My goodness, what a week! I had planned to share some winter skincare tips with y’all on Wednesday, but in light of the election, I opted to save the post for a later date and let social media unfold with its political opinions instead. And my, did it unfold.
I’ve sworn up and down that I would never even type the word ‘politics’ or anything of its nature on this blog of mine or any other social media platform. It’s not because I don’t care about politics or that I’m embarrassed of my political beliefs. In fact, I care a lot and I’m extremely strong in where I stand politically. However, I don’t desire to proclaim or discuss my beliefs with a screen in between me and anyone else. If someone wanted to sit down with me, face to face, and ask me what I believe, I’d tell them. Then, I’d want to hear their perspective, even if it differed from mine. I’d want to hear them out as they heard me out. And then, I’d want to order us each a Diet Coke and talk about our lives, our families, our faiths, what nail polish color they’re wearing, and what else is new! Essentially, I’m not looking to forcefully change someone’s mind or their own opinions, especially in a single conversation, and I’m not looking for heated and hurtful political arguments on the internet or in person.
So, cut to this week. I thought the entire election was bad in terms of negative media and social media. I was wrong. I am simply stunned at the things I’m seeing on the news, in my social media feeds, and in every other form of media out there. Everyone seems to have a strong opinion. And my, everyone seems to be sharing it! And if their not personally sharing it, they’re ‘liking’ it and that pops up in our feeds and we’re all seeing it anyways! News articles, videos, photos, commentary, opinion pieces, personal stories, personal words…. good, bad, positive, negative…. we’re seeing it all, aren’t we? So going back to my stance on ‘no political talk on the internet’, I really thought…. “does the internet really need one more person voicing their opinion, whether it be positive or negative, in all of this?” Probably not. However, I also think need to own up to this fact: I choose to put myself out there on the internet. I’ve made the personal choice to let strangers of all kinds of backgrounds and beliefs follow along with me and what’s going on in my life. I’ve also made the choice to be vulnerable and talk about my faith, which is the biggest part of what makes me the woman I am. So, I felt convicted to say something. Because, I really do care about what’s going on in our country. And I think it’s important for you as readers to know that.
So, here is my ‘something’.
So many phrases I was taught as a child have been swirling through my head all week.
“If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all.”
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matt. 7:12)
“You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.”
“Think before you speak.”
“There are two sides to every story.”
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
We have all forgotten these words. Our pride has taken over, and we’re simply too full of ourselves to go back to core principles that we, hopefully, have once been taught. We think that what we believe in is what everyone else either does or should believe in, and if they don’t…. we are right and they are wrong. And perhaps we’re not even blatantly framing it in that way. Perhaps, by simply showing support towards whatever we do believe in (for example: liking or engaging with something on Facebook), we’re forgetting that there is someone else seeing that who disagrees. And don’t get me wrong, that’s okay! It’s more than okay to disagree! But I really, truly think that we are carelessly speaking, sharing, and liking our way through this time in our country and in turn, we’re assuming that disagreement = wrong. We’re also forgetting that not everyone who disagrees with us is a stereotype of those who vote differently than we do.
When did disagreement go from politely accepting a difference of opinions to bashing those who don’t see it the same way? Why are we so quick to judge and give into stereotypes? Why do we feel the need to voice our opinions or “prove ourselves” in harsh defense of what we do believe? And if we believe in something that goes against the status quo, why do we feel we’ll be attacked for that?
For me personally (even though I don’t blatantly want to post anything political) I’m constantly struggling with the urge to tap that darn ‘like’ button on Facebook (in terms of political content, not personal). Typing that out and admitting it feels so embarrassing, but I’d like to believe I’m not the only one. I even told my husband this week, “I hate that I feel like I can’t ‘like’ ____ without someone thinking I’m a ____!” And when we talked about that, we both came to the conclusion of asking ourselves…. “What are my motives behind liking this? Is it because I simply agree with it or is it because I agree with it AND I want people to know that I agree with it?” We both agreed that there was a difference.
I know that so many emotions are so high and so intertwined in all of this. I know this entire election was abnormal, heated, and divided from start to finish. I see the pride, hurt, anger, and hungry thirst for gratification… all mixed with sadness and fear. I see the hurtful, attacking, and discriminatory names being used for BOTH sides of the political parties and their supporters. And my heart hurts. Lord, be with us all.
After a few too many scrolls through news and social media feeds yesterday, my disheartened and frustrated self decided to attempt to rise above being defensive and dramatic and texting my husband or close friends and saying something to the effect of “can you BELIEVE what ____ said?!” (I may strive to not share on the internet, but I’m sad and ashamed to admit that sometimes I’m no better than anyone else behind closed doors). Instead, I decided to make a list of things that I wanted to make a point to be doing amidst all of this chaos. I want to share them with you below with what I hope is encouragement in moving forward this weekend and for all of our days ahead. Here goes:
Deeply thank a veteran
I never feel like I have even close to enough words of gratitude for the ones who have and continued to serve our country for my freedom. Show love, gratitude, kindness, respect, and thankfulness for them. Treat them this way today and every single day. We all would not be living the lives we are so privileged to have here in America without them. They have sacrificed everything for that truth.
Go hug, snuggle, and play with a dog or any other animal you love
I’m constantly amazed how loving and uplifting our furry friends are, especially in times of despair. They’re as non-judgemental and unifying as they come! I loved this video that made its way around the internet this week!
Go hug, snuggle, and play with a child
Whether you have children of your own, are a grandparent, auntie, cousin, teacher, friend of a friend with kids…. do yourself a favor and go spend some time with them! I can’t quite imagine being a small, impressionable child during this time and witnessing so much that just plain doesn’t make sense. Go enjoy seeing life through a child’s eyes amidst it all. Take them to a park, play ball out in the street, play Barbies, make cookies, or watch a G-rated movie with a good message. I think you’ll be amazed at how redemptive and humbling to your soul it will be! I also think you’ll see that when they throw a temper-tantrum, you’ll see some ugly qualities in yourself and be reminded that you are an adult for a reason. I speak from experience! 😉
Go get a Red cup (and maybe treat someone in line to one, too!)
Starbucks officially launched their red Christmas cups yesterday and there’s just something that brings me so much joy about them! I especially love that they took 13 individuals doodles from the controversial red cup dilemma last year (seriously, if it isn’t one thing it’s the other, right?!) and made them this years official cups to be served. Call me silly, but I think reflecting on the fact that this time last year, people were divided over something but then decided to be creative and make the best of it and now it’s this year’s selected choice says a whole lot.
Have an entire meal with friends or family where there is no political discussion whatsoever
Even if you completely agree with those around you, try to have one meal together where you simply just don’t talk about it! Just enjoy the freedom of a conversation without political discourse and connect with whomever you’re with in so many other ways!
Make your Christmas gift-giving list (or any other list on how you can bless someone)
Gifting is my number one love language! I love receiving and giving gifts, so I get excited when I start to plan out ways to bless others during the Christmas season. Focusing on blessing others may even inspire you to start thinking about how you can bless those this Christmas season whom you don’t personally know! For example, sending a box of treats to children in need, sending gifts and cards to our troops, donating to local shelters in need… the list could go on and on!
Make it a point to be a little more kind, patient, and loving to strangers out and about
Maybe it’s that new holiday hire checker that is just being trained on the register, doesn’t yet know what they’re doing, is and needing extra grace and a confidence boost in their new jobs. Remind yourself that you are no better than them. Perhaps it’s that person that cuts you off in traffic. Remind yourself that Lord willing, you’ll all get to your destinations eventually. Maybe you just make an extended effort to hold doors for someone, offer to assist a mother, someone elderly, or someone physically impaired. You could say things like ‘good morning’ or ‘how’s your day going?’ to those around you out and about. Or even just… SMILE. None of these things should ever be too below or too hard for us!
Go to church
And here’s what I think is the most important of them all! If you’re feeling in despair, about anything in your life or in this broken world, I’d first encourage you to open your Bible and read through scripture. But yet, just that is still not enough. God calls us into fellowship and worship with other Christians. Not because we have to, but because it is truly what is good for us. And God always knows what is the very best for us in times of joy and in times of sadness. Yes, reading your bible and praying for our country is vital, but it’s not the whole enchilada, y’all! We need to get our booties in church!!! We need to become involved in our church communities. We need to learn, grow, and feel challenged from what our pastors have to teach us. We need to be surrounded by a congregation that may still disagree politically, but ultimately believe in ONE SAVIOR and ONE HEAVEN. Be with believers who know and proclaim that the hope of this world will never be in a presidential candidate whether we agree with him/her or not! Surround yourself with Christians who believe that we are all sinful, flawed, and helpless without our God. We need to get ourselves involved, come together with those that believe this with our whole hearts, and allow iron to sharpen iron (Proverbs 27:17).
This is tough-love time, Christians. If you’re proclaiming that your hope is found in Christ alone, then make your actions speak louder than your words and prove that your worth is not found in who you voted for as President of the United States. Your worth is found in who you call KING. So go to church. Every Sunday you can. Make it a habit that feels empty to break. Show your kids the importance of the discipline in attending a weekly service. Allow yourself to listen, grow, encourage, and PRAY with the body of Christ. Get to know others within your congregation that may have a different viewpoint on something. Listen to them, hear them out, speak together with kindness and with truth. Break through the barriers of stereotypes on those who voted for each candidate. Take what you are learning and receiving during your time in the church and use it to show non-believers that you are a Christian that stands firm in the word of God and proclaims our faith both boldly and with grace. Remind yourself that though the church is made up of sinful, flawed, and different people… it CAN be a place for hope and unity under ONE GOD.
Readers, there is so much joy and hope for us!!! We can be a light, we can encourage, and we can have faith together… differences of opinions and all. In Jesus’ name, don’t let the enemy take that away from us.
May these words I write be from a heart that seeks Christ and may we all have a beautiful weekend and days ahead!
I love each and every one of y’all reading today! Have a blessed weekend!