Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Election Stress Disorder

 Dear Friends,

WHERE: My Ophthalmologist’s Office (the one with the Bibles and Christian Tracts in his waiting room)

WHY: Yearly Checkup

WHEN: 0830 hrs – Wednesday Morning After  Election

Doctor: Big smile. Says, “So how’d you sleep last night?”

Me: “Took about 30 seconds to fall asleep because God is on the throne and in control.”

Doctor: (laughs) “Yes! We don’t put our trust in princes, in human beings...” quoting Psalm 146:3 NIV

Me: "And I think of the Psalm that tells us when nations rage and the kings set themselves on the throne, God sits in the heavens and laughs." quoting Psalm 2:1-4

Doctor: Grins, nods his head, looks at my chart and says “So.. any changes in your vision?”

+   +   +

We are far more than just glad or sad. We are elated or devastated. America is finally back on the right track to peace and prosperity or it will be destroyed under the leadership of a progressive-leaning liberal administration. This election finally and fairly portrayed the will of the people or voter fraud stole the election and the democrats will fix it so that there will never again be another elected Republican president. Both candidates portrayed themselves as the savior of our Country and people worshiped one and vilified the other. Votes are in. The hate continues. The election is over but we’re not yet over the election. 

Hospitals in California are bracing for incoming patients suffering the mental and physical effects of what is now being called, “Election Stress Disorder.” Mental heath experts have said this election was a high stress event, especially with the amount of social media and news coverage dedicated to this year’s contentious race, and that potentially acts as a trigger for a panic attack which is when your body is feeling like you are in imminent danger. The hospital’s concern is that the symptoms for a panic attack can mimic more serious medical emergencies such as a heart attack. In 2016, some of us laughed at the fragile “snowflake” university students who were rushed to the hospital after seeing a Trump campaign sign and feeling “unsafe.” Now conservatives are being rushed to the hospital for their own anxiety-caused rapid heart beat and shortness of breath. It’s Deja Vu all over again!

That’s what happens when we’ve put our trust in a “prince” and he loses the election. Today it appears that a new prince may soon be enthroned in the White House, and while half of our Nation is rejoicing and the other half are buying guns and googling houses for sale in Canada, “God sits in the heavens and laughs.” 

Today, Joe Biden is calling himself the unifier of our country and the peacemaker. But I suspect that four years from now, we will look back at President Biden (or President Harris) and realize that once again we’ve put our trust in the wrong “prince” or “princess” as we have with every other elected president. And God will still be laughing. That’s because there is only one Prince of Peace and he’s neither Democrat nor Republican: “For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Since the federal election for president is what’s causing us the most stress today, let’s turn first to the Federal Government for the best advice on what we must do to relieve our anxiety and regain perspective. The Federal Government prints on every piece of paper money and on every coin, our national motto: “In God We Trust.” If I’m not mistaken, I think our Bible would agree with that. And do a little self-examination now. The degree of your anxiety is inversely proportional to the amount of trust you have in God. High anxiety = low trust. High trust = low anxiety. God is a sovereign God, who is on the throne and in control of His Universe. You can believe it. You can trust in Him.

Secondly, there is a spiritual discipline called “detachment” that might be helpful for us to practice. Detachment is making important the things that bring us closer to God and detaching ourselves from those things that pull us away from God. Spiritual detachment has been described as a “serene acceptance” of our circumstances. Detachment or “intentional indifference” is mentally healthy but difficult to practice. Note that we detach, but we don’t disengage. Disengagement is disconnecting from society. Detachment is staying engaged but detaching emotionally. The first commandant is “Thou shall have no other gods before Me” and we have emotionally invested heavily in the god of politics. You can see that in the political rallies and protests. You see that in the hatred of others and resulting division in families, friendships and even in our churches. 

For many Christians, our strong emotional investment in secular politics is a disordered affection that has pulled us away from God. Appropriate engagement is your careful research of candidates and initiatives and seeking God’s will as you mark your ballot. Then emotionally stepping back and prioritizing to what and to Whom you give your time and your thoughts. I voted. I cared who won. But both myself and my Christian Ophthalmologist were able to detach and sleep soundly that night knowing that God was in control. He still is. He always will be. And that's why you can sleep well too. Amen?

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