It can be a scary thing to put your point of view out in the political arena these days, but I believe that’s what God has called me to do. For many years, I separated church and state in my mind almost as much as we do in our political system. My work in the political arena stemmed from my values, but it wasn’t fully connected to my walk with God.
But over the last couple of years, as both sides of the aisle have become more partisan, and those in the Republican Party and in Christian culture have split down the middle, I have begun listening more closely to God, considering the interests and gifting He has given me, and exploring how I can follow His lead to make a positive contribution in this environment of political tension.
I underlined so many things as I read through The Yes Effect: Accepting God’s Invitation to Transform the World Around You. In “Invitation 3: Fix Your Eyes,” we get to know the story of Iman and Lea Santoso, an Indonesian couple who have followed God step-by-step through a long adventure including student ministry, academia, and a journey back home to take on a highly respected role of diplomacy within their conflicted nation. As a result of God leading them to a very specific course of study (including an advanced degree from Harvard), Iman can now evaluate a tense political situation with deep understanding of what those on opposite ends of the spectrum are thinking. By saying yes to a long series of small invitations, “Iman has earned the authority to speak into the everyday moments and historical moves of his nation.”
Reading this story gives me hope that God can use me and my small yeses to do work that matters, work that can bring more wisdom and unity to my own culture and country.
Being faithful to develop my writing platform and partnering with smart, thoughtful organizations, I’m following God’s lead to keep working on the issues even if others are getting sidetracked.
Reading The Yes Effect has also helped me take more notice of those beautiful transformation stories I’ve already witnessed in my corner of the world. In the past few years, while I’ve been writing about politics in the public sphere, I’ve also been writing a secret project, one that’s very close to my heart.
As my husband has painted a picture for me of the childhood poverty and abuse he endured growing up in the southwest in a trailer park called Cloud 9, I’ve written it all down. How did he overcome the odds and avoid ending up addicted to drugs and alcohol, becoming a thief, or attempting suicide like some of his loved ones? His answer: Jesus. He accepted Jesus’ invitation to become something beyond just a statistic from Cloud 9.
My husband, who grew up in complete dysfunction is now a happy, well-adjusted family man. Jesus offers to deliver us all from our painful pasts into a peaceful present and a promising future. I’ve seen it happen in my husband. I’m believing it for our country, too.
For now, I’m taking time to be still and discern God’s love and leading. And I’m putting my words on paper, writing in the arena of politics and the arena of personal faith. I’m saying yes and doing what I believe God has built me to do.
My husband’s story could be another chapter of The Yes Effect. So could mine. And so could yours. I hope you’ll pick up a copy, join our book club, and see where your yes leads.
Ericka Andersen is a freelance writer with a background in politics and societal issues. She lives in the Indianapolis area with her husband, and children. Check out her book, Leaving Cloud 9: The True Story of a Life Resurrected from the Ashes of Poverty, Trauma, and Mental Illness.