I’ve already heard from two different women with two very different perspectives on the election. The first, a Clinton voter, told me, “I feel like I'm going to cry and throw up at the same time. I need some help coping with this.”
A second, who voted for Trump told me,
We’re not bigots; we’re not racists. I don’t approve of the way Trump speaks about women or the way he reportedly treats them. What I am is tired. I am tired of being dismissed by people in government buildings on the east coast and people in studios on the west coast. I am tired of the code-speak, "white, uneducated, rural voters," when what the elites really mean is "stupid rednecks." We’re the salt of the earth, but the ruling elites of both parties have dismissed the ‘flyover states’ as people who have lost our saltiness and as good for nothing other than being trampled under foot.Whether you’re ecstatic, terrified, or somewhere in between here are four strategies from which we can all benefit:
1. Reconnect with time-tested words. Social media is emotional jet fuel. It promotes sharing before thinking and applies heat and friction to already frayed emotions. If you’ve never unplugged from social media, now would be a good time to do so and to reconnect with ancient words. I suggest the Bible. It has outlasted monarchies and political dynasties. The Psalms are older than popes or kings. People were being comforted by Jesus’ words fourteen centuries before there was a United States. Returning again to time-tested words like those might be what is needed for these states to once again be united. Let words like, “Be still and know that I am God,” (Psalm 46:10) wash over you and cleanse you of anxiety.
2. Embrace love. Are you fearful? You’re not alone. The Dow Jones futures dropped 750 points overnight. Silicon Valley investors are calling for California to secede from the union. The website for Canadian immigration was so flooded last night that it crashed. The only antidote for fear is love. One of Jesus followers, John, wrote, “perfect love expels all fear.” (1 John 4:18) If you’re feeling afraid, let God love you, and practice loving others. Christians ought to be the least fearful people on the planet because we are called to be the most loving people on the planet. Love your children; love your parents. Practice love in the workplace; model love in your home. “We love each other because God first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
3. Do good. Concern about our government’s pursuit (or lack of pursuit) of good ought to propel us to do good ourselves. Are you worried that there are difficult times ahead for immigrants? Volunteer with St. Vincent Catholic Charities Refugee Services program. Do you fear that corporate America now has a blank check to pursue greed and inequality? Be intentional about shopping local. Concerned about cuts in education? Volunteer at an under-resourced school. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21) The only way evil – I am not speaking of people, but of ideology – has ever been defeated is by good people doing something.
4. Practice "microfocus." I can’t control what happens in the White House, but I can contribute to what happens in my house. My individual efforts will never have an effect on Wall Street, but I can have an impact on Main Street. Republicans, Democrats and Independents agree that we should all take personal responsibility for our choices. So I choose to change what I can and not sweat what I can’t. I choose to love my brother and not despise the foreigner. (Leviticus 19:34) I choose optimism and hope. I reject the catastrophic thinking to which I am so predisposed. I will not be overcome by the circumstances in which I find myself; rather, I choose to change the person over whom I have the most direct control: me.
It’s going to be okay.
The sun will come up tomorrow.
As I wrote yesterday, God is still on His throne.
We’re not as fragile as we think.
It’s going to be okay.