Americans are stressed out. They are losing sleep. They are anxious. They are on-edge. And one of the biggest causes of this stress is politics. The news is just too intense, too constant, too unnerving, too bothersome. And with the impending, potential impeachment of the president, things are about to get really intense. As inreally.Andintense.
How can we avoid falling into Trump impeachment fever?
A survey released last week underscored just how stressed Americans already are over politics.
As reported in the Health section of US News, “the stress of ugly national politics has started to affect the emotional and physical health of some citizens, as a new study suggests.
“Nearly two out of every five Americans say politics is stressing them out, and one in five are sleepless or have had friendships damaged over politics, the researchers found.
In the words of lead researcher Kevin Smith, chair of political science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, “A surprisingly large number of American adults perceive their engagement in politics as having negative effects on their social, emotional and even physical health.”
But it is not just politics that is stressing Americans out. It is the news about politics, the reporting about politics, the endless speculation about politics.And, with the Trump impeachment front and center, we can only expect these already high blood pressures to get a lot higher, regardless of which side of the political divide you find yourself on.
The intrigue will grow daily. What will happen to President Trump? How will this affect the 2020 elections? Is this a good strategy for the Democrats or are they shooting themselves in the foot?
The accusations will grow daily. “Adam Schiff has committed treason!” “No, Trump has committed treason!” “Impeaching Trump is the only way to preserve our freedoms!” “No, keeping Trump in office is the only way to preserve our freedoms!”
The plot will thicken, and the scope will widen.
Ukraine. Russia. Australia. Italy. China. Who or what is next?
If we are not careful, we’ll find ourselves consumed with the daily news, looking for updates by the hour (or, minute), with our emotions spiraling up or down depending on the latest headline.
This is no way to live, especially for a follower of Jesus, for someone who has a true relationship with the God of the universe.
That’s why I recentlytweeted out, “Right now, there's nothing I can do (outside of prayer) to affect whether or not @POTUSis impeached & what the results will be. So, I'm going to keep my attention focused on the Lord & not get worked up by the latest news cycle. Isaiah 26:3!”
For those unfamiliar with the Scripture reference, it is to Isaiah 26:3. Speaking of God, it says, “You keep him in perfect peacewhose mind is stayed on you,because he trusts in you.”
The Hebrew for “perfect peace” is shalom shalom, and that is just what we need in these turbulent times: a double dose of shalom!
It’s true, of course, that the world been in turmoil for many centuries. What’s different today is that everything is reported by the minute. A tsunami in Asia reaches our cell phones in the West within seconds. We witness the video of a suicide bombing in the Middle East moments after it takes place. And in the world of US politics, the latest Trump tweet sets off a firestorm, which in turns sets off another news cycle, with one side yelling, “Fake news!” and the other side shouting, “You’re lying!”
How much of this can we take?
Here are a few practical suggestions that will help us de-stress during these frenzied times.
First, keep your eyes on the Lord. Spend time daily meditating on the Scriptures. Spend time worshiping God, remembering His greatness and power. Cast your concerns and anxieties on Him in prayer. This will make a world of difference.
Second, remember that the most powerful man on the planet – the President of the United States – is less than a grain of sand in God’s sight. The biggest, most powerful nations are mere dots in His universe. In other words, no matter what happens in the days ahead, it will not rock God’s purposes and plans.
Third, take everything with a grain of salt until all the facts are in. The impeachment controversy will not go away any time soon (think “Mueller investigation”). And even if there was a speedy outcome (which is highly unlikely), the news cycle will only intensify as we get closer to the 2020 elections. In fact, the frenzy will likely continue well after the 2020 elections.
To repeat: Who can live with this kind of constant stress? How is it healthy? Or productive? Or edifying?
I encourage each of you to take a deep breath. To have some fun with your friends or family, if possible. To enjoy life. To concentrate on loving God and loving your neighbor. And to pray for God’s best – for the president, for Congress, for our nation.
Then, repeat the first step over and over again. Worship. Pray. Meditate on the Word. And then expect that double dose of shalom.