Live Commenting for ‘A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding’

So I literally just finished rewatching the first A Christmas Prince and I had a lot more thoughts than I anticipated. Let’s hope that’s because I had a whole year to think about it.  Now it’s time for the sequel and Netflix just steamrolled me right into with hardly 20 seconds to decide if it’s really what I wanted.

Before I start, I’m going to make myself a single person mug cake so I can party in style.

A few predictions:

  • The Converses will reappear, probably at the wedding
  • Hopefully Sophia and Simon have a child together and are still awful human beings
  • There will be Christmas hijinks
  • Everything will work out

Leggo.

Note: Below are spoilers and likely errors, but editing is for people who care.

  • This is an abbreviated version of how the first started
  • Her site is ‘Amber’s Blog.’ Compelling.
  • Amber’s a celebrity now. Cool. But she’s still her. Don’t worry.
  • So she’s not a popular blogger because of her talent. It’s because she’s marrying a prince. Further evidence she is a terrible journalist.
  • New father makes a joke about feeling like a brand new man to make a joke about how it’s a new actor
  • Some jerk who will inevitably turn up at the palace stole the dad’s cab
  • Why did this guy not greet them 20 minutes ago? Joseph would be disappointed #GenoviaRules
  • Why is there a new dad actor? Did they need someone with range beyond generic statements of encouragement?
  • More comments about how the previous father looked
  • CONVERSE SIGHTING
  • Okay so this guy is a friendly dad with no understanding of how to treat royal people. I get that it’s who he is, but also he’s not a dumb guy.
  • I’m enjoying their dynamic and the fact that they didn’t instantly get married, so clearly there love is real.
  • Well she’s wearing heels with this cocktail dress so apparently she’s learning a little
  • How is this wedding not planned yet? It’s a royal wedding.
  • Of course the taxi stealer is the wedding planner. I hate him already.
  • I’m also 100% over how Amber calls her dad Pop
  • Princess Emily is a saint and I won’t write anything negative about her
  • She’s sleeping in full makeup. I want a movie that shows women who take care of their skin. We’re underrepresented.
  • We’ve mentioned Jimmy Choo as her wedding shoe and she questioned it. I’m feeling more like my Converse-at-the-wedding-theory is correct
  • How is the dress not done yet? Is it easy to plan a wedding in a week when you’re rich?
  • I love how the modernization conflict is the core of this story. No contemporary dress for you.
  • NowBeat/BeatNow was her magazine and it shut down. Who’s surprised by that? At least they acknowledge it was disreputable garbage.
  • More Christmas carols on the piano. Before I looked up I assumed it was Richard again.
  • Fake Joseph is clearly a progressive saint here to help Amber be herself
  • How do people not know why this country is bleeding money? Is someone stealing it?
  • SIMON!
  • I didn’t like Miss Avril in the first one but now I’m sure she’s the worst
  • Is the father going to fall in love with the chef?
  • I’m taking notes like Amber again.
  • “excuse my pausing, I’m in shock”
  • Richard is still wearing Old Navy sweaters
  • This Leopold man went to Monaco. Still waiting for a map to see where Aldovia is
  • It obviously wasn’t going to be Lord Leopold. Everyone look at Simon like that was a soap opera dream. What’s he up to. I have no idea how, but I’m sure he’s somehow stealing the country’s money
  • He and Sophia are divorced which is a tragedy. One prediction wrong already.
  • Simon is going to screw these people over after they decided to forgive him. SCUM OF THE EARTH.
  • New prediction: Amber will wear Queen Helena’s actual dress
  • Also this dress looks noting like the sketch?
  • okay she’s definitely going to wear Converse for her wedding
  • Even Emily is on the Converse trend
  • This performance will go on, that I am sure of. Also this Tom Quill (is that his name?) is a real cutie patootie.
  • So all of this has to be solved within 24 hours? Unless they put on the play without a real crew. This is a cheesy Christmas movie, of course it will resolve quickly.
  • Will Leopold and Helena find love? It’s been two years since the king’s death
  • I don’t believe in Simon’s sound plan. I believe he is the devil.
  • Or is Leopold the scoundrel? I’m starting to think maybe. Perhaps he set up the plans to siphon money to himself. Maybe Simon can actually save the kingdom.
  • What am I saying.
  • They’re all standing around having a toast while the country is in turmoil
  • They’re still talking about the taxi stealing. Will it ever end. Also they clearly aren’t even looking at Christmas trees. Also she insists on a cone and settles for the Charlie Brown tree only bigger.
  • THEY’RE FINALLY ALL GOING ON TOBOGGANS
  • The queen’s hat is incredible
  • This green screen is horrendous but they’re acting the crap out of it
  • I’m really still thinking Leopold is actually the bad guy. Sorry Simon. Unless I’m wrong.
  • These kids in the kitchen are giving me anxiety. Who’s going to clean this up? The chef gets it. She understands my concerns. Or is she crying because of something other than a clean kitchen?
  • I can’t believe the Internet cares this much about the Aldovian royal family. It must be time for the conflict where she’s told to stop writing.
  • Even my best friend wouldn’t constantly monitor my blog to see if pictures came down from my blog. And my best friend is the best best friend.
  • PROTOCOL is the absolute worst. I don’t know why I’m upset. Protocol is obviously going to change.
  • Chattering will not disrupt makeup. Does this guy know anything? If you’re using high quality makeup, it will last. End of story. Also what kind of makeup can’t handle talking.
  • I WAS RIGHT! Tears of nostalgia from the chef. Also she talks about a hard life and has a vague Russian accent. Makes sense.
  • Amber’s hair would definitely be styled better for a royal portrait. I think it looks fine, but considering these strict standards they’d demand something more traditional. I bet they take a new portrait later where they’re smiling and not solemn.
  • That final project was awesome.
  • RICHARD IS BACK ON THE PIANO WITH THE CAROLS. Bring it, Ludwig.
  • We’re doing archery in the courtyard again. But why are they letting Amber handle a bow? OMG she legitimately could’ve killed one of her friends.
  • I don’t think how Amber lives her life is wrong, but why are her best friends best friends with her? They always want to party and she’s about working. To each their own, but why do they want to hang out with her?
  • I’m really on team ‘Simon isn’t the bad guy’ and I want to be right.
  • I’m excited she’s back on her note taking game.
  • Meadowlark
  • Fishy
  • I hope Simon is good AND falls in love with the best friend
  • Why don’t they have the door shut for these conversations?
  • They really hyped a bachelorette party that I would enjoy but it felt like a weird choice for them
  • King Richard is not at all the lion heart like his namesake. Also 100% not his namesake but it’s all I think about
  • Can we just fire Miss Avril already
  • It’s def Leopold. Despite the fact I figured it out early, it wasn’t the most obviously telegraphed storyline, so kudos to that. Or maybe it’s just another case of my lowered standards.
  • This movie is much more dramatic than the last one. It’s definitely more rom dram than rom com
  • Okay I’m all for drama but to pull a bow and arrow on someone is a bit far. You can accidentally release that and maybe hurt someone who wasn’t the bad guy.
  • I mean I know I was hard on Simon but I think his redemption was a good story choice. He’s even the best man.
  • I know they wanted it to be their wedding, but this feels too low-key. But Emily’s boyfriend is there so I’m happy.
  • Where did they get that dress overnight?
  • YEP THERE’S THE BEDAZZLED SHOES. Why does she have to show everyone?
  • I don’t care about this wedding at all
  • Okay so we’re setting up so many couples right now. Just like everyone’s getting paired. Can I come to this wedding to find my soulmate?
  • Really though how long can a conga go
  • SETTING UP ANOTHER SEQUEL ‘THERE’S ALWAYS NEXT YEAR’ YES PLEASE!

Okay so there was more political intrigue in this one and not enough Christmas for my standards. But overall a real achievement.

Here are my movie three predictions:

  • It will be about the queen marrying Fake Joseph
  • Amber will be pregnant or coming to terms with being pregnant
  • Hopefully Simon is the star
  • Everyone just lives in Aldovia now to make it easy

Live Thoughts About ‘A Christmas Prince’

Not to brag, but I was an early adopter to A Christmas Prince. Before the insane amount of attention, I was just a girl, sitting in front of a screen, trying to decide how to spend my Friday evening. A new Netflix movie had released and I’m generally a fan of the Netflix content I’d watched, so I thought why not.

Man. Woof.

Here we are a year later, celebrating the long awaited sequel. Despite having watched the movie multiple times last Christmas season, I strangely hadn’t been back in the time since. Before diving into The Royal Wedding, I wanted to recapture the magic of those two days where our leads fell in love.

Let’s see how this goes.

To set the scene, it’s 6:30 on a Friday night and I’m naturally already in my pajamas (a nightgown saying ‘Let’s Sleep In.’ I only wear it when I can actually sleep in the next day). My dinner is beside me – a delicious plate of pizza bagel bites and macaroni and cheese. This will surprise you, but I’m actually an adult in my late 20s.

Please forgive the typos I inevitably make because I’m not editing this at all.

  • It’s starting but I realize I don’t actually remember how this movie starts
  • Ah yes, city at Christmas porn
  • “Ugly Christmas Sweaters of the Stars”
  • I forgot she’s a “real” journalist who’s stuck as a junior editor and getting rejected left and right. She’s probably not a good writer
  • No one cares about royalty from small countries. Also why would a celebrity magazine send her editor to cover this political matter just because of his ‘royal hotness’
  • That’s right. Every girl is recovering from a serious breakup that happened a long time ago but they still aren’t ready
  • The dad thinks it will be a big break but apparently he doesn’t know that no one cares about royal drama from non-existent countries
  • I do like that he’s not laying on the guilt trip because his wife is dead and he’s going to be alone for Christmas
  • I want someone to show me on a map where this country is. It has to be England adjacent because they all have English accents
  • Yeah the prince was selfish taking her cab but he was actually really polite about it so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Journalists grumpy because they’re covering a press conference that was supposed to feature a notorious flake of a prince. Are press actually this “ahhhh” and “ohhh”?
  • My favorite part about all these Christmas movies is when people are outside bundled up but they clearly aren’t cold. Do you know what happens when you’re outside in the frigid air? Your eyes water, your nose runs, and the wind is insufferable. It aint cute.
  • Wouldn’t you also ask her name instead of just saying it at her? Or saying she must be a tutor? I don’t know why I’m dissecting this dumb plot point
  • Mad that press is in town and call them parasites but you also called a press conference which means you invited them?
  • Prince Richard looks straight up homeless and not in a hot hipster way
  • So immediately we can tell Richard is not in fact a douche because he’s a great big brother
  • “Who are you and what are you doing in my palace?” Savage
  • I will say I like Richard more than the piece of cardboard who was in The Princess Switch which is surprising
  • Editor supporting this crime in a foreign country. Solid journalism.
  • “There’s nothing loose about this goose”
  • She freaks out at the mouse even though she said she liked mice to prove she’s *cool* but is clearly surprised and terrified to see it there
  • I keep saying she. I don’t know this character’s real name. Fake name Martha.
  • Why does Princess Emily know she’s from Minnesota?
  • Why does she assume she’s wondering what’s wrong with her? As an adult Fake Martha probably has her own assumptions and isn’t concerned about her wheelchair
  • Okay so Richard is doing archery in a garden three feet from a target. You can say you’re adjusting your sights but I know. Now you’re showing off your skills like you’re some master archer
  • I’ve already taken so many notes. This is exhausting.
  • When Fake Martha says “Awesome High Five” she sounds like a robot trying to express excitement
  • Her friends are the opposite of interesting and helpful
  • I just remembered she always wears Converse. You’re not an emo teenager from 2003, Fake Martha. Be an adult and wear real shoes. It’s annoying but also I’ll be disappointed if she doesn’t wear them to her wedding?
  • Also she’s the most obvious photo taker of all time. ALL TIME.
  • Okay so the more I see Prince Richard the more I genuinely enjoy him. In my defense, I’ve watched a lot of Hallmark Christmas movies recently so my bar is low.
  • Also this douche Simon is awful and overcompensating. Probably because his name is Lord Ducksbury
  • She is not blushing
  • “Where there’s a tiara, there’s dirt. Trust me.” Okay.
  • Let me obvious film Prince Richard playing the piano and no one will think I’m either an undercover creep OR I’m obsessed with the prince and I’m going to try to kill him
  • Lady Sophia is clearly the worst. Why is the queen trying to make fetch happen.
  • If he would’ve dropped her heart ornament I would’ve moved this movie to the top of my favorites list
  • Also Fake Martha’s journalism is about as good and thorough as this list I’m writing
  • Amber. Her name is Amber. Thank you Princess Emily
  • Where did these rumors about Prince Richard come from? Why do they exist if he is clearly boring?
  • Poor Richard gets interrupted every time he’s trying to get his Christmas piano playing on. Man just wants to be festive
  • I can tell this is a fake country because there’s no security around all these royals. Even Genovia gets security.
  • Why do these small countries always have quaint little orphanages? Why do orphans sell so well?
  • These adults are romantically romping about while poor Emily is just lying in the snow
  • Why are Sophia and Simon on a carriage ride? She clearly doesn’t like him or the cold. I mean I know it’s for the plot but it’s real dumb.
  • Amber’s notes again. Holy cow. It’s not surprising she gets so many rejection letters for freelancing
  • This horse chase sequence is entirely too long
  • The whole wolf scene. I forgot about it.
  • Richard’s sweaters also look hella cheap. Hopefully the costume budget increases in the sequel. Or maybe Old Navy sponsors Aldovia.
  • Do kisses get interrupted in real life like they do in movies? I get the horse neighs and maybe the moment passes, but don’t you still want to kiss? Maybe I’ve been single for too long but after the prince came back after checking on the horses, I’d be like I think we need to re-enter that moment.
  • If you found a scoop as big as this adoption I would not talk to my dumb friends over Skype. Also “this will make your career” because you lied your way into the palace and snooped and stole information. You will break a story but also not be a respected journalist.
  • Of course Amber sees the kiss but not the breakaway. OF COURSE.
  • Also, Sophia calls Amber a peasant. Are real royals that out of touch? Maybe it’s all the inbreeding. I assume in a place like Aldovia that tradition still runs rampant.
  • I HATE WHEN PEOPLE SAY LISTEN TO YOUR HEART IT ALWAYS TELLS YOU THE TRUTH. Hearts are notoriously stupid. Do not listen to them. Trust your gut. That strange feeling is always correct.
  • I guess you wouldn’t anticipate people coming into your room, but wouldn’t you lock your ID and the adoption papers in a safe somewhere? Seems much smarter to leave everything incriminating on the bed.
  • ALSO Richard falls in love with the very supportive Martha who’s really Amber trying to get details for her story. That’s betrayal.
  • That bracelet looks like something my mom brought me back from the Bahamas when I was 14. Granted, it’s from a little girl, but it falls into the category of things she’ll never wear.
  • I would give up all my wonderful Christmas Eve traditions to go to a Christmas Eve ball. Even Christmas jammies.
  • She looks good, but like everyone turn and stare good? It’s not like she was a hideous troll before. She’s always been very beautiful. She’s just in a dress with a lot of eyeshadow.
  • I like that a piece of drama isn’t Richard and Martha/Amber’s relationship. Clearly Queen Helena thinks it’s chill
  • They spent a lot of that dance swaying back and forth like it was a preteen dance at a firehall
  • I really need to pee
  • I want to be on the creative team who makes up these country names.
  • Simon and Sophia are just watching waiting to spill the secret and it’s super childish. Just shows they are garbage humans.
  • “This Fraudulent Christmas Prince” ROLE CREDITS
  • I feel really bad for Richard. His entire life just fell apart. He’s adopted. The woman he loves has been lying. Everything he believed was true is a lie.
  • WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE APPLAUDING SIMON AND SOPHIA AS NEW ROYALTY?! You just watched them publicly ruin your prince’s life and now you’re like aww this is nice. LIKE WHAT
  • They show so many shots of this statue in front the palace. It’s at least three or four. Always close ups. No wide shots.
  • I honestly don’t hate this scene between Richard and his mom where she explains everything. It seems like he’ll probably need counseling but it wrapped up nicely.
  • One thing I know for sure is Aldovia isn’t an international hub. Those United flights are a sham. You’re definitely flying a terrifying small plane to a major city in a real country.
  • We’re going to fight this by showing up and demanding it’s delayed even though we don’t have any law on our side and then just give up when we’re told we can’t change things.
  • At least these people in the parliament or whatever understand the travesty of this situation
  • How did the king amend a law without anyone else, including the Prime Minister, knowing?? I’m not a monarchy expert, but I feel like you would need at least a discussion about that.
  • Also he’s not blood but he’s a great guy so obvs he deserves to be king – Richard’s dad
  • I really really need to pee but I won’t pause now
  • Further proof Amber is actually a terrible journalist is she works for a horrible magazine and that was probably the only place she could get a job
  • She’s quitting to blog because that’s a completely lucrative way to make money
  • 20,000 likes and she doesn’t have ads. No one cares.
  • Oh wait she works at the restaurant. She has a job. My b.
  • Seven minutes from the end and I had to go to the bathroom. I was sure I was going to pee my pants. Made it, though.
  • I’m not a wine expert but that wine on the table looks like Kool aid
  • Okay so this prince isn’t on the sidewalk. He’s literally standing in the middle of a street
  • “Emily showed me your blog online” the online is redundant doofus
  • They’re still in the middle of the street
  • Okay like do you have to engaged? Can’t you just date?
  • You don’t have a career. You have a blog.
  • “We can come back whenever you want” UH I think you’ll be busy ruling your country
  • Granted, I would definitely say yes to him. He could walk into my apartment right now and if his first words to me were “marry me,” I’d say yes.
  • This ending just reminds that they watch this movie The Princess Switch and everyone is crying because it’s so beautiful. False. There are some makeup scenes that I live for because you can just tell both parties are incredible kissers. This is so-so to the max.
  • Now Netflix is just automatically rolling into The Royal Wedding. It didn’t even give me a choice.

I know I’m too much DEAL WITH IT

I’ve never found a historical figure more like myself than Alexander Hamilton. What I lack in his obsessive stamina I match in my overt too much-ness. See, Hamilton came to America with a dream and he worked hard to achieve it. Along the way, he overwhelmed people with words and honesty and was constantly fighting uphill battles to make his new nation great. His words, especially when written, were his tools.

He made mistakes and sometimes his honesty got him into trouble. That didn’t stop him from continually working and publishing. Ask anyone around him and they’d probably tell you he was a little too much. Except etiquette was the obsession back then so there would some gentlemanly way to express it, like ‘Hamilton always has ideas and suggestions for every situation, even when not directly involved.’

Like Hamilton, I’m too much.

I have strong opinions about everything. Today I started a tirade against autographs and why they’re pointless. I can feel when one starts rising within me. An unknowing victim cordially chats with me about any random subject and suddenly I’m triggered. My demeanor changes and my voice becomes strangely forceful and somehow I get a little louder. It’s never against them or what they think because fortunately my manners work occasionally. I only care about nonsense, like the travesty of wearing jeans to the theater and why ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ is a really demeaning song.

At least in a professional setting, they’re supported by my experience and knowledge. Still it happens. We’re discussing something related to branding or marketing and then the strong opinion starts building. Usually it’s useful and drives my work ethic, but sometimes it just means I talk a lot during a meeting.

I’ve often claimed to be a very dichotomous person. I am either in full makeup or I look like I just rolled out of bed. I will work hard nonstop or I will spend hours on my couch rewatching The Office. I either don’t care at all or I care so much everyone else begins to hate me.

I’m really familiar with that last one.

One of the hallmarks of my personality is my intensity. I have zero bedside manner and tend to sound like a jerk when in reality I just don’t know how to tone myself down. I want to help where I can and often I go into overdrive and people no longer want to work with me. In college, I started wearing bows every day to appear less harsh, but it probably just made me look crazier.

People probably wish I would remain lethargic so the passionate beast wouldn’t be unleashed to annoy everyone. I just don’t know how to care less.

I want things to be the best that they can be, and sure you can argue that it’s just my perception of ‘best,’ but whatever. When I dedicate myself to a project, I want everyone to feel as strongly as I do. This is why working at Girl Scouts is such a good fit for me – everyone care a lot, just like me.

I’ve never understood why people don’t care or try. They don’t implement new rules or pay attention when something is being changed. They just keep going with how they’ve always done things because to them, it doesn’t matter. I DON’T GET IT. Whatever.

After more than 28 years of being this way, because yes I’m sure even as a baby I was like this, I’ve learned a few tricks. Primarily it’s keep the raging beast within. Get to know people and let them think you’re quiet and then SHABAM douse them in insanity when you can trust them.

Jk. Kind of.

It’s not that I pretend to be someone I’m not, it’s just I hold a lot of opinions to myself and just kind of nod along. When I used to meet people, they either liked me or they didn’t. Now I’ve mastered to art of tricking them into thinking I’m likable. Once a real relationship is established, I’m fully Chelsea, lock and loaded with opinions I will most definitely express. So if you know me IRL and I’m a spaz around you, take it as a compliment.

Recently, though, I’ve moved back toward my roots of ‘this is me’ (sung to the tune of The Greatest Showman classic). I don’t want my behavior to act as an apology for who I am so I don’t accidentally annoy someone. Yes I know I can be more tactful and quiet, but in general I like who I am. I like that I care so deeply about everything. I like that I’m intense. I understand that not everyone will jive with by vibe and that’s a-okay. God made me to be this passionate so why would I dare deny Him the joy of seeing me express it?

Right now it’s got me in a tough situation. I’m in a new place with new people and we hardly know each other, but I’m in full-Hamilton mode. Like dropping a pamphlet denouncing John Adams deep. I feel like I’m in this place for a reason, with the right experience and skills to make a difference. The more I push, the more I feel I’m the only one. Except now instead of worrying that they won’t like me, I’m wondering if this is worth my time.

I don’t say that to be uppity like my time is so precious (see previous comment about rewatching The Office). Moving against the popular current alone is exhausting and frustrating and frankly, it makes everyone hate me. Contrary to what my personality may say, I don’t want to be disliked. Sometimes it’s uncontrollable, but sometimes it’s the result of me trying to make waves nobody asked for.

The remedy for this situation is a polite confrontation where everything is laid on a table and a decision is made. But conflict isn’t my forte. I’m the girl who will ignore our texts if we’re fighting because I don’t want to deal with it. Being an adult is hard.

Tonight an email became the straw that broke the horse’s back. Is that the right phrase? Either way, something finally snapped within me and I realized I can’t avoid this conversation any longer. I won’t make myself less or belittle my intensity, but I will respect the outcome.

It just means I might have time to obsess and lose my mind over something else. Most likely The Office.

Insecurity

I didn’t miss last week’s email. I actually had three pieces lined up, including a riveting review of Netflix’s most recent foray into cheesy Christmas movies. Everything was ready to send, I just needed to add in the link for the devotional when it published Sunday.

Before I could finish it and hit send, insecurity snuck in.

Writing about myself isn’t anything new, but my typical style was be so compelled to spew my feelings I typed everything out and shared without a second thought. Because I would write and share so infrequently, I never worried about people getting sick of me. But now I’ve been doing this for two months and (if you’ve subscribed to my emails) you’ve received nine emails full of me and my never-ending emotions.

I began to wonder if it was sustainable, if I was sustainable. It’s not like I don’t have more to say; I have lists of essays to write and I’m constantly processing emotions that need to be discussed. What happens when I have more to say and no one wants to listen anymore? How often can I talk about my anxiety, my dad, and my faith before you tire of my opinion?

Before I continue, I’m not writing this so my three faithful readers send me encouragement to keep up the good fight. I know I have people who believe in me and that’s powerful.

Writing like I do also makes me feel like a hypocrite. One week I write about weight and finding peace in the struggle and the next week I’m crying on my living room floor because I can’t lose weight. I detail my financial plans and realizations only to fall back into credit card trouble. I tell people they’re loved only to feel worthless the next day.

I know that this makes me human, but it’s hard to bare and share your soul when you want to keep readers. If I truly was honest each week, you’d be in the exhaustive struggle I face between my two sides: the one who wakes up every day determined to make this the best day of her life and the one who doesn’t want to get off the couch. It’s a rollercoaster I want people to avoid because selfishly I know eventually people would get tired of what I had to say.

When I try to vary my writing, it feels forced and I second guess myself. This is because I’m not really a trained writer and it shows. I don’t have a plan, so I rely on my emotions to feed me with quality content. Frequently they let me down.

In the past, writing in the heat of the moment and throwing it on Facebook made it easy. I wasn’t sending it to anyone in particular so any feedback was good. Now, I’m reaching a group of people who want to hear from me (or at least support me because they’re kind). I don’t want to write just to send an email every week, but I also don’t want to hide behind that excuse.

For the past week, I’ve gone over what I wanted to say in this post in my head repeatedly and clearly I didn’t come up with a cohesive way to hash everything out. What I know is I want to write and I want my writing to reach people. Not reaching as in a large number, but creating a meaningful experience.

Most importantly, I believe in my own writing. God gave me a gift and for a long time I’ve felt a need to share. I don’t have all the answers, but I know there’s a reason I do this and I want to keep pursuing this path. But right now I need to take a break.

One of my goals for December is to take away the things the add stress so I can enjoy the Christmas season. My fast for the month is no lists or diets, so it’s already going to be a doozy. Instead of worrying about having to send an email and what to write, I’m going to chill and pray about where this is going. I might actually make a plan. I guess we’ll see what happens in 2019.

Merry Christmas, everyone, and Happy New Year!

 

 

Laziness related to finances

Proverbs is a great book of the Bible to pull verses out of because it covers so much relatable content. It’s likely you know some of the classics like Proverbs 3:5 (trust in the Lord with all your heart); Proverbs 4:23 (guard your heart above all else); Proverbs 27:17 (iron sharpens iron); Proverbs 16:3 (commit your plans to the Lord); Proverbs 16:9 (man plans, God directs our steps); Proverbs 16:18 (pride goeth before the fall); Proverbs 13:24 (spare the rod); and basically the entirety of Proverbs 31 if you’re a woman.

There are a lot of popular examples because Proverbs is 31 chapters of wisdom found in non-rhyming couplets. For me, reading through Proverbs is a painful thing because too often I realize I am a fool, and if you’re familiar with Proverbs, that’s basically the most detestable thing imaginable. Especially because I’m kind of a big mouth (“those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.” 13:3).

Another trap I frequently fall into: laziness.

“Hard working farmers have more than enough food; daydreamers are nothing more than stupid fools.” Proverbs 12:11

“Hard work pays off; mere talk puts no bread on the table.” Proverbs 14:23

Woof. I like to imagine I have two speeds: sloth and overdrive. It’s rare I find a compromise in-between. I’m either working so hard I’m a flurry of nerves and action or I’m comatose on my couch watching Netflix.

While I often think about laziness in terms of my productivity, recently I’ve been looking at it as a measure of dedication. Laziness isn’t simply something that stops us from completing a project on time or going to the gym; it can also stop us from reaching the less tangible goals.

For about the last decade, I’ve been trying to get my finances in order. In that time, I racked up more than $20,000 in credit card debt because that’s clearly the solution to become more financially stable. I’d set dates where I would no longer use my credit cards and resolve to do better this time around. But I couldn’t do it.

Looking back, it’s clearly an example of laziness.

I knew what I had to do to get better – stop indulging myself. Stop thinking I can live like everyone else. Stop thinking I need something now. Accept my limitations and live within my means. It’s so obvious and so hard.

I would have moments of clarity and pay off cards, only to see the charges begin to pile up a month later. When I first started using credit cards, I bragged about how amazing it was to get whatever I want and only have to pay $25/month. I clearly didn’t understand interest.

The issue was I was sure of future fortunes after I graduated college that it seemed like I was just one step away from a good income to help me balance out. Even as I struggled post-graduation, I believed my windfall would come. I was still waiting after six years.

Last year broke me. I reached a point where I recognized I couldn’t do this on my own and I had to change if I wanted to get better, while that reached into a lot of different areas, my finances were a big piece.

When 2018 began, I wasn’t excited about my resolutions, but resigned to what needed to be done. No longer was I trying to do better on my own, I had Jesus on my side to guide me toward proper decision making skills.

“Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.” Proverbs 13:4

I went from being so lazy about my finances to so diligent. This year, I haven’t used a credit card to purchase something I couldn’t actually afford. I set boundaries and stuck to them and the state of my finances is a testament to this dedication.

Here’s the thing: you can’t get caught up on the word prosper and assume it means your windfall. I’ve made better financial decisions this year, but I’m still sweating between paychecks. But I find so much joy in this struggle. I’m prospering because I’m not making things worse for the first time in nearly 10 years.

None of this is to say I’m perfect. When I moved, I bought a $60 comforter I didn’t need and every time I look at it, I wish I had that $60. Funny enough, I don’t remember anything I told myself no about this year. Nothing lingers as a regret in the back of my mind because I didn’t get it.

Money is something a lot of us struggle with in our own way. The Bible specifically mentions how we can’t serve God and money (Luke 16:3-5) because our Heavenly Father understands the hardships we face. It’s what drives the world and having too much or too little affects so many areas of our lives.

I’m not an expert, but these are the steps that helped me move from lazy spender to dedicated saver:

1. Start with God

For so long I depended only on my strength to try and be better with my money. Even when I’d cry out to God, exhausted with my own efforts and at the end of my rope, nothing changed. In those moments, I wasn’t really ready to make the change.

It wasn’t until I fully surrendered everything and said ‘God, I need you’ that it became real in my life. It takes that release and resignation to let God’s will in and watch yours slink to the background.

If you aren’t willing to make God the focus, you will keep struggling with money.

2. TITHE

There have been so many moments in the past few years where my budgeting didn’t make sense. I was sure I knew how much money I had and then suddenly I was wrong and I had enough. I owe these miracles to tithing.

Even though I’ve been broke for years, I refused to stop giving back a portion to God because I learned the importance of it from my mother. Her testimony of abundance and blessings was enough for me to desire this in my own life.

One time I met with a banker and he saw my budget and how much I tithed and recommended I take care of myself first. This is an understandable response from someone who doesn’t believe or know the miracles God can do.

If you don’t tithe, or tithe regular amounts, I understand where you’re coming from. Sometimes I think about how much more I might have if I held onto the money. Then I realize something important: if I believe I need my money more than God can bless it, I’m immediately limiting God’s power to my own understanding.

So just tithe and see what God will do.

3. Set goals

Your goals can be actual spending limits or just a general spending plan. I set a few related to how much money I wanted in my bank account at the end of each pay period and about how I wanted to spend my money. Specifically, I decided this year I wouldn’t buy something if I couldn’t justify it as a need. I gave myself some grace periods where I allowed myself to spend a little more recklessly, but on the whole I stuck to this goal.

Having guidelines make it easier to monitor your progress and actually see the difference, which comes to step four.

4. Track everything

I have a Google Sheet that documents all of my finances – my budget, income, goals, and spending. Here I keep track of everything year over year to celebrate how I’m getting better. It also helps me adjust my goals or add new ones because I can see what’s working and what isn’t.

My favorite thing is tracking my spending in categories: Sephora, Shopping, Amazon, Eating Out, Fast Food, Gas, Groceries, etc. I picked my biggest areas of expense to compare from last year.

You might not be obsessed with seeing everything like me, but I encourage you to find some way to actually see how and where you’re spending your money. Last year, when I set up my spreadsheet, the full extent of my spending became clear and I couldn’t avoid it any longer.

If nothing else, surrender to God and begin tithing regularly and you will see your situation turn around. I believe that wholeheartedly because I’ve experienced the miracle first hand. God will do amazing things with your obedience that you won’t understand, but you will enjoy. Let Him bless you and your finances.

 

 

The Princess Switch Review, or thank you Netflix for another gem

Yesterday I had to day off, so naturally I sat on my couch to watch a little Netflix. To my great joy, I saw a new Netflix original Christmas movie had been released. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed an online ad for The Princess Switch featuring TWO Vanessa Hudgenses and I was instantly excited.

This movie did not disappoint.

Basically, The Princess Switch is the plot of every movie you can imagine where two characters share an uncanny resemblance to each other and decide to switch roles. In this case, they aren’t separated at birth twins, but connected probably through a distant cousin. Vanessa Hudgens 1 is Duchess Margaret of a made up country, a duty bound princess-to-be who’s marrying Prince Edward of another made up country. Margaret isn’t made for the spotlight (which we learn through clunky exposition) and wants to know what it’s like to be a regular girl. She bumps into Vanessa Hudgens 2, Stacey, who’s visiting the made up country for a baking competition. Shenanigans ensue.

In typical fashion, I’m just going to bullet point the rest of my thoughts and they definitely contain spoilers:

  • Within the first 20 minutes, John Lennon’s quote ‘Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans’ is mentioned THRICE. Clearly, our characters are going to realize some amazing truths while their plans are disrupted.
  • Aside from that, the real highlight of the movie is at one point toward the end, Margaret-as-Stacey is at home with Kevin, Stacey’s baking assistant and father to Olivia, a little girl who said at her dance class, they danced The Nutcracker as if that’s a casual dance you can do in 45 minutes. Anyway. They go to watch a Christmas movie and Kevin turns on Netflix. The self-referential nature doesn’t stop there. HE CHOOSES TO WATCH A CHRISTMAS PRINCE BECAUSE IT’S STACEY’S FAVORITE MOVIE! LEGITIMATELY THIS HAPPENS! By the end, Maragaret is crying and Kevin is tearing up because who doesn’t love a happy ending. The most unbelievable thing is probably that it’s Stacey’s favorite movie – she’s been set up as a non-sentimental person who doesn’t seem like she has a lot of time for nonsense. And as much as a I love A Christmas Prince, it’s complete nonsense. Can’t wait for the sequel.
  • Everyone falls in love with each other in two days. Kevin and Stacey have been friends since high school, but there’s never been a spark. He’s too go-with-the-flow and she’s too, what he calls, ‘intense.’ As an intense person, this offends me. Once Margaret, somehow a free spirit despite her upbringing, pretends to be Stacey, the sparks begin flying like crazy. Stacey and Prince Edward fall in love because they both love making and keeping plans.
  • Both Stacey and Margaret master perfect accents in the matter of an hour maybe? Margaret is from a fake country that fortunately has a British accent, which Stacey immediately masters. I know we’ve all tried to speak with an accent, and maybe we’re okay for a few words, but it’s a really complex thing. You have to learn the different sounds for all the words. Stacey is Chicago based which in real life means she’s got some hard vowels in her pronunciation, but Margaret immediately drops her royal tone of speaking and sounds just like her.
  • Stacey wears heals while baking all the time and during the five-hour baking competition. More power to you, but also no.
  • At one point when the prince is telling Stacey he wants to be with her, she’s looking at him and tearing up and I really wanted her to start singing any of Gabriella’s sad love songs to Troy, preferably Gotta Go My Own Way.
  • When Kevin finds out he didn’t kiss Stacey but actually Margaret, he’s not immediately sure about everything which makes perfect sense. Unlike Edward and Margaret who were basically strangers, Kevin and Stacey have been BFs forever. He thought he was falling in love with his best friend, someone he knows everything about, but it was actually a stranger. That changes things.
  • There’s a scene where Stacey-as-Margaret and Edward are riding horses and the green screen is so terrible I’m pretty sure I can see the guy dropping fake snow on them from the rafters.
  • Also at one point they go to this really nice toy store and there happens to be a Twister game on the floor so of course they play. Stacey’s in a short skirt and a duchess but that’s no big deal.
  • What I legitimately did like is the conflict resolution. The king and queen find out about the doppelgängers and are wondering what to do when a kindly old magic man who’s helping moving the plot along in every scene convinces them it’s fine. They’ve seen Stacey and their son together and they want him to be happy and in love and don’t care if he’s marrying a duchess or a peasant baker. They convince Margaret (now switched back into her real life) to go with Edward to the baking competition. Before they leave, she explains everything to him. So he’s not surprised at the appearance of both of them (sorry Kevin) and knows he’s in love with her. I really appreciate the more rational, non-dramatic ending of things.

This movie is cheesy and ridiculous but I say two thumbs up watch it now.

Maybe you can’t do it

I can’t do this.

Out of every disparaging remark my brain makes about me, it most frequently likes to tell me what I can’t do. Every new experience, project, and challenge is immediately met with fear because deep down, after more than a decade of reinforcement, I believe that I’m not capable.

It’s not always a direct thought of ‘I can’t do this,’ but it’s usually the theme. When asked to create something completely new at work, I’m sure I don’t have the skills or understanding to actually complete the project. The thought of meeting someone can put me into internal hysterics because I have no idea what to do in a relationship.

The self-doubt is so deep that it doesn’t matter how many compliments my work or social skills receive. It adds to the insecurity because it feels like I’m fooling everyone. I’d like them to meet anyone else to see what talented actually looks like. I’m an imposter. I can’t do this.

Recognizing this is half the battle and fortunately, after some very wonderful and challenging counseling, I have coping mechanisms to push through the doubt. Even when I’m telling myself I can’t do this, I do it and prove to myself I can.

Although I’ll argue there’s some truth to ‘I can’t do it.’

Anytime I rise to a challenge and surprise myself, I know it’s not because I had it in me all along. Honestly, I don’t think I have much in me at all. On my own, I’m terrified of life. Of succeeding. Of failing. Of letting people down. Of proving people right. It’s all too much. Which is why what I have makes all the difference.

It’s not a faith in my own talent and abilities, but the One who gave them to me.

God doesn’t choose the equipped, but equips the chosen

I heard this quote at a Dare2Share conference as a young teenager and I think about it all the time. It’s easy to think about it on a large scale, like Noah building an ark or Moses parting the seas, but chosen looks different in all of our lives.

God chooses people to be full-time missionaries and evangelists and helps them in their work, but He’s also chosen our careers, too. Whether you’re a writer, marketer, factory worker, nurse, salesperson, actor, or anything else you can imagine, it’s likely you have the skills and understanding to do your job. It doesn’t matter if you knew your entire life you wanted to be a teacher or fell into a management position out of necessity, you aren’t there by accident.

When Jesus called His first disciples, they were four normal guys fishing. They weren’t temple scholars or religious folk. They knew the laws but they weren’t especially learned.  You can look around you and think about all the people that are more talented and qualified, but God still chose you. On purpose, I might add.

Unlike a lot of my friends, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. I was good at school and liked almost all my classes (except English, go figure) so there wasn’t an obvious career track for me. One teacher told me I should be a talk show host, which is clearly off the mark. I’m a talker, but I could never maintain a conversation that stayed on time and topic.

It wasn’t until I toured a school my mom wanted me to visit and found a flyer about a major I’d never heard of that sounded exactly like what I wanted to do with my life. Before I fully understood it, God was revealing part of His plan and showing me a glimpse of what I could do.

Despite never having anything to do with public relations, I was instantly very good at it. I don’t say that to brag on my own abilities, but how my Creator designed me to be good at something I wouldn’t know about until it was absolutely necessary.

In Acts chapter 2, we see the disciples receive the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. It’s been almost two months since Jesus was crucified and ascended and the disciples were following Jesus’ command and waiting for His spirit. Suddenly, what sounded like a mighty wind surrounded them and then flames settled on each of them and they were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4).

They began speaking the languages of all the people around them and people were amazed, although the loudest voices wrote them off as drunk. Then Peter, fisherman Peter, stands up and begins to preach (Acts 2:14-40).

He doesn’t just talk about his experiences with Jesus and vouch for Him being the actual Messiah. He pulls out Old Testament scripture and ties in kings of old and uses the theology of the Jewish people to sway the crowd. We see 26 verses of his speech, and then it just says He kept speaking for a long time.

You know what happened? ABOUT 3,000 PEOPLE WERE ADDED TO THE CHURCH THAT DAY ALONE! (Acts 2:41).

I’ve grown up in the church and while I’d never claim to be a Bible expert, I know it decent enough to carry on a conversation. Could I pull passages and on the spot preach a compelling case for Christ that would convert 3,000 people? Not on my own, and with the Holy Spirit, Peter was able to do something He’d never done and bring about amazing change.

This is just one of many examples I could use to illustrate how God doesn’t place you somewhere if He isn’t going to help you. I’m not saying you’ll instantly become a speaker to teach the masses, but anything is possible.

What I do know to be true is I’ve never found myself in a situation where I couldn’t rely on God to help me through. Even when I’ve failed, I’ve seen His hand and learned something valuable to carry to my next experience.

Next time you’re unsure of your abilities, remember that God has your back. He’s created you special with a unique purpose and for His glory, He will fulfill it. There isn’t a cookie cutter mold He uses for different fields, either. It’s not like I’m the exact same as every other marketing professional. He designed me special and every circumstance I encounter is built around the understanding of who I am and what I can accomplish with God.

Confidence in God’s abilities is way better than confidence in your own, because you know He’ll never let you down. Whereas I’m sure when you’ve tried to accomplish something on your own, it probably didn’t go super well. Trusting in God to equip you for every situation is believing in His basic promises to us.

That’s really the key, I think. Every time I’m walking to a meeting with new people or sitting down to work on a project, the script of how I can’t do it begins to roll. Now, through the anxiety, I admit that yeah, maybe I can’t, but I know my God can, so I got this.

“I’m trained in the secret of overcoming things, whether in fullness or in hunger. And I find that strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty.” Philippians 4:13 TPT

(you knew that verse was coming)

 

A conversation about weight

One of the hallmarks of my personality is how honest I am. Asking how I’m doing is a dangerous question because it’s unlikely you’ll get a ‘fine’ or ‘good.’ I’m prone to blurt out deep emotional issues related to my father or anxiety at any point. When people begin a conversation with me with “I don’t mean to pry, but,” I’m instantly overjoyed because I might have the opportunity to spew some of my honesty. There are few topics I won’t freely discuss with little to no prompting.

Except my weight.

It’s something I purposely avoid discussing in length on my blog. Yes, in real life, I talk to my friends and family about my struggles, but I’ve never felt the desire to bring that conversation to this platform. Mainly because I understand how much of an insecurity it is for many people and I don’t want to do a poor me post about being chubby.

I understand that there’s nothing inherently wrong about my current size. My body works well and I don’t have a lot of complaints. Despite not taking great care of it, my body has yet to seriously disappoint me. We’ve had our ups and downs, but it’s always been okay. And then recently by body started to betray me.

Earlier this year, I started taking Lexapro for my anxiety. One of the potential side effects was weight gain, but I wasn’t overly concerned at first. In July, I left my very active position at Sephora to move to a full-time desk job, creating the perfect storm to mess with my body.

It seemed like maybe I was gaining a little more weight, but I wasn’t surprised considering being less active and the medicine. I assumed I would stay within my normal fluctuations. Then, after I decided to stop taking my medicine, I went to the doctor and realized something startling: I’d gained more than 10 pounds in a month and was at my highest weight.

Ten pounds doesn’t seem like a lot when you space it out over a year, but when it’s more than two pounds a week, something snaps. I could no longer deny what I called a minor weight gain was escalating into something more damaging.

Since I was a teenager and these things seemed to matter, I’ve gone back and forth between overly obsessed with getting thin and striving to accept my body as it was. Remember, at no point was my weight hurting me in any way; I just wasn’t skinny by society’s standards.

The last 10 years have been the worst, especially since starting college. It was then I became more aware of my weight and started counting calories. In my final semester, I was eating 1200 calories a day and exercising for an hour every day on top of that. I was at my lowest weight in conscious memory, yet I don’t remember feeling good about my body. It was an obsession I couldn’t maintain and thankfully I graduated before it got worst.

Logically I can tell myself that I’m a fairly normal size. I understand there really isn’t anything wrong with what I look like, except it isn’t how everyone else looks on TV and the movies. When I picture good things happening in my life, like meeting someone or getting married, I’m always thin. This pudgy body feels like Baby Fat Chelsea and once I shed it, I’ll be a real adult.

I wish I could say that’s an exaggeration, but it’s the hard truth of my mental process. Being mildly overweight feels like a waiting period until my real life can begin.

Even when I’m not counting my food or workouts because I want to be at peace with myself, the mental images don’t change. So eventually I decide to start caring again for a few months and the cycle goes on and on.

When I look in the mirror now, I see a body I don’t recognize. My weight gain is noticeable enough that none of my clothes really fit like they used to and everything is a little bit more uncomfortable. I hate getting dressed because it’s a constant reminder of what’s going on with my body.

Saying that, I don’t think I’m so much bigger that everyone in the world will whisper about the weight I put on and thank God I’m not on social media where almost without thinking, we comment on someone’s weight gain.

Side note, but let’s stop doing that. I’m just as guilty. My first instinct is to notice that someone has gained weight and frequently I want to talk about it with someone. Do I want people doing that about me? Absolutely not, which means I owe them the same consideration. Anyway.

This weight gain scares me because it feels like the beginning of a bad road. It’s just a fact that staying thin and losing weight is harder as you get older, and before 30 I’ve started my decline. Before a few pounds felt like no big deal, but now it’s the realization that if I don’t try harder, I’ll keep gaining.

It’s not like I have illusions of grandeur in the form of abs. I’ve heard how you have to eat to get those and no thank you. I just want to get into positive rhythms so for the moment I get back down into a normal weight for myself and then stay healthy. I need to think about my groceries more and make sure I have time to go to the gym at least a few days a week. I live close enough to work that I can bike or walk and I want to take advantage of that when possible.

What I refuse to do is a fad diet that guarantees fast results. I have friends who are keto or whatever and they look spectacular, but I don’t want to spend the rest of my days reading ingredients to make sure I’m staying on my plan. Counting calories and trying to balance my daily percentage of protein is good enough for me.

I know if I cut sugar or carbs life would be amazing for my hips, but do I want to commit to a life with donuts, bagels, pasta, sandwiches, cake, brownies, and everything else that I love? This is probably one of my problems, but that’s okay. God gave humans the ability to develop really delicious food and I want to embrace it and consume it.

My lifestyle needs to change, but in the old fashioned way where you’re active and you practice portion control. Discipline is something I’ve gotten better at with age, and now it’s time to put those skills to use when it comes to my body.

At this point, I’m optimistic, because I’m more at peace with who I am. Before I had no love for myself, which meant trying to get thin was an act of self-hatred instead of self-love. I value myself for the weirdo I am, and I want to value my body as well.

Now, that doesn’t mean I think horrible thoughts about myself every time I look in the mirror. If I truly love myself, I have to love this body too, even if I’m trying to make it better. When I start thinking about how large something appears, I turn the negativity into thankfulness and praise God for a body that works.

I don’t know where you are, but I want you to know you are perfect just as you are. Your journey is your own and more important than anything else is your ability to love yourself, body and soul. Don’t make changes because you feel the pressure to be different or smaller. Let every bit of self-improvement come from your desire to change your life.

We can do this.

ARE GHOSTS REAL?

I’m going to start this post by saying I’m at a spiritual crossroads after reading through the Gospels. All my life, I’ve denied the existence of ghosts and assumed people were making it up in their heads. Even when I’ve heard personal accounts, I still think you only notice such things if you’re looking. AND I NEVER LOOK.

Then I stumbled upon this passage in Luke:

“Why are you frightened,” [Jesus] asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.” Luke 24:38-39

It’s not just the NLT that uses the word ghost, in case you’re assuming it’s a modern interpretation. That imagery spreads across multiple versions, and the ESV uses the word Spirit.

When talking to my mom about this, she pointed out ghosts and spirits must be real because of the Holy Ghost/Spirt. Then she made a joke about the Holy Spirit wearing a sheet at Halloween and it felt extremely blasphemous, but whatever.

All joking aside, this really intrigued me. Was Jesus acknowledging the existence of ghosts or simply responding to their internal fears? On one hand, it seems obvious that He knew they thought He was a ghost. On the other hand, He goes on to explain how they don’t have flesh and blood like He does.

IS HE SIMPLY RESPONDING TO THEIR ASSUMPTIONS OF GHOSTS OR TREATING THEM LIKE THEY’RE A REAL THING?

Naturally my next step was doing some hard research via Google. I asked ‘does the Bible support ghosts,’ and learned some valuable information.

First Relevant pointed out some interesting scriptures and studies and essentially claimed that the Christian view is spirits exist, but they aren’t from God and they aren’t souls who haven’t passed on yet. God cares about us too much to allow us to wonder and scripture supports immediately going to Heaven or Hell. Another source, Bibleinfo.com, presented a similar standpoint although with less information on opposing viewpoints.

So where does that leave me and my opinions. After five minutes of research, I’ve decided I do believe in ghosts because they are something talked about in the Bible, although they aren’t ghosts as portrayed today. These are evil spirits that may look like someone we know, but it’s a trick and communicating with them is a bad idea.

I’m going to continue my life not assuming I’ve encountered the paranormal and if something does happen, I’ll call on the Holy Spirit to help me deal with it. Problem solved.

Forgiveness is more than saying sorry

Earlier this year I read a book with a leadership team about trusting people. In one section, it talked about the certainty that people will betray us in this life, because Jesus was betrayed. My mind was blown. If Jesus, God’s Son/the Word at the Beginning/our Lord and Savior/the Perfect Lamb experienced betrayal, so will we.

Yet when it happens, we act as if it’s this huge scandal and we can never trust someone again. Sometimes, yeah, it’s really awful. Forgiving someone isn’t easy because of what they’ve done and trusting someone new can be even harder.

I think this is where Jesus’ story of betrayal becomes even more applicable. In the Gospels, we learn about Jesus beginning his missions and selecting 12 disciples. These men weren’t randos He found on the street; as long as it had been planned that He would come for us, these guys were a part of it.

We don’t learn about the specifics of each of them, but we do know he called Peter first. More than helping spread Christianity in the beginning, Peter is probably most known for denying Jesus three times after he was told her would do it. Peter swore he would die for his Lord, only to deny knowing him thrice to save his own skin.

When Jesus walked up to Peter in his fishing boat, he wasn’t impressed by his fisherman’s prowess. He knew what Peter was capable of and needed him to be the rock upon which He’d build His church. In that moment, Jesus knew in His hour of need Peter would run, but He still saw his potential.

Judas was recruited as a disciple at some point, too. Can you imagine knowing you had to choose the person who would ultimately cost you your life and let him be an intimate friend? During His ministry, Jesus turned a blind eye to Judas’ stealing from their funds because He knew the greater plan in place. I asked can you imagine, but I cannot imagine in the slightest. It’s mind bottling.

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Jesus knew the part each of them would play in His life and death, but that didn’t change his feelings for them. Even if their eventual betrayal hurt him, He still loved them.

In the same conversation that would lead to Him predicting Peter’s denial, He left them with a new commandment:

“Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” John 13:34

Woof. That ‘just as I have loved you’ is filled with so many emotions for me. It’s the unconditional kind of love where He’s telling them I have loved you despite everything, and it’s your job to love others that same way.

Judas and Peter went on two different paths following Jesus’ death. Almost immediately, Judas felt the guilt of his actions and hanged himself. Peter, similarly racked with guilt, had the opportunity to speak to Jesus and feel the forgiveness first hand.

You’re going to deal with Judas’ and Peter’s in your life, both literally and metaphorically (although naming your child Judas is like thinking Jezebel is a good name). Sometimes people will hurt you and the relationship cannot be repaired. But that doesn’t mean you assume every single person after him or her will do the same. You don’t close off your heart because of what one person did.

Imagine if Jesus were like us. He came to Earth, gathered His disciples, and realized how truly terrible humans are. It’s likely He would’ve ascended immediately to Heaven and left us to our own devices, avoiding the horrifying ordeal of the cross. Instead, He loved us at our worst and called us to do the same with others.

Sometimes we throw away something too quickly because we’re hurt. In this case, we could be missing out on something great because we were too scared to forgive our Peter. Or too angry and hurt. Again, if Jesus saw Peter after His resurrection and was like ‘nah, I don’t want a jerk like you to feed my sheep,’ the world would probably be different.

Amen, amen, amen to the fact that Jesus is not like us and sees past the things of this world. He sees us, you and me, and writes a brilliant story for us. He knows it will contain heartbreak and betrayal, but He knows from experience the beauty of what it can bring to our lives.

Please know I’m not saying immediately forgive and welcome back everyone who’s hurt you into your life. That’s unrealistic and can lead to more hurt. I’m simply asking that you and I forgive like Jesus, which means we love like Jesus. We might not have the same relationship with a person, but we don’t harbor feeling of ill-will.

It’s about accepting that it’s likely everyone you know will hurt you at one time. When I look at my own life, I know this to be true. And I know I’ve hurt all those people, too. But I want to love like Jesus and not hold grudges or even tiny feelings of resentment masked by pretenses of forgiveness.

I get that it’s really hard, but it’s also really rewarding.