Stand at the Crossroads

Gina Butz rest, transition, truth 0 Comments

He knows the path that leads to grace and rest. I have only to ask and obey.

It would never have been in my plans to make an international move pregnant, but that is exactly what I did in the fall of ‘99. When I was thrown into the newness of being a first time mama six months later, I was still wrestling to grasp a language as different from English as possible, learning how to lead a ministry alongside my husband, and finding my place in a new culture.

I was swimming in transition.

My love for our host country, coupled with a deep need for external validation, drove me through the spring to squeeze life out of every hour: studying the language while our son napped, taking him with me to meet students, our team passing him around as we met and planned. I once nursed him with one arm while wiping a poop explosion off the wall with baby wipes so I could finish in time to meet a student for discipleship.

I wanted to do it all. Six months later, I was overwhelmed.

To read the rest of the story, and how God used this verse from Jeremiah to minister to me, go to my guest post at (in)courage here:  Stand at the Crossroads

If you’re new here, welcome! Join me on the journey by subscribing to receive posts straight to your inbox and receive my 8-day devotional It Is Well with My Soul as a thank you! Just enter your email in the box on the right. 

The Power of Story

Gina Butz identity, loved 4 Comments

Do you know your own story?

photo by Gina Butz

“All children mythologize their birth. It is a universal trait. You want to know someone? Heart, mind and soul? Ask him to tell you about when he was born. What you get won’t be the truth; it will be a story. And nothing is more telling than a story.” The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield

In the last few years, I’ve thought a lot more about my story. Partly this is from coaching others to know their stories, partly through reading To Be Told by Dan Allender, and partly it’s just the way God is leading me.

Many people think the past is just the past-over and done, let’s move on. But the past is part of us.

We are a composite of our stories and how they shaped us. There are messages on our hearts from every moment we have lived-messages about who we are, what it takes for us to find love and belonging, and how to safeguard our hearts.

The problem is that those messages are often fuzzy versions of truth, and they can lead us to seek ways of saving ourselves rather than calling us to rest in God. It’s unlikely we will change those messages, and the behavior that stems from them, unless we really examine the stories that told them to us.

And more importantly, we can’t know our stories well on our own. The last spring we lived overseas, a group of us met every other week to watch a video series by Dan Allender called Learning to Love Your Story. Afterward we broke into groups and reflected on what we heard. In the process, we told our stories to each other.

It’s interesting, when you tell a story from your life to someone else. You think you know it and understand it, but until you tell it to someone else, you don’t see it for what it is. I’ve had people tell me incredible sad stories, but they laugh while they tell them, not realizing that their laughter helps them avoid feeling the pain of what happened. I have told others stories, heard them say, “That must have been so hard,” and until that moment, I hadn’t realized it myself. We see our stories through a certain lens; we need help to zoom out and see them more clearly.  

When we tell our stories, others can ask questions and help us connect the dots to who we are in the present because of our past. They can help us see how what happened to us in the past still shapes us now, for good or harm. They can point us to wounds that need healing, sin that needs redeeming, lies that need the truth.

One of the greatest gifts is someone listening to your story, feeling it with you, and loving you in it. Here there is opportunity for healing and transformation. In telling our stories, others help us wipe the film from them to see the truth, to recognize the lies and vows we have embraced to help us save ourselves. They can give us the grace and compassion many of us missed in our stories the first go around. This is the power of story.

Do you know your own story? Do others know it?

 

If you’re new here, welcome! Join me on the journey by subscribing to receive posts straight to your inbox and receive my 8-day devotional It Is Well with My Soul as a thank you! Just enter your email in the box on the right. 

Related posts:

A Story of Two Houses

An Open Letter to the World 

Climbing 2017 One Step at a Time

Gina Butz faith, grace, rest 2 Comments

are you wondering how you'll reach your 2017 goals?

photo by Tobias Cornille

Two days into the New Year, and I whined to my husband, “I have too much to DO!”

“Like what?” he reasonably asked.

“I don’t know. EVERYTHING,” I told him (let me have this dramatic moment, mister). I have big plans this year, and those big plans are looming.

It didn’t help that I spent most of the last week and a half sick and fairly inactive. New Year’s Eve I was in bed by 9 pm (oh, who am I kidding? I’m always in bed by 9 pm, even on New Year’s Eve. A night owl I am not). After all that laying around, I came into 2017 like a racehorse fresh out of the box, like Pac Man ready to gobble down all the pac-dots and level up.

In all that down time, I was able to reflect on last year and dream big for this one. I filled that new planner with goals I want to accomplish and habits I hope to keep and books to read and ponies to ask for. I even added an extra page to capture the other roles and responsibilities I know God’s put on my plate for this year (I’ll send my planner 2.0 version to subscribers soon!). I immediately found myself wanting to chase down every goal, check every box, fulfill every hope that sprang to mind as I thought about this new year. And I wanted to do it before the end of the week.

It’s good and right to look ahead and hope for bigger and better, to plan for change and set our hearts in new directions. We want to lift our eyes from the path we’re on to see the next mountain we could climb. The problem is: mountain climbing is hard. Where to even begin? 

Some of us look at that mountain and think, “What was I thinking? I can’t mountain climb,” and we give up. Others, like yours truly, think, “Well, if I run, I’ll get to the top faster.” Moron. You can’t run up a mountain.

It’s no secret I’m not the best at pacing myself. This may be why so many resolutions fall by the wayside: we who are so accustomed to instant results struggle to see the mountain and know how to conquer it a little at a time. We don’t know how to do the long journey. We have seen what could be, and we want it now. We see how hard the journey will be, and we doubt our ability to endure. It’s easier to decide not to climb.

The Chinese have a saying, “千里之行,始於足下.” (Qiān lĭ zhī xíng, shĭ yú zú xià for those of you who are familiar with Mandarin, or who just want to have a slighter better chance of reading it) We know it as, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” 

It’s important to lift our eyes, to dream of what could be. We must keep it in mind, as we live with the reality that today, maybe I only inch toward it. Tomorrow, maybe I leap. Tomorrow, maybe I check a box, or I accomplish something big. Then the next day, maybe I rest, or I go back and do the same step again. We keep our eyes on the top while we take the next step.

This morning as I walked, I prayed about this. I was reminded that I want to hold goals and dreams and hopes that are God-honoring, that are from Him. I want to do what He has called me to do, nothing more, nothing less. So if these are the mountains He has given me to climb, He can help me climb them, one step at at time. He can guide my pace, give me grace for the days when not much happens, and strength for the days I need to push through.

So I ask Him, “What step should I take today?”Twitter Do that, and it is enough. Remember: we don’t just have all year. We have our lives to keep moving in the direction He’s leading. The journey continues each day, one step at a time.

 

If you’re new here, welcome! Join me on the journey by subscribing to receive posts straight to your inbox and receive my 8-day devotional It Is Well with My Soul as a thank you! Just enter your email in the box on the right. 

Related posts:

Learning to Respect My Limits

When You’re Starting the Week Weary

When You Just Have to Do One Day at a Time

Free 2017 planner!

Gina Butz expectations, growth, word of the year 8 Comments

free 2017 planner

I love planning, calendars, setting goals, and checking boxes. End of the year reflection and future planning is my jam. I have tried so many kinds of planners, but none of them quite fit my style. Then digital products came along and the battle between cute, paper planners and practical, accessible apps on my phone began.

Enter Gina’s personal planner of 2017. I finally just broke down and made one that suits my needs. I wanted something that helped me start from 10,000 feet, reflecting on the previous year, and thinking through my vision for the future year. I’m moving away from a word of the year, and going back to good old goals, because I have a few. I made something that helps me look at how I’ll reach those goals each month and even each week. I’ve done a poor man’s version of this on my iPad since summer and it’s worked well. Now it’s a little more organized, and in a form I can use digitally. I use google calendar for my day to day, hour by hour planning, but this is where I will go to remind myself of the big picture. It’s also got a place to remind myself of daily habits I want to keep, my must read books for the year, and my “Ask for the pony” prayer requests.

So I thought I’d share it with you. I don’t know if it will be helpful or not, but feel free to download one and give it a try! There’s not much difference between these four options except the covers and a little internal font and color tweaking. I’m planning to download mine into Notetability on my iPad, but you could print it as well. I only made one weekly planning page per month (I’m just planning to erase mine each week and use it again) but you could print out more if you like hard copies.


free 2017 planner

download 2017 planner blue cover

free 2017 planner

download 2017 planner black cover

free 2017 planner

download 2017 planner flower cover

free 2017 planner

download 2017 planner arrows cover

I’ll leave you with my top 5 posts for this year, if you missed them or would just like to see them again. Thanks for reading, liking, and sharing them!

The Lies of Too Much and Not Enough

What I Want More Than Your Happiness

What No One Told Me About Parenting Teens 

How to Swimsuit Shop Without Shame

I Don’t Need Rescuing (Except I Do)

For those of you who subscribe to my blog, I’m planning to make a page on it starting in the new year where you can access past freebies like printables and my devotional, and where I will continue to add fun stuff for you (hoping to add a short e-book soon!). If you aren’t subscribed, please do, and you’ll be invited to my super-secret-subscribers-only page too!

Happy New Year!

In Search of the Perfect Christmas

Gina Butz Christmas, grace, peace, rest 0 Comments

Are you looking for the perfect Christmas?

photo by Ben White

So I almost ordered 300 Christmas cards this year from, “The Carter family.”

We are not the Carter family.

Every year, I chase this illusive idea of a perfect Christmas. In my scenario, all gifts (and I mean all) are purchased by December 15th at the very latest. One day of baking suffices for all the places and people who require me to give them creatively arranged sugar. No child ever asks me to help them get a gift for a classmate/outreach/teacher by tomorrow. All the cards and gifts for friends are doled out early on, leaving plenty of time to simply enjoy the holidays, drink chai latte, and let Alexa play me Christmas carols all day.

Then there are the deeper desires. I want beautiful family memories, traditions we all love and embrace. I long for harmonious relationships, the Norman Rockwell family gathered around the fireplace. There is unity and love and warmth.

But sometimes you almost order cards with someone else’s name on them. Sometimes you try to make a gingerbread house and it nearly drives you insane. There are more cookies to make, more gifts to buy, things are out of stock, there are too many parties, and the tree falls over of its own accord (I’m looking at you, tree of 2014).

There’s the awkwardness of unreciprocated gifts and cards, stilted conversations with family members, tiptoeing around the topics we know ruffle feathers. There is a new empty space at the table. There are missed flights, disappointed expectations, stressful coordination of schedules and outright painful interactions.

You start to wonder if you could just not participate in Christmas this year.

But there’s still a perfect Christmas to be found. It’s a Christmas where we search hard for Jesus, and when we find him, we cling to him like nothing else matters. Then, in a weary world, we can rejoice.

After all, the first Christmas was an imperfect one, but it still ended well.Twitter

I’m sure the Christmas story was not what Mary had planned. She didn’t want to be an unwed mother, traveling during her last month of pregnancy, forced to give birth in the stench of animals, far from her family.

Joseph never wanted the stigma of his fiancé being pregnant. He didn’t ask for the hassle of traveling to his hometown. He wouldn’t have chosen to become a refugee in Egypt to protect his son.

But this is how God orchestrated sending his son to us. And in the end, it was all good, because we got Jesus.

The perfect Christmas is one where we find Jesus. Twitter

You do not owe the world a beautifully decorated house or a slew of Christmas gifts. You can send them a picture that claims you are someone else, and they will still know who you are. You can skip a party. The tree can be lopsided.

You can say no to the strained relationships because they make it too hard to focus on enjoying Jesus. You can risk what others will think if you don’t participate in sending Christmas cards or go to another party because your soul needs time to breathe instead and remember what is most important. You can step away from the bustle and let him speak to you.

The perfect Christmas is one where we are lost in the wonder of what he has done, and our souls feel their worth. Let’s chase that with more energy than we chase the outward appearance of it.

So let your Christmas be imperfect to make room for him. Leave off one more gift to enjoy his presence. It’s ok if the ornaments break because he’s still coming. Have less time with people and more time with him. Step away from what is trying and rest in his peace. Let yourself soak in the reality that you are loved more than life. Ponder the Christmas story, and what it means for your life.

Find him, and you will find Christmas.

 

If you’re new here, welcome! Join me on the journey by subscribing to receive posts straight to your inbox and receive my 8-day devotional It Is Well with My Soul as a thank you! Just enter your email in the box on the right. 

Related posts:

Why Christmas Reminds Me to Hope in God

Don’t Miss Christmas

Death by Gingerbread House 

The World Is Dark, but We Know the Light

Gina Butz Christmas, grace, hope, loved, peace 0 Comments

The world is dark, but we know the light that brings life

This has been a divisive year. Lines have been drawn and ugliness has risen to the surface in many places. Sometimes the darkness feels all too strong.

Jesus understands that kind of world.

When he entered it, the Jewish people had endured 400 years of silence from God. They lived under the oppressive rule of Rome. Soldiers walked the streets. Riots were not uncommon. Even within Judaism, there was division, as four sects fought for control. Shortly after he was born, Jesus and his family were forced to flee to a new country to avoid Herod’s massacre of children under 2. Dark times, indeed.

The Jews wanted someone to take away the darkness. They wanted a Savior, but their idea of how they would be saved and from what was misguided. Jesus didn’t come as a military or political leader. He didn’t free them from Rome. He wasn’t about conforming governments to his will. He didn’t erase dividing lines between people. He didn’t make everything easy, or pave a straight, conflict free path for us. He didn’t eradicate evil. Instead, he shone a light into it.

Jesus is the light of the world

He was light in the darkness.

That light sets hearts free. He stepped into the darkness to make room for joy, peace, hope, mercy and grace. His light was life and love, come into the world, to transform us, rather than transforming our worlds to suit us.

We are not called to look at the darkness and be afraid. We are not meant to see it and complain and argue about what it all means. We don’t shake our heads and give up. We don’t wring our hands in despair.

We turn on the light.

We move into the world as people who know joy, peace, hope, grace, mercy, and above all, love. This is what we are about. We are about shining his light brighter and brighter. So this Christmas season, how can we remember to shine his light in the world?

We shine the light of hope. Our hope is in a person, not an outcome. We do not hope in government. We do not hope in society conforming to our standards. We hope in what he can do. We hope in what will be.

We shine the light of peace. Peace is not merely an emotion, but a state of reconciliation brought about through him. So where there is division and unrest, we speak peace. In the midst of chaos, we breathe peace.

We shine the light of joy. He gives us joy beyond circumstances, the joy of knowing him and being loved by him. That joy ought to show on our faces, in our spirits, in how we move through this world.

We shine the light of mercy and grace. Jesus came for the outcast, the downtrodden, the poor, weak and weary. We declare that the gospel is for the ragamuffin, for those who are not too proud to receive what they need. That starts with recognizing we are counted among the needy.

We shine the light of love. Most of all, the light that shines in the darkness declares that love overcomes. It overcomes the darkness in our hearts and opens the door for us to receive all that he offers us. Christmas is God’s shout of love to the world, a shout that makes the darkness flee. Let’s simmer in this reality long enough for it to show up in our actions, in our words.

Yes, the world is dark, but we know the light.

This Christmas, let’s seek ways to make the light brighter in what we say, how we treat others, how we make room for them, where we look for life. Let us be people who reflect the light to a dark world.

“for he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the son he loves.” Colossians 1:13

 

If you’re new here, welcome! Join me on the journey by subscribing to receive posts straight to your inbox and receive my 8-day devotional It Is Well with My Soul as a thank you! Just enter your email in the box on the right. 

Related posts:

Why Christmas Reminds Me to Hope in God 

Reflections on a Christmas Morning

Feel Your Worth

What I’ve Learned About Seeking God

Gina Butz dependence on God, faith, hope, word of the year 2 Comments

3 things I've learned about seeking God

Ah, the word of the year. Such a great way to say, “You know what? I stink at resolutions. I will make only one, and it will be somewhat vague in the form of a word so that no one can say I actually didn’t do it.”

Still, I tried. My word of 2016 was Seek. It encompasses phrases God kept putting on my heart over time: watch, pray, seek, find, wait, hope, look. All of them calling me to seek him more deeply.

To be honest, initially I thought it just meant I should pray more. But I’ve learned that seeking is about more than just time with God. It’s about how I seek and what I seek as well. So though I feel I still have such a long way to go to be someone who seeks earnestly, this is what I have learned this year about seeking:

Seek expectantly 
We will not seek if we do not believe we lack something. If we lack something, we will not seek it outside ourselves until we trust we will find what we need. This year God revealed to me how much I can live from the lie that I have to rely on myself, that no one’s going to rescue me. I try to be my own savior (super small s). The more I am aware of my desperate need for a Savior (giant S), the more I believe he longs to help me, and that he will fight for me, the more I will seek.

To do this requires hope, and hope is vulnerable. It opens us to disappointment, because God does always answer in the ways we think he should. He’s a lot like Aslan, from the Chronicles of Narnia-you never know when or how he will show up, but he will, because he is good. Seeking expectantly requires me to put my hope in his goodness. 

Seek continually
I had this erroneous idea that by the end of the year, I would be done seeking, and could move on. As though there’s some end to seeking God, like this:
How to Seek God

We have to keep finding God over and over, in every circumstance, trial, doubt, and need. Our lives are meant to be lived with a posture of seeking. We stay aware of our deep needs and let them drive us to seek his strength. We look for him at work in the world. We watch for his goodness. We seek day after day, moment after moment, ways to put our hope back in him. The more we seek, the more we will find.

We seek his face
Honestly, this is the one that has been most challenging for me. This year God has led me to ask more audaciously, to depend on him more for areas where previously I was inclined to trust in my own meager resources. But this idea of seeking his face is to simply be with him in his presence, enjoying him for who he is and not what he gives. It’s not about prayer so much as it is about his presence.

God asks us to seek his face because we are his children and he wants to spend time with us. What?? Seriously, this blows my mind. I’m the poster child for doing over being, so I come to God with my lists and prayers and scripture I want to read, and I miss just being with him, looking at him face to face.

What I’ve realized this year is that God could answer all of my prayers. He could give me everything I want and I would not be satisfied, because what my soul is really seeking is him. I want to learn what it is to be a child sitting at his feet, content to simply be there with him, delighting in him and he in me. My next word of the year might need to be “sit” or “stay.” (Good Gina).

So what about you? Did you have a word of the year for 2016? How did it go? Did you see change in your life? I figure I still have 24 days to figure this out. Or a lifetime. Keep seeking, friends. He promises we’ll find him. 

“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29

 

If you’re new here, welcome! Join me on the journey by subscribing to receive posts straight to your inbox and receive my 8-day devotional It Is Well with My Soul as a thank you! Just enter your email in the box on the right. 

Related posts:

I Don’t Need Rescuing (Except I Do)

The Battle Belongs to Him 

Ask for the Pony

Ask God For the Pony

Gina Butz dependence on God, faith 0 Comments

What are you asking for from God today? Ask big. Ask for the pony.

photo by Cristian Newman

It’s the time of year when kids make wish lists of all that they want for Christmas. When our kids were young, I feared Toys-R-Us. I was terrified they’d see something really huge we couldn’t afford and set their hearts on it. One year there was a giant toy pony that kids could actually ride. I think it cost $400. Ridiculous.

Years ago my friend’s son was celebrating his 4th birthday. Just before he blew out the candles, we said, “Make a wish, Luke.” Without skipping a beat, he took a breath and said, “I wish I could fly,” then blew.

That’s how kids think. I want the pony. I want to fly.

Somewhere along the way, we make our lists more reasonable. More practical. We stick to the budget. That’s good in some respects, but there’s an aspect of how kids ask that we aren’t meant to lose.

What are children like? They are weak and needy, and unashamed. They come boldly with their needs and make them known. They’re trusting. They don’t analyze whether or not the ask is too much or out of line-they’re just honest with desire. They believe their parents will take care of them.

I’ve been reading the gospels lately, and I see Jesus inviting this kind of boldness in our relationship with God. He’s always asking people to come closer, calling out their desire, “What do you want me to do for you?” He honors faith, even when it’s just a desperate grab at his cloak. He makes space for children, calling us to be like them. He wants us to come and ask.

So why don’t we? Why don’t we go to God with all our hopes and dreams and wishes and ask big?

Prayer is vulnerable. It’s a raw and scary prospect to bring all our desires before someone who could choose not to fulfill them in the way we hope. It’s tempting to hedge our prayers and only ask for what we think he’s willing to do, what’s in the budget. We wonder if we’re asking for the right things in the right ways so much that we end up asking for nothing at all. It’s easier not to ask than to ask and be disappointed.

But this is where prayer is about so much more than getting what we want. It’s about drawing closer in trust to our father, letting him have our whole hearts, and in the process being shaped to his will. He can’t do that when we hold back.

Lately, I’ve been trying to be more childlike in my prayers. I have been going to God bare hearted, telling him everything I wish were true, everything I hope will happen, everything I want. I’ve been going honest, raw, angry, scared, confused, hopeful, searching. I’ve tried not to censor myself, but trust that he can see through my aching.

As I do, he’s helping me sort out the aching too. I see where he is at work in these areas. I hear him reminding me of what’s true. I feel his delight. I receive his peace and comfort. It’s like in bringing my whole heart, he can fully sift it and give me the right perspective on it. It leads me to gratitude and to worship.

What’s on your list today? Be audacious. Be bold. Be needy. Be honest. Be childlike in your faith and your trust. Ask for the pony. Tell him you want to fly. Bring your whole heart to your father who loves you more than life and trust that he will give you what is good.

“Which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” -Matthew 7:9-11

 

If you’re new here, welcome! Join me on the journey by subscribing to receive posts straight to your inbox and receive my 8-day devotional It Is Well with My Soul as a thank you! Just enter your email in the box on the right. And be sure to check out My Journey to get to know the girl behind the blog. 

Related posts:

Ask Audaciously

When Gratitude Is Hard

Gina Butz gratitude, trials 2 Comments

When gratitude is hard

photo by Arthur Rutkowski

This is the month of the year when we are reminded to be thankful. Pinterest is cluttered with suggestions for ways to count our blessings. At work someone has a thankfulness tree, and a sign inviting others to write on a leaf and add to it. Among the turkey and pilgrim decorations are plates and napkins and signs bearing the word, “Thanks.” But the fact is, sometimes, it’s hard to feel thankful.

Sometimes we have seasons when the blessings are hard to see. Your job is stressful, and you wonder if it’s even where you belong. Your kids are struggling in school. Your marriage feels old and empty. The loneliness lingers. Depression is a cloud you can’t shake. The test is positive. The test is negative. Sometimes the hard is so overwhelming the thought of looking for the good feels beyond our reach.

At times like that, when we don’t feel grateful, what do we do?

We pan for gold.

Now I’ve never actually panned for gold, but I imagine that it was hard work. It was time consuming. It required great focus and a trained eye to look for the smallest bits of gold they could find. They put all their energy into finding that precious metal. Those who were willing to look harder found more.

So when I’m in a season where it doesn’t feel like the gold nuggets are right there for the taking, I imagine myself as a gold miner (side note: I HATE the word nugget. Hate. It.). I have to take more time to look a little harder, sift my life around a little more, asking where I do see Him at work. I look for the smallest blessings. Sometimes I start with, “I am alive today.” And then I thank Him for them. I thank Him for food and clothes and shelter and health and all that I taken for granted every day. I start there.

And here’s the reality: there’s always gold. It might show up in little flakes and specks, but when we begin to look, we see that it is there in abundance. We might not be experiencing the big nuggets of victory, but we can claim the gold dust of everyday grace. It’s breath in our lungs and feet to move us and hands to work and eyes to see. It’s salvation and grace and life and His love and presence and all that which cannot be taken from us even in the darkest moments.

The more we pan for gold, the better we become at finding it. We see gold in a kind word, a safe drive, a quiet moment. We see gold in sunrises and fresh air and every day we get to start again.

We are not asked to give thanks for every circumstance, but in every circumstance. Whatever the season brings, there’s gold in them there hills. We can be grateful people in the midst of trial and heartache and pain. We can choose to seek out the evidence of goodness mixed in with the dirt of hardship. We can search for the reminders that we are never forsaken, even when the road is rough. His blessings carry us. Pan for gold, friends. Our lives are rich.

 

If you’re new here, welcome! Join me on the journey by subscribing to receive posts straight to your inbox and receive my 8-day devotional It Is Well with My Soul as a thank you! Just enter your email in the box on the right. 

Related posts:

Peace and Hope Amidst the Storm 

Why God Won’t Just Make It Easier

5 Things Christians Can Do After the Election

Gina Butz culture, dependence on God, hope 6 Comments

5 things Christians can do after the election

On Wednesday, November 9th, we will wake up to a new president. Lord, have mercy. However the chips fall, the next four years will encompass a reality most of us probably would not have chosen. It’s easy to feel helpless in light of the future, but there’s still much that we can, and should, do.

  1. We can pray. I’ll be honest-I put off voting because I didn’t want to vote for either major party candidate. I have serious issues with both of them. But here’s what I know about both of them-God loves them, and he can redeem them. To say otherwise is to deny his power. Their souls are more important to Him than anything else about them, and they desperately need our prayers. So we can pray for our new president. We can pray for wisdom, guidance, humility, wise counsel, strength, and peace. We can pray for a heart responsive to His Spirit.
  2. We can respect our leader. Like I said, not a fan of either candidate, but I also recognize that being the president of the United States has to be the toughest job in the whole world. God asks us to respect everyone, especially our leaders (1 Peter 2:17), and that includes people we disagree with. We are called to love even our enemies, and love includes speaking well. So we can speak with the same respect and grace about the president as we would if that person were with us face to face, because it glorifies God.
  3. We can love our neighbors. This election cycle has caused so much division. Shame and vilification have happened left and right, even between people who claim to care for each other. I have hovered over the “hide this person’s posts” button on Facebook more than once. But at the end of the day, our call to love is greater than anything. So we can keep moving toward people who have offended us and see differently than we do, especially when they are fellow believers. Christ declared that the world would know we are Christians by our love. We can prove that true.
  4. We can be like Christ to the world. I’ve been immersed in the gospels lately, and what strikes me about Jesus’ interactions with this world is that non-religious people really liked him. And he really liked them. He went to where they were. He ate with them, accepted them, and then called them to something greater. His lead foot was love. We as the church have focused so much energy on changing laws instead of changing hearts. We can choose instead to imitate Christ. We can move toward people with grace, invite them to the one who loves them more than life, and trust him to change them in a way no law ever could.
  5. We can trust God. He never wrings his hands during election time, hoping we’ll choose the right leader. He uses all of this. He doesn’t need America to be a “Christian” nation for Him to work. In fact, the church is growing the most in places where the government doesn’t recognize religious rights at all. We can live not by fear but by faith and trust that his power and his Spirit are indomitable. We can rest in hope that whichever way this goes, His purpose for our world will continue.

This is an opportunity for us to respond differently than the world. And isn’t that what we are called to do? We can glorify God, love Him, and love others regardless of the outcome of this election. In fact, there may never have been a more opportune time for us to live this way. Let’s make the most of it.

 

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Related posts:

Either/Or Thinking in a Both/And World 

Hope in a Broken World