So here we are, November 4th. The day after a tumultuous election. We are a country still on edge. Sleepless nights. No clear answer. People are expecting the unexpected to occur. I saw a quote yesterday that summed it all up perfectly for me. Of course, I can’t find the source now, so if it was you, please take the credit. I believe it was a pastor on Instagram…

If you feel like you are voting between the lesser of two evils, it’s because you are. Jesus isn’t on the ballot.

-an Instagram post that needs to be credited

I don’t know about you, but that’s how I’ve felt the last two elections. I think to myself, “This is it? A country full of millions of people, and this is it?” My optimistic self believes there has to be a better way. You can call me foolish or naive. But a world of collaboration and compromise doesn’t seem foolish to me. But that quote reminded me that the ways of this world will always feel uneasy. We will always feel unrest. It will always be a lesser of two evils situation.

So here we are…

I didn’t watch any coverage last night because I knew things wouldn’t be clear before my bedtime. Why waste the energy on it? So I kept on binge-watching New Girl on Netflix and went to bed early. But I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that today, I felt that uneasiness. I woke up, checked the headlines, and of course, things say they are “too close to call.” Seems pretty obvious to me, but there are my foolish ways again.

So how to focus today? Keep checking headlines in hopes of an answer or open my bible? Today, I had to focus on God’s Word. And not just to read a line or two but to dig deep. Where to start? I didn’t know. I let the pages fall open, and sure enough, they opened to the first chapter of Jeremiah, a place that keeps opening on its own almost daily.

My prayer before reading was, of course, a bit snarky, but I said, “Alright, God. Show me something good here. Why does this keep popping up? What am I to learn here?” I soon found myself furiously scribbling down notes and thoughts. I felt the need to share, so read on if you’d like to take a bit of a journey with the prophet, Jeremiah. Be warned, like my snarky prayer to God before I started reading, my notes have a bit of a tone to them as well.

Who was Jeremiah? He was a prophet and a priest who had a 40-year ministry. The book of Jeremiah was written during a time when the nation of Judah repented to the Lord at a very surface level. They put away their false idols and turned back to God but internally, their hearts were a mess. They didn’t actually repent and so Jeremiah was prophesying their destruction if they didn’t turn it around.

How can this apply to us? God doesn’t want just our external repentance. He wants to change our hearts. He wants repentance from the core, from the inside of us, from the part that no one else sees. Yes, our external changes are a part of repentance but we are kidding ourselves if this is the only change God requires. We might even think we are doing exactly what God wants us to do and that we are taking steps towards change but if we don’t change INTERNALLY, we aren’t really changing. God wants our hearts. Not just our bad habits and mistakes. Our full hearts.

Jeremiah 1:5-10

Jeremiah 1:5 – God tells Jeremiah that he was chosen to do this work. He was appointed. He needs to get busy being a prophet in God’s name. Spoiler alert – God chose YOU too. He has a job for every one of his believers. He knows you. God appointed you. And you too need to get busy.

Jeremiah 1:6 – Jeremiah argues with God. He protests. He says, “Oh no-no-no. I’m not qualified. I can’t do this. I don’t know how to speak like a prophet.” How often do we protest God’s call for us? How often do we ignore the nudges? Even if that nudge is to simply apologize to a friend? To make amends? To send some love? Our life “call” isn’t always this grand, huge, elaborate thing. We overthink our call in life. That overthinking is protesting God.

Our call is as simple as loving the people around us well. And we all know that some people around us are damn hard to love. If we can’t handle that first and simple (yet hard) call – there really is no point in seeking out more Godly responsibility. He already chose you. You are His – trust that. And then, don’t argue. Don’t overthink. Start by loving your circle well. That might mean, first and foremost, you need to love yourself well. Because if you don’t, you can’t love others well.

Jeremiah 1:7 – God comes back at Jeremiah and says, “Don’t argue with me. For you are going to go and do like I said.” Jeremiah 1:8 – God continues with some encouragement and tells Jeremiah to be fearless. That God is always there to rescue Jeremiah. Jeremiah 1:9 – God tells Jeremiah he will equip him with the words he needs to be a prophet. Bring it back to us. God brings people in and out of our lives. He doesn’t give us everything we want, He gives us everything we need. He wants your heart to simply be content with that. God doesn’t want to argue.

Jeremiah 1:10

God reminds Jeremiah again that He chose him and it’s a big deal. He made up His mind before you were born. So we can keep fighting Him, or we can do some heart work and push down our pride a little. We need to start, little by little. And by taking that action we can create a ripple effect and a wave of generational change.

Jeremiah 1:16-19

Jeremiah 16-19 – Talks about judgment. Friends, we are going to be judged by God for our actions. Remember, we might put on a good external show for God, but He is looking at our hearts. He knows if we aren’t really changing. He is going to discipline us, like a father and a child. That is part of our relationship with Him. But, this discipline is rooted in a foundation of unconditional love. No strings attached. Love from God to us, all of the time.

Even if your earthly parents loved you conditionally, it’s time to stop using that as an excuse to believe God’s love is conditional. It’s not. It’s time to step into His unconditional love because by doing so you will be corrected gently and lovingly. You will be disciplined in a way that helps you grow as a person. You will level up in life. God is LOVED based. Everything He does is for our good. That is our core belief. When we, as His children, make mistakes we need to know that repentance is needed at a heart level. We need to know that we deserve correction. And we need to understand that all of this is happening out of God’s LOVE. Godly discipline isn’t a bad thing. It’s realignment towards our call.

So here we are…

God needs us, His children, to get our act together. Because we, as a people, have so much work to do. We can’t just surface-level repent so it looks good on the outside. We need to get busy with the heart work that only He sees. God knows we are going to mess up. He knows we are going to make big mistakes. But He chose us. And He will unconditionally love us even as we go through some much-needed discipline in our lives.