Praying Through Your Response to the Election Results
For as long as I can remember, I’ve stayed up late on election night. During Bush vs Gore in 2000, I remember crowding around the radio with my family as we listened to confused reports about the polling in Florida. In recent years, I’ve monitored the results online, refreshing my browser every few minutes as I watch for key states to turn red or blue.
This year—for better or worse—I’m pretty emotionally invested in the result. I’ve spent a lot of energy making my case against Trump, and a lot less energy thinking about how I will respond when all the votes have been counted and a winner is declared.
To help me enter the coming week in a healthy mental space, I’ve been creating some prayer exercises for myself. This is the template I’ve been using as I pray through my response to the election results. I am sharing it here in case it is helpful to you.
If [candidate] wins …
What this communicates to me: What does this result mean to you? How do you interpret its significance?
I feel: What is the first and most visceral emotion that you feel when you think about this outcome?
Truth: How can you speak God’s truth to yourself in this moment?
Be present to Jesus: Allow yourself to experience the emotions that you just described. Now, picture Jesus meeting you in that space. Imagine how he would interact with you as you experience these feelings.
Agency: You may feel a loss of agency as you think about an undesirable outcome. What are some things that you can do to regain your agency? How can you continue to support and advocate for the things that you care about regardless of the election result?
When I pray through this exercise with a possible Trump-victory in mind, this is what it feels like for me.
If Trump Wins…
What this communicates to me: Known sexual predators get to stay in power. As a country, we have decided that a person’s good (?) actions outweigh or excuse unaddressed patterns of predatory behavior.
I feel: Because I have seen the way that this attitude harms people on a small scale, I am wildly alarmed to watch it play out at the national level again. How do I feel? To be honest, I feel terrified. Intellectually, I know that there are complex reasons why a person might choose to vote for Trump, but it feels like a vote for Trump is a vote that says, “It’s ok to grope, harass, demean and assault Angela as long as you support [insert policy position].” This makes me feel incredibly vulnerable. It makes me question whether or not the people I love will stand up for me next time I am harmed. My body literally starts to shake as I write this.
Truth: Election results are not a reflection of my dignity and value. My value is inherent because I am created in God’s image. Even if no one else chooses to stand up for me, Jesus will stand up for me. He preached that it would be better for a person to tear out their eye or cut off their hand than to use it to sin sexually against someone else. I meditate on all of the gospel stories that show Jesus treating women with honor and dignity.
Being present to Jesus: In my mind, I am curled up in a ball on the floor in my bedroom—immobile. Jesus sees me and comes to sit with me on the floor. In the silence, I crawl into his lap and he wraps his arms around me. We don’t speak, but I know that my body is safe with Jesus.
Agency/What I can do: I can choose to stand up for victims of abuse in my own communities. I can use my voice to hold people accountable for their behavior. I can keep sharing resources that help people learn how abuse happens and what they can do to prevent it.
So often, I feel like I am a fuse that has already been lit—I am moments away from an emotional explosion when I think about this election. Praying this kind of prayer doesn’t make me any less passionate about my positions, but it does help me to stabilize my internal world. I hope it helps you too. That’s all I’ve got for tonight, friends.
XOXO – Angela