LOVING PEOPLE BEYOND THE HALLMARK CHANNEL

I’ve watched approximately three Hallmark + two Netflix Christmas movies and think I may already have gotten my fill.

It’s funny too, because every year, I think I’m going to respond differently – be more enamored, “get” the nostalgia they’re sharing or even write my own someday. But then, I realize the likelihood of that is low – partly because I have no experience in filmmaking, writing, etc. and also because I spend a lot of time talking at the screen about how implausible it all is.

Or maybe how implausible I think it is because it’s not how my life (or most of my friends’ lives) seem to work.

Or to be even more transparent, I struggle with how few characters in these movies on The Hallmark Channel + Netflix have people of diversity playing in the main four or five characters as if upper-middle class Asian (fill in a brown skinned person) women don’t have struggles that can’t be worked out with a Hallmark/Netflix script. I just know I can’t be the only one that notices this. And Hallmark, I see you – you’ve added four movies to your line up this season, but I just know you can stretch your audience even more. #Ibelieve

But the part though that resonates most with me is the conflict or miscommunication part of the movie. You know, like when the girl has hired a handsome stranger to come home with her for the holidays because she just can’t bear to face her family alone for another round of “why are you single” jeopardy and then her family finds out, but they are actually now really in love.

Or the one where there is a baker’s competition in a made-up country and the “bad guy” is the person who won the competition last year and she tries to sabotage her competition but loses anyway and no one says anything or doesn’t investigate her shadiness.

Or when a rich woman is sent on a letter delivery mission to a small town with a very, very straight forward name (ahem – “Snow Falls”) with only $100 cash and ends up having almost no real challenges. She never misses a meal and is able to stay in a pretty nice place in exchange for (poorly) cleaning a few rooms a day. She’s engaged to someone else, but spending an awful lot of time with the seemingly only single man her age in said town.

I know these types of mishaps aren’t regulated to Hallmark or romantic, mushy films. They’re in every movie, television show and really in every single person’s lives. And what fascinates me most is how we handle these conflicts, miscommunications and choices in relationships.

Because I’ve found myself trapped in the sin of people pleasing for many years, I have tended to handle conflict and miscommunication in cowardly, insecure ways. I have chosen to elevate people improperly – especially when they have a role/position of authority – to the place where their own sin, shortcomings, wounds + mistakes, have clouded the voice of the Holy Spirit inside of me.

And let me tell you, I don’t get a smiley wrap-up in 98 minutes.

It’s been more like one million 98 minutes of learning how to remove my expectations, desire for security and control, to be more free to worship one and love the rest.

What I think these movies get right is the amount of grace that is extended when the communication mishaps and poor choices are revealed. And though I still struggle at times with putting people on pedestals (basically idolizing them) I’ve grown – thank you Jesus!

And this message, this past weekend, showed me just how much more I need to cling to grace and put people (and myself) in the right place in my heart + soul; it will put them in the right place in my life. If you struggle or get caught up in this at all, or love someone that does, please take some time to listen to what this woman has to say about the “American God” of People.

This message spoke to me in my soul y’all.

It – built upon some other teachings, readings and discussions earlier this year – has helped convict me about how I’m showing up in relationships with people. I don’t have it all figured out, but this message will be replayed many times this holiday season to help me move forward in relationships with people in a more godly, authentic, humble, grace-filled way.

Which may be helped along by minimizing the amount of syrupy sweet stories I consume as entertainment. Instead, I’ll be taking time in December to listen and hear from God about how I’ve gotten weird and where I’ve allowed boundaries to lapse in favor of pleasing and idolizing a person rather than serving and worshiping my God. And humbling myself so that He can use me to do what He’s built me for and to receive from the gift of relationships.

 

 

 

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