Prairie Dog Politics–– No More Hiding, Just Hoping, Loving and Doing
[*Disclaimer. If you’re as sick of politics as I have been, then this post is for you. My prayer is that you will read through to the end. I think you’ll be glad you did.]
I all but left the political scene years ago. The 2016 election found me in tears at the polling booth. The feeling that I was danged if I voted one way and danged if I voted another hung over me like stockyard stench.
The stink aroused an uncharacteristic lack of hope in me. I wanted to pick up the polling booth on my exit, so I could hide my running mascara, but better sense prevailed.
My values. (More on that later.)
Things that mattered to me appeared to be espoused by a candidate whose conduct made me shudder. What’s a gal to do? My response over the next four years was less than commendable. I went into full prairie dog mode. I hid beneath the ground and popped up out of my hole only when necessary. When political conversations were unavoidable, I handled them in a non-contradictory style.
I said little.
But the whole time, I was thinking.
I was reading.
I was praying.
Fast forward to the 2020 election. I didn’t mourn. I didn’t celebrate. Instead, I felt a profound confirmation of something God had been whispering to me during the years prior.
“I direct the hearts of Kings like I direct a channel of water, and therein lies your peace.” – [My takeaway from Proverbs 21:1]
It has taken the past two (maybe more) elections for me to determine that my peace of mind cannot lay in earthly rulers. But more than that, I have grown to believe that there is only one sound truth to cling to:
THERE IS ONLY ONE TRUE POLITICIAN.
His re-election is guaranteed.
His wisdom lacks for nothing.
His laws are just.
His representation is complete (and always accessible).
He is for you and me, and nothing on this earth is beyond His influence and control.
If you’ve felt unrest over the chaos in our country’s political sphere; my hope is what I’ve just shared will become the same stake in the ground for you that it has become for me.
But I want to encourage you in one other way. It has to do with what I mentioned earlier. The other source of my struggle:
No one fully represented what I valued.
The light bulb that went off for me was this––
Maybe that’s not their job. Perhaps it’s mine.
I had been hoping for a mouthpiece that would stand for what I valued most in life. God reminded me of this,
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” – 1 Peter 3:15 NIV
Today, I continue to read, study, and pray. I hope that if asked, I will intelligently, articulately, and most of all, lovingly communicate what I value and why those values give me hope.
But my Favorite Politician is also a doer. He continues to ignite a conviction in me. Politics are about more than what we say. It’s about what we do.
My Favorite Politician stands behind issues like caring for the homeless and tending to widows and children. He wants us to remember those in prison (I think He would consider poverty and lack of opportunity as much of a prison as a cement cell). There’s more, but you get the gist.
I have a dear friend from North Carolina who for years has been saying (in an accent as sweet as a bag of Hershey Kisses),
“All I know is that God has called me to serve those in my own backyard.”
My. Own. Backyard.
I want the world to be different.
I want my country to be different.
God has reminded me that I need to start in my own backyard. He also reminded me that He did the same thing. He started with a “political party” of twelve… in His backyard. And He changed the world.
“We dare not despise small beginnings.” – Zechariah 4:10
We all have backyards, and they all look different.
I have dear friends in my tiny town that are tirelessly committed to the local food pantry.
I have another friend that delivers homemade soup to souls in need. I swear she’s busier than the town’s favorite local take-out diner.
I know of one woman who faithfully called every single person in the church directory on the day of their birthday. She did it until she was in her nineties. She’s since passed, but if you had ever been blessed to hear her sweet greeting on the other end of the phone, I promise you’d never forget it.
Home may also be a backyard. Goodness knows we all need a place that is a safe haven. Mother Theresa said it best,
“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”
I am acquainted with politicians that I would call friends. I pray for them. I’m grateful for them. I think that some of them believe politics is their calling. I’ll reiterate, I’m so thankful for them.
But I have given them all a hall pass. Politicians are no longer responsible for my peace. Neither are they primarily accountable for meeting the needs in my own backyard. I trust my Favorite Politician to help me speak what I value with love and then live out those values with the kind of discernment and strength that only He can provide.
Three cheers for living life above ground. If you’ve found yourself in hiding as I have been, I hope you’ll join me. The sun looks good on you.