christ? I mean we focus on His power, His purpose, and His peace. Focusing on his power reminds of our limitations, even the limitations of government officials and world leaders, instead of believing that our candidate of choice winning or losing will change any plans God has for the future. Focusing on his purpose reminds us that He wins in the end, and our biggest concern should be spreading the gospel and sharing His love. And focusing on His peace reminds us that we can rest because He is powerful, and His purpose will prevail.
There are some practical steps we can take to help us focus on His power, purpose, and peace. The three I want to talk about today are: one, picking a Bible verse to meditate on and memorize, two, filtering the media we see and hear, and three, taking action on the issues that are most important to us. Let’s go through each one and apply them to our lives.
First, picking a Bible verse to medicate on and memorize. We did this at the beginning of the pandemic too. Choosing a verse to repeat to ourselves when we need to remember God’s power, purpose, and peace will help tremendously. And one that we can cling to whether our candidate of choice wins or loses is also important. Let me share a few with you that you might want to consider:
- Psalm 44:6 says, “For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me.” It might sound like an odd pick, but it’s actually one that brings me lots of comfort because it reminds me of God’s power over even the things I think are powerful, like politicians and polices. I can be tempted to make an idol out of my political opinion or my favorite candidate, but God’s purpose will prevail when my idols fail.
- Psalm 20:7 is another verse that’s similar. It says, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Politicians make lots of promises to get elected, and they want us to feel safe if we vote for them. But we can remember that our safety is secure for eternity because of our relationship with Christ, not because we vote a certain way. We can trust in Him!
- John 16:33 is another favorite. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” In this verse, Jesus reminds us that tribulation is part of life on earth, but He has overcome the world and brings us peace. No matter what results we wake up to the morning after the election, we can take heart and have hope.
After we pick a verse to meditate on right now, the second way we can abide during this election season is to filter the media we take in. Last week when the presidential debate was on, I had to take some steps to decrease my stress. My husband watched it in one room, and I went into another. I turned on a movie I’ve seen like 100 times and read a book I’ve read before. I mostly stayed off social media. I could hear Lee’s reactions from the other room, and he did fill me in on the highlights when it was over. But I didn’t have to experience it all in real time. The day after I saw some social media posts about it, but from sources I picked as being reliable. It was a huge help for me not to get discouraged or overwhelmed by the debate or the reaction to it.
We talked a lot about this in episode 34 on self-care and social media, and you can find a link to that episode in the show notes on sandrapeoples.com/thepodcast. It’s worth revisiting even if you did hear it when it released. But let’s talk today about ways we can pick what we see when we’re on social media. Did you see The Social Dilemma documentary on Netflix? One of the points that stood out to me was how different my social media feed can look from someone else’s. Like even though my husband and I have 300ish friends in common, we could see very different posts. Facebook gives me what it thinks I want based on my interactions. If I read and react to news stories from certain pages, it will show me similar stories from similar pages. It reinforces my beliefs and habits. It can trick me into thinking everyone believes the same way I do because it’s showing me people who believe the same way I do. And if I start down a rabbit hole of conspiracies that prey on my fears, it will keep feeding those fears to keep my attention.
The way I fight back is to unfollow, unlike, and hide sites that are less-than-truthful or make me feel scared or angry. On Twitter I can also mute accounts or even words I don’t want to see. That doesn’t mean I’m in the dark about what’s happening. It does mean I choose the time I want to see those kinds of stories and I choose the sources. Those are important priorities for my time and attention right now.
Ok, so we’ve talked about picking a focus verse, filtering our social media, and our third step is to take action on what’s most important to us. The election season can make us feel helpless, like our one vote doesn’t matter or that nothing we do can overcome the challenges we’re facing. But we don’t have to feel that way! Your vote is important, and not just your vote for president. You have a say in every race on your ballot! You can also take action on issues that are important to you.
For example, if lowering the number of abortions in our country is important to you, you can find a way to help in your community. You can volunteer at a pregnancy support center or you can support agencies and ministries in your town that support women in poverty (some of the most likely to consider abortion). There are lots of ways you can get involved personally in caring for women who choose life. If immigration reform is important to you, you can get involved in supporting immigrants in your town. See if your library offers ESL classes and volunteer to help. Talk to your church about sharing its building with a church body that speaks a different language or one that serves a different demographic than usually shows up at your church on Sunday mornings. You can make a difference in the lives of those affected by what can become just soundbites on the news or political bullet points on someone else’s agenda. But if it’s important to you, show that it’s important by getting involved! Your vote makes a difference, and so does your service.
Of course, I know you’re busy. You’re a caregiver! But you can get creative about how you help. You could help with social media, do graphic design, or edit a newsletter from home. You could make phone calls, drop off supplies that have been collected, or tutor one afternoon a month. If your choice for president isn’t elected, your service may be even more important. You are never powerless or without hope. Micah 6:8 reminds us we are to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God. And James 1:22 encourages us to be doers of the word, and not just hearers. God invites us to work along with Him to see His purpose accomplished. And there’s a part for each of us to play to make that happen.
Friends, I hope taking these steps—memorizing a verse, filtering our social media, and getting involved in issues that are important to us—will help us abide in Christ this election season. We can focus on his power, purpose, peace in the coming weeks and not the unknown. I don’t know what’s going to be trending on Twitter later today. I don’t know who will be living in the White House in 2021. I’m going to share a saying with you that’s a little cheesy, but it’s true none the less: I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future. And because of that, I can put my trust in Him above all else.
Join with me in prayer, “God, in Your Word we see kingdoms and countries rise and fall. We see leaders presiding and being replaced. But the message from Genesis to Revelation is that You are over it all. Help us not to worry about the outcome of the election, but to trust in You. We aren’t minimizing its importance, but we are putting it in the proper place in our lives and not making our country, our leaders, or our policies functional saviors in our lives or idols of our hearts. Please lead us to a verse we can focus on in the coming weeks. Help us to filter what we see and hear from the media and on social media. And guide us to find ways we can further your kingdom no matter who becomes President. In Jesus’s name we pray, amen.”
Friends, I know that was some heavy stuff. Everything feels hard and heavy right now if we’re being honest. But know you aren’t alone in feeling the weight and stress of this season. And know that I’m praying for you. Together we can take these steps. God will show his power, purpose, and peace in the coming weeks. We can rest in Him.
Now let me tell you how you can become a Patreon supporter. Patreon is a way to say thank you for the free content you get from creators like me and get bonus content for your donation. At patreon.com/sandrapeoples you can pick between three levels of support: $5, $9, and $75 a month. Right now, Patreon supporters at every level are adding printables to their Abiding Caregiver Planners. If you become a supporter today, you’ll get access to previous month’s printables and everything that’s coming soon. My Patreon supporters are a huge blessing to our family, and they allow me to pay for this podcast host and my website. I’m so thankful for them!
Ok friends, thank you for spending time with me this week! As I try to increase my step count, pick up kids from school and therapy, and fold all our laundry, I think of you doing the same things and pray for you! You aren’t alone as you abide in Him and do the next thing on your list. See you on Instagram this week, and I’ll meet you back here next Monday!