In the Messy Middle

After coming out as a Trump supporter I experienced days of extreme anxiety. In part due to a small number of personal attacks, difficult conversations with close friends, and the more frequent connection to social media it caused.

Plus the resentment machine in my head was hard at work imagining all the thoughts people had that they did NOT share on social media. I assumed every moderate or progressive friend I had ever had now hated me.

But after prayer and reflection I realized it was more than that.

I was in sin.

In today’s culture of acceptance many people consider the mere idea of sin oppressive. But for me I recognize that God wants me free from sin because it almost always causes me harm. Discipleship and the journey toward removing sin in my life have given me peace and freedom.

When the anxiety stretched into a second week I realized something was wrong. 

When I am close to Christ and following His will I just don’t experience persistent anxiety. I might have a sleepless night or two, but not the kind of life altering stress I experienced in the days that followed the post.

But what was my sin? That I voted for Trump despite knowing his past and his character?

No (although I know many of you disagree).

My sin was that as a disciple of Christ I stepped out of the messy middle.

I made being a conservative my identity over being a daughter of Christ. 

I made social media my mission field and invested countless hours into it instead of studying my bible and engaging with my husband, children and friends.

I began to approach the world with a new selective bias and look for ways to support my position versus seeking His truth. 

And at times when I was attacked I got angry. Like really angry.

I was tempted to go back into hiding with my political beliefs and let others with much less to lose do the fighting for me. But that is not what God is calling me to do. God is calling me into the messy middle. That’s where He wants me and that is where I live for about 3 and a half years until an election comes along that forces me to pick a side.

In my last post I shared some of the reasons I more often identify as a conservative. To oversimplify it, I believe our God endowed us with certain unalienable rights and among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

God could have breathed life into us without giving us an opportunity to choose Him or to choose sin. But in His omnipotence, He recognized that kind of “happy zombie” existence would be no kind of life at all. I believe the free will He gave us serves as a model for how our government should be structured as well. 

Often I think the Republican party gets this part right which is why I tend to vote that way (but not always!). Unfortunately though when a party gets it wrong it usually gets it very wrong.

I will share just one example of many that will likely upset a shrinking number of my more conservative friends.

Marriage.  If I am to put my free will money where my mouth is, then I believe you can legally marry whoever you want because to do otherwise would mean imposing my particular flavor of religious belief and practice on you. I also like to think that Jesus would have wise counsel that might be very different than culture of the day but He would still allow the practice. My particular belief surrounding God’s design for marriage is wholly irrelevant to the conversation. I am free to enjoy my marriage in the way I understand it and it is not made less sacred by someone else’s practice of it.

I could also talk about climate change, racial equality, globalization and many other areas where my beliefs are smack dab in that messy middle. And believe me in future posts I will! However my point here today is that I don’t want to blindly tow any political party line without questioning, learning, and praying for God’s will for me, my family, community and our country.

As Christians it is very difficult at times to discern our role in the political landscape because the battlefield is one that the devil delights in using to divide us and it is covered with land mines. However, I do feel we belong in the fray. 

At times we may be called to be lions. 

At times we may be called to be lambs. 

But at ALL times we should put His Kingdom over everything, even what we feel is right for our country.

I am a sinner but thankfully I serve a God from whom grace flows freely. You have my commitment to work to be more like Him in all things while also using my voice and challenging ideas. I am very concerned about the direction of our country and the lack of thoughtful and grace-filled discourse on both sides. In stepping out of my echo chamber and sharing these ideas I will probably make even more people in this binary world unhappy. 

I am praying for God’s strength in helping me be ok with that because intellectually and spiritually His is the approval I ultimately seek.

Thank you to those willing to extend that grace to me as well as I continue to learn and grow in faith.

*inspired by Andy Stanley’s “This Human Race”

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