7 Red Flags and What To Do With Them
September 15, 2019

So, hindsight. We’ve all heard the saying; “hindsight is 20/20.” But, it’s typically said after; the date that went horribly wrong, the moment you think you can outsmart the gps, that time you left the job for the wrong reasons, or maybe it was the marriage you rushed into.

You see, looking back on my life (Maggie here) I have always been a hopeless romantic. I’m not just talking about the kind that simply writes “Mrs. Michael B. Jordan” on their notebook or in their diary. (I know I’m not the only one y’all). When I say always, I’m talking about since I was a toddler! One time, when I was two years old and our neighborhood was under construction. My mom of five children (bless her heart) heard my tiny little voice yelling, “Hi! Hey mans! Hey mans! Will you marry me??”. And, when my sweet mother asked who in the world I was talking to, I proceeded to point to the construction crew across the street and say, “That man wants to marry me.” And, I genuinely believed it. Unfortunately, for my little tiny heart my love was not returned and fortunately for my mom, I don’t think they actually heard me.

I have stories and stories of the hopeless romantic in me that range from proposing at two years old to being a twenty one year old that was sure that when guys made eye contact with me twice it was for a REASON. (Other than having food in my teeth.)

But, after many years of being a hopeless romantic, experiencing mistake after mistake (and the heartaches to go along with them), somehow, I am still left dumbfounded at how completely crumbling it was to be heartbroken just this past year.

Here’s a question for you; Have you ever looked back on a chapter in your life and wondered how you were blind to SO many red flags? Maybe your situation wasn’t a romantic one. Maybe it was a career choice, a friendship, even something as lighthearted as a diet or wardrobe choice. Ultimately, it was something that you promised yourself you wouldn’t let happen again, but somehow, it still did. And, maybe you asked yourself the same question that I did; “How can it be that in the moment my vision is so obscured that red flags feel like rose petals? That every move I said I wouldn’t make is made anyway? That every boundary I put up, seemingly turns to dust?”

I’m not trying to shame anyone here. Like I said, I am still learning and growing from this myself. My hope is that by being vulnerable in my journey, I would help someone else. So, here’s what I’ve learned; our vision can be thrown off simply by the tiniest of desires.The desire to be married, the desire to move up in the company, the desire to grow your business, your family, your following. Just one small adjustment in our desire can change our vision completely. We stop seeing things from a logical or realistic perspective and start seeing it in a “gotta have it, will do anything for it, rose-colored” perspective.

It's a little scary to know that something so small can shift us so quickly, isn’t it? And for me at least, that small shift lead me to life altering decisions and a heartbreak that turned me to dust. Now of course I’m not saying that all desires are bad and all desires can ruin your life. But if we are being honest with ourselves I think we can feel when a particular desire starts to cloud our vision. We can feel when the rosy hue of “too good to be true” takes over. Can’t you remember a time in your life when you said yes to something that made your stomach uneasy and your heart race for all the wrong reasons? I know I can’t be the only one, unless I am much more rebellious than I give myself credit for. :) But truly, I can remember my red flags, and I can also remember painting them to be beautiful. I would tell my gut to get over herself, ignored God’s gentle nudges and instead of truly slowing down to assess the situation, I let my desire take the wheel and run down a path completely paved with red flags.

I was running with my hands held high allowing my rose-colored glasses to tell me that God was allowing these things to fall right into place. When in reality things weren’t falling into place. I was forcing them to, and pretending they were effortless. But, honestly, I wasn’t aware that I was doing that. I’d fooled myself into thinking that I could trust myself over God. Sure, sometimes things were a bit uncomfortable and I questioned my decisions, but doesn’t everyone? I ignored the feeling of distance from God because “all spiritual walks go through ups and downs,'' right? I wasn’t doing these things with corrupt motives, I had the purest of intentions, but I had just gotten “busy.” My relationship with God was quiet. My perspective was so clouded with desires that I falsely believed God was working everything out without a real relationship with Him. Completely ignorant to the fact my body was breaking down and my relationship with God was crumbling. I was relying on myself for guidance and while my gut might have been screaming at me, I wasn’t listening.

So, maybe you find yourself questioning how well you’re listening. Maybe you’re wondering why everything seems to be falling apart. And, now you’re asking yourself the questions; “How do I change?” or “How do I avoid this from happening in the future?” Well, there are a few things I’ve put in place to stop confusing my desires with God’s will for my life and start clearing my clouded vision.

  1. Slow down. They aren’t kidding when they say “good things take time.”
  2. Talk to your circle and allow them to question you, even if YOU feel you’re doing just fine.
  3. If you are feeling averse to praying about your situation, (kind of like when you didn’t want to ask your parents for something because you know they’d just tell you no.) pray about it even HARDER. Sit in the uncomfortable with God. He will speak to you and remind you that He’s been there the whole time, you just haven’t been listening.

Lastly, you don’t need to spend time beating yourself up for things you can’t change, but you CAN shift your perspective and check your desires so that you stay away from avoidable brokenness. When your gut starts rumbling; slow down, allow your circle to be honest with you and pray for God to tell you the desires He has for you. Here’s the truth ladies; He longs to fulfill your desires, and He will do it in His timing, in His way.

If I can leave you with some parting advice it’s this; while hindsight may be 20/20, when you feel your gut trailing behind you and your vision becoming cloudy with desire, pump the brakes, because it’s easier to rebuild a wounded ego than to stand in the dust of a broken heart.

LET'S DO THE HARD STUFF

Dive deeper with these questions we’ve put together to help you become more intentional in applying this content:

  1. Is there a time in your life you can remember ignoring red flags? How did it turn out?
  2. Can you tell when your vision starts to become clouded? What desires start to reveal themselves?
  3. What is it that makes you feel averse to praying? What are some negative feelings you can begin the denounce that are getting in the way? (Ex. Guilt, shame, etc.)
  4. Do you trust God’s timing and way for your life? Why or why not?
  5. In a world that constantly rushing, how can you pump your breaks?
Don’t forget to head over to our Instagram this week as we answer some of these questions with you!

Maggie is a Psychology Enthusiast, Writer, and an Advocate for Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing. She has walked through brokenness and learned that she’s not alone there. She wants to bring radical, relatable, and raw content that allows people to see into her journey and find hope there that illuminates their darkness. Connect with Maggie to learn more.

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