Between Facebook, Twitter, our favorite podcasts, and our most frustrating uncles, it seems like these last weeks leading up to the election are filled with opinions flying all around.
Don’t get me wrong—it’s important. But it’s also heavy.
For our family, this election has been the most involved one we’ve ever experienced. I was too young to vote in 2012 by about 3 months. In the last election, we certainly had our opinions but were a little gray on what Supreme Court justices meant for our country and why that was such a pressing conversation on both sides. It felt like I had a lot to figure out so much before casting my vote. Then come Election Day, a family tragedy kept us from exercising our vote.
This time is different. Not only are we taking advantage of early voting because of our last experience, but we have spent lots of time trying to better understand our country’s systems. Something we haven’t felt challenged to understand until the last four to five years.
And in floats the fatigue. Fatigue from important things that we want to be doing.
Fatigue from learning.
Fatigue from listening.
Fatigue from passion.
Fatigue from nuanced conversation.
Lots and lots of fatigue.
So what’s the answer? Do we give up? Do we turn it all off? Do we pretend it’s not happening? (Hah! Good luck with that one.) Do we lean in? Do we pretend it doesn’t exist? Do we just wait for the inevitable crash?
I don’t 100% know what is best for you. But I do know what has been best for us, and I want to share some of those things with you.
Turn off your notifications
If you have watched the Social Dilemma already, you know. You get it. If not, grab yourself some ice cream and maybe a glass of wine (or kombucha in a wine glass if your preggers like me), log into your sister’s Netflix account, and hit play.
If you don’t want your mind blown about the craziness that is our cell phones, listen up. The notifications from your apps are created to get you to open said app up and hold your attention as long as possible so that you will eventually see an ad or two or ten. If they know that you tend to look at posts about a certain political stance a little longer, those posts will be pushed to the top of your feed.
The fewer notifications you receive, the less likely you are to go down an unhealthy or unhelpful Facebook rabbit hole—especially when you’re already exhausted.
Give yourself intentional time off of social media.
Check this. Your phone (which feels like it should be the enemy of all things mental health) can actually help you set limits! Head to settings, screen time, app limits, and decide how much is the max amount of time you want to spend on each of your apps—specifically your socials—each day.
Or better yet, delete them off your phone totally for a set amount of time. Maybe you just need one or two days, maybe you want to give yourself until the end of November.
There are lots of ways to stay informed on what’s happening without subjecting yourself to the more extreme opinions that exist on social media.
Listen to the candidates, not just the media.
As much as this may seem counter-intuitive, spend some time that you would normally be spending reading your college roommate’s commentary on twitter listening to what the actual candidates have to say (and don’t have to say) about given subjects. Go to their websites. Peruse their twitter accounts. Watch the debates and town halls. Learn about things they have supported in the past and do support in the present by their own account. That way you can make informed decisions on your own.
Diversify your news sources.
Look. I get it. There are certain sources it’s easier just to steer clear from. Media works hard to appeal to an intended audience, and most of the time, we don’t fit in to some of those audiences. But others do. Listen to news sources that you would normally mute. You’re probably not going to walk away agreeing, but at least you will hear a different perspective for a little bit.
Even if it’s not news sources, you can listen to podcasts that lean away from your normal political bend.
Watch out for apocalyptic language.
Everything is SO polarized right now. Each side wants us to buy into the narrative that if their candidate doesn’t win, life as we know it is over.
Hear me out: this is an IMPORTANT election. I have lots of opinions about it. I have ample feelings about what the future might look like if either candidate wins.
But I also believe that there isn’t a single person or party who has the capability to override God’s will. Fear drives us to feel big things and act out only on our emotions. Go vote by November 3rd. It is such a privilege to be able to do so. But don’t walk up to the booth because you are scared. Do it because there is freedom to do so. Do it knowing that even IF life as we know it in the United States is never the same, the perfect love that drives out fear (1 John 4:8) doesn’t go away. He doesn’t change.
Remember where our hope lies.
Which leads me to the most important point. If we put our hope in this election, in this country, or any other system of this earth, we will be disappointed and will fall from fatigue every. single. time. I have no doubt about that.
I am hearing a lot of talk about the fear of religious liberties being taken away. Again, I have a lot of feelings about this. But that’s not what this is about.
Let’s go to the extreme. Let’s say that one way or another, religious liberties get taken away. Let’s say that we have to experience something like one of the most famous Bible characters in one of the most famous stories did. In the account of Daniel in the Lion’s den (Daniel 6), we tend to focus on how God miraculously saved Daniel from an impossible situation—a den full of hungry lions ready to eat whatever came in to them.
But the Bible actually doesn’t spend most of its time there. Daniel went to the lion’s den after he lost all of his religious liberties. He was no longer allowed to pray to his God.
Guess what: he did it anyway.
You see, there isn’t a system that can truly take away our religious liberty. We have the freedom to pray and to worship God, and of course, we should want to be able to do that without any persecution at all. But if Scripture is clear about anything, it is that God’s word and His truth will prevail despite our own legal ability to worship our God.
Our hope isn’t in religious liberty. Our hope isn’t in our own ability to worship without governmental intervention.
Our hope isn’t in the Republican or the Democratic Party or in the American systems at all. It is in the blood bought righteousness of Jesus Christ. Rest there. Let Him take your burdens. Worship Him always.
Let someone help you think.
Last thing: you will get fatigued at some point. There are some heavy things we are dealing with as a country. It’s hard and it can definitely feel scary.
Find someone who can encourage you. Find someone you can talk to who won’t drive you further into distress. Maybe find a podcast that breaks down hard-to-understand aspects of our systems. (I am personally a fan of Culture Matters.)
You don’t have to do all the work on your own. You don’t have to process on your own. Discuss how you can exercise your convictions outside of the voting booth and on days other than the first Tuesday of every forth November. Gather around each other in these final days leading up to your vote and then keep gathering afterward.