Now there’s another disorder. Election stress disorder. Dr. Asim Shah, vice chair for community psychiatry at Baylor College of medicine in Houston, says it’s real.
Apparently Shah is right. A quick Google search of “election stress disorder” revealed 1,540,000 hits.
Shah said that symptoms of this once-every-four-years disorder include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, sweaty palms, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping and a sinking or doomed feeling.
According to recent news reports The American Psychological Association says the election is the source of “a significant amount of stress for more than half of all Americans and is prevalent in both parties.”
APA researchers surveyed 3500 adults and found that 55% of Democrats and 59% of Republicans said the election is a “very significant” or “somewhat significant” source of stress.
Reporter Deborah Netburn wrote in the L. A. Times that even her kindergartner was affected, waking up at 5 a.m. with nightmares about “two people running for President.”
Cartoonist Ed Hall captured what Forbes magazine describes as “voter angst” with this observation. “The media and the candidates have whipped the electorate into a frenzy; a witches brew of terror, dread, anxiety, and more than a dash of paranoia. Voters on both sides feel that opposing candidates will spell the end of America (and maybe civilization) as we know it….”
So what is a Christian to do in the midst of all this apprehension, anxiety and unease? Here’s a few suggestions.
(1) Talk to God about it.
Both apostles Peter and Paul prescribe payer as a prescription for emotional distress. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phil 4:6). And “cast all your anxiety upon (God) because He cares for you” (1 Pet 5:7).
When dealing with difficulties the Psalmist said, “Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Ps 118:5-6)
(2) Believe and receive the peace of God.
Following Paul’s injunction to pray, he offered this promise. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7)
King David, a “man after God’s own heart,” found peace, repose and comfort in God’s presence. After praying to God he said, “You have relieved me in my distress” (Ps 4:1).
(3) Turn off the news, shut down your computer, silence your iPhone and open your Bible.
Ok, I know some of you read scripture on an electronic device. But maybe it’s a good thing to just open the book and read. It won’t be pinging with a message or an important facebook post.
When your spirit is disquieted and your mind is ill at ease, follow the advice of the Psalmist. “I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word” (Ps 119:15-16)
(4) Associate with Believers who will build you up.
God gave us a spiritual Family to encourage, edify and comfort us. Our assembly ought to enliven and ennoble us. Our association with one another should provide a respite from a wicked and worried world. The Hebrew writer exhorted, “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds” (Heb. 10:24).
Please, brethren, let’s not allow political preferences to divide us and fracture the Body for which Christ died. Our fellowship should be a safe place. Our relationship in the Lord is far more important than any election. Let’s build each other up, not tear each other down.
(5) Repeat and accept this Biblical Truth: “Lord, thy will be done.”
Much has been written by religious leaders and bloggers about the will of God during this election. Remember this. There is the unconditional will of God. The conditional will of God. And the permissive will of God. I encourage you to read my post written in 2012 on this topic and apply it to the current election.
Brethren, let’s role model to the world our faith. Let our light shine. And not allow worldly anxiety to consume us.
And more than ever it might be meaningful to implore, “Maranatha!”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman