Relationships, whether they are new or long lasting can be a very exciting time in life. However, as time goes on, sometimes you begin to recognize things that can be somewhat concerning. As a full-time working, young 25 year old female, I often get the push from family and friends to rush to the altar. When you see your college friends on your timeline getting married and having children, it’s easy to slip into feeling compelled to accomplish these things as well. However, it is important to not be deceived by desperation to love that we overlook warning signs. Even though these signs may be boldface, we have a tendency to sometimes ignore what is in plain sight.
I’ve heard it best as, “When someone shows you who they are…believe them”. This statement couldn’t be truer. Some guys or girls will literally be screaming “I’m a manipulator” through they’re actions. They will have sign over they’re forehead saying I’m a liar… I’m a cheater… I’m lazy…I’m emotionally unstable…I’m controlling but we make excuses for them.
Because our hearts are designed to love, choosing to walk away from these red flags can be so painful. However, how much more painful would it be to be forced to walk away after a making a lifelong commitment? Red flags don’t just go away because you decide to marry that person.
I understand that there is no perfect person since we are all flawed human beings because of sin. However, there is a distinct difference between a deal breaker and a flaw. Some differences are normal and healthy to a relationship. They allow room for love and compromise. However, other differences leave you feeling disrespected, isolated and/or unsafe. These are the red flags and are warnings that it may be time to walk away. You’d be surprised how much your intuition will tell you. If something feels wrong, it probably is. I challenge you to consider what are your red flags?
“You will know them by their fruits…” – Matthew 7:16
During the week a friend and I were having a conversation about a particular situation and something was stated that truly made an impression on me. “Lately… I’m not in the business of inviting things into my life that affect my peace”… At first I was going to make the statement a typical facebook status but I recognized that this realization is way deeper than that. With all the issues and trials in this life, it is not uncommon to find your peace so easily “disturbed”. However, some disturbances are unavoidable but many disturbances we willingly invite. This statement hit me so hard because earlier this year I found myself at such a low point…feeling so trapped….imbalanced…. I had to learn to accept that I can’t change the situation but I can change my own reactions. I had to learn that I don’t have to justify to other people my reasoning for removing a peace disruption from my life. Whether it’s a job we feel stuck in or a relationship we feel stuck in… we continually make excuses for disrupting our inner peace. I had to come to a realization that there is nothing worth more than my peace of mind.
I’ve found that the key to true peace is through simplicity. I challenge you to create a mental flowchart. Consider does this make me happy? If so, then continue by all means…. If not, then it might be time to remove it from your life. This could present itself as a broken relationship…a dead end job… or even a family member that is toxic to your well-being. Just understand that your peace is worth so much more. What is disturbing your peace?
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
A few weeks ago, I was watching a show on TV. One of the characters was speaking to a friend who was going through relationship issues. She posed this question to her friend, “what is your expiration date?” How long to do you wait until he gets his act together? At what point do you realize that he’s not going to change?
We’ve all done it before. We might not have dated Mr. Potential but we might have dealt with him at some point in our life. If only he didn’t _____ fill in the blank… He’s so smart… if only he wasn’t lazy. He’s so loving… if only he didn’t have commitment issues…
Mr. Potential isn’t the guy who hasn’t yet achieved his set goals but is actively working towards them. However, he is the guy who has great things about him but has numerous qualities that you do not like or don’t feel comfortable with.
Potential is “existing in the possibility” and that is exactly what we sometimes do. We dream up this possibility in our minds only setting ourselves up for failure when those expectations are not met. I am in no way negating the importance of growing and building together, which is a key factor in a relationship. Because we are not perfect beings, in any relationship there will always be things you dislike about your partner. However, we need to ask ourselves if absolutely nothing changed about this person, would you be okay accepting this? And if so, for how long?
The hardest part of falling for Mr. Potential is that we are loving someone who doesn’t exist. It is unhealthy to exhaust all your love, time, and energy on the idea of someone. It becomes so frustrating to love the creation made up in our mind of the person we hope that he might be. Then it becomes so disappointing when the relationship we desire is never actualized. We need to realize that no matter how hard you love someone; you can’t “love” someone into changing.
An investment can be defined as the act of devoting money, time, effort, or energy to someone or something with the expectation of a worthwhile benefit within a reasonable or specified time frame. As people, we often invest ourselves and don’t even realize it.
I find myself asking why is it so easy to invest our finances to go out to eat and to buy the latest fashion trends but so difficult to invest in our future? Why do we invest our holidays and free time into fulfilling dreams of CEOs but find it so difficult to cultivate our own dreams/desires? Why is it so easy to invest our bodies but so difficult to wait for promise? Why is it so easy to stay in a “situationship” instead of moving on and thriving in our independence?
I’ve seen so many people including myself continually investing into an unhealthy relationship for temporary benefits instead of investing into something meaningful. Knowingly investing in something/someone that you know is not worthwhile, only places yourself in debt… in debt emotionally, spiritually, and sometimes even physically. We all know that debt is a burden that contains and constrains, where what is at stake is greater than what you actually have. The key words in the definition of an investment are a worthwhile benefit. Although we’re talking investments, a worthwhile benefit in a relationship isn’t about financial gain or material things. However, the worthwhile benefits are true love, mutual respect, faithfulness, and commitment. When what you’re giving your time and energy to isn’t worthwhile, you end up giving up so much of yourself that there’s nothing left…
Stop using history or time already invested as an excuse to maintain relationships that are toxic. The time spent ignoring signs doesn’t gauge the worth or value of the relationship. Stop investing your love in someone who is unwilling to give you back the love you’ve invested and more. Stop giving your body to someone who isn’t willing to build a future with you. Because the frightening reality is… The greater the debt, the more difficult it is to place your investment in the right place when that opportunity comes.
I challenge you to consider what exactly are you investing in?
When I was a little girl, I had a complex about always trying to do things myself. My infamous words as 2 year old Alice were “I can do it myself”. These are the same words that caused big spills of juice all over the kitchen table as I attempted to pour things myself. They are also the same words that caused sprained ankles from climbing on chairs to reach things that were too high. As I grew older, I prided myself on being able to do things independently. I began my first real job working at Sears when I was 16. I learned how to spend and save my money properly. I was able to be self-sufficient throughout college without the assistance of my parents. By age 22, I began my nursing career, signed the lease on my own apartment, and bought my first car. In a society where men often aren’t fulfilling their God designed role, it is important for women to know how to take care of themselves. There is nothing wrong with being independent. However, being too independent can be dangerous to your relationship.
Most men can identify with a desire to be protectors and providers for their families. The independent women wants to do everything herself. The problem is when both of these personalities come together in a relationship is that the independent women denies the man of his ability to help her, causing frustration on both ends. Independent women in a relationship or seeking a relationship, need to learn to accept help. There is no need to burden yourself of trying to do everything by yourself when you’re in a relationship. If you are, then why is that other person even there? A great relationship isn’t about gender roles with a women in distress and a prince coming to save the day. It is about love and mutual respect, making the journey better for each other. It is important to know what your man is good at. Even though you might have been able to accomplish that task yourself, let him do it and remember to thank him for it.
Men want to know and feel that they are needed. What the independent women doesn’t realize is that her independent attitude can exude an “I don’t need you” mentality. I want you but I don’t need you… In his mind, well what happens when she doesn’t want me anymore? The frightening truth is that there is always someone out there who will treat a man the way they want to be treated. The most committed man can fall vulnerable to openings that make them feel needed, even when coming from the wrong source. There should always be something that your man can ONLY get from YOU. I’m not alluding to anything physical in nature but things emotional and personal. I challenge you to consider what it is that he can only get from you? Do you let him lead? Do you support his dreams? Are you always thankful/appreciative? Are you his greatest fan? Think on this…
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.” Proverbs 31:10-11.
If you’ve ever been on plane, you probably have heard the flight attendants safety brief at some point. You’re probably familiar with the saying, “please place your own oxygen mask on before assisting others”, referring to in the event of loss of cabin pressure in the plane. Although it does sound harsh at first, this phrase in the safety briefing actually makes a great deal of sense. What good are we trying to give to others what we don’t even have ourselves? Is that selfish of me to think that? Self-care is the nurturing and the preservation of the body that was given to us by God. Self-care is something that is vital to health and wellbeing. However, oftentimes, I find myself feeling guilty for practicing self-care. Whether it is saying no to tasks to avoid feeling overwhelmed or whether it is avoiding friends that deplete my energy reserve.
A change of cabin pressure on a plane can be a life-threatening event due to the lack of oxygen. If a person tries to help their neighbors put on their mask before placing their own, they will suffer from hypoxia. The low oxygen levels that occur with hypoxia cause the heart to beat faster to compensate, leaving the body feeling drained and weak. The end result is passing out and therefore being useful to no one, including you. This is the same for people who aren’t intentional about self-care. Self-care isn’t an act of selfishness. There is a great difference between selfishness and self-care. Selfishness places focus on only pleasing one’s self. Self-care is being actively engaged in the journey to self-discovery, through activities that nourish the mind, body, and spirit. Practicing self-care gives you energy and increases your capacity to be emotionally available in your relationships. Self-care is cultivating ones self in order to become valuable in helping others. I challenge you to think on what methods and strategies you can use to foster self-care in your life. I challenge you to consider how your self-discovery journey can be a blessing to others.
When the pressure is on, are you placing your own mask on first? #ThinkOnIt
I promise this is not another weight loss blog post. However, as a registered nurse and as someone who has struggled with my weight for a majority of my life, I’ve learned a thing or two about weight loss along the way. I know that certain food items that we put into our bodies allow toxins to accumulate, which ultimately impedes weight loss. It is not until we can recognize and act on the need for detoxification that we maximize our weight loss goals. The same concept also goes for toxic friendships/relationships in our life.
The most obvious form of toxic friendships/relationships are those that are physically and verbally abusive. However, they don’t always come in this cookie-cutter form. They come disguised as friends who do not support you and never have something good to say when a blessing comes your way. They also come disguised as relationships that have great chemistry but lack maturity, only bringing negative qualities out of each other. They come disguised as friends who constantly drain you of your energy, who always need reassurance and feed off your emotional strength. They come disguised as friends who never have anything nice to say about anyone, including you… (behind your back of course!) They come disguised as people who are so quick to take from you but are never willing to give.
If you recognize any of these toxins in your life, it may be time to reevaluate your friend list and I’m not talking about Facebook. The only real way to rid yourself of these toxins is to go through the detoxification or a cleansing process. For some that might mean blocking/unfriending on all social media sites but it takes much more than that. It is realizing these relationships are a threat to your self-care. It is realizing that you have to let them go and acting upon it.
We need to realize that maintaining relationships with toxic people adds unnecessary baggage in our life to carry. It depletes your energy and eventually prevents you from reaching your goals. Sometimes as you grow and progress, relationships that weren’t toxic to begin with can become toxic. Just like the weight loss journey, if you hang on to toxic friendships/relationships long enough, you end up right back where you started.
It’s time to drop the weight!
“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm”. – Proverbs 13:20
Pretty much every girl at some point will dream up a list of qualities they envision their significant other to have. He must be at least 6 feet tall. He must have a graduate degree. He must be from the South. He was must have tight curly hair. He must have a six-figure salary. He must come from a big family. The list goes on and on. Oftentimes women believe they are settling because a prospective love interest doesn’t have all the qualities they desire.
So are you settling? Truth is there are some people that simply do not deserve your time or energy. These are the ones who won’t commit, who waste your time, who are lazy and/or don’t treat you right. Yes, you are too good for those people. Accepting this type of unhealthy/unhappy relationship due to fear of loneliness or time invested would be settling for less than you deserve. It is imperative to have standards for yourself and not to compromise on core values. Shared beliefs on core values provide a strong foundation and ensure the stability of the relationship. However, be realistic with your expectations. The goal isn’t to lower your standards but to change your standards. He may not have his dream job yet but see his determination and self-motivation. He may not have a six-figure salary but pay attention to how he deals with conflict or adversity. He may not come from a big family but focus on how he treats those closest to him and his friends. Most importantly, recognize his love for Christ and how he treats you because of that. Focus on what is important.
Just because you give someone a chance that you normally would have overlooked doesn’t mean you’re settling. There is beauty in discovering that some thing you never thought you wanted could be all you’ve ever wanted. So are you settling? Are you being unrealistic? I guess it depends on your definition of love. I believe that love is about accepting someone’s flaws and choosing to love past their shortcomings every day. True love isn’t about finding someone perfect but finding someone worth the effort. When you find that kind of love, there is no settling in that.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7.
So you’ve finally met a guy with the qualities you are looking for. You see the potential in him to be successful. You can envision a future and a family with him. There’s only one problem… He’s not ready for you. This is a classic example of Mr. Not the Right Time. It seems that all the cards are in place for it to work if only he would commit. So we wait….and wait… continually giving of ourselves in the hopes that our dreams of love and relationship will come into fruition but it never does. If we just wait long enough, it’ll all come together…eventually. It only leaves us emotionally empty and wondering how we let it get to this point. I’ve found myself asking a love interest the dreaded question, “so what are we?” knowing good and well that the intentions were clear all along. Mr. Not the Right Time will find every excuse not to be with you. However if a guy truly wants to be with you, there is no second guessing. He will just be with you!
We need to stop offering so much of ourselves for people who are not willing to give the same back. We need to stop giving relationship privileges to those who are undeserving of it because of their lack of commitment. We constantly clear space in our lives and in our hearts to make room for a love that’s not real. The truth is that Mr. Not the Right Time will never have a place for you in their lives. The best thing to do is just move on, realizing that Mr. Not the Right Time for you may be Mr. Right for someone else. We need to recognize that there no such thing as Mr. Right at the wrong time. Mr. Not at the Right Time is simply Mr. Wrong.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
I think it’s safe to say that everyone is afraid of something. Unfortunately, fear sometimes has the ability to keep people stagnant. I’ve seen people settling for unhappy relationships due to the fear of being alone. I’ve seen people turn down job offers due to the fear of starting over. One thing I’ve seen more commonly today is lost opportunities due to fear. A quote by Suzanne Collins in the book the Hunger Games says that “Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.” It led me to think what is it about hope that is so powerful over fear? What is it about hope that makes fear ineffective?
“Fight or flight” is a natural physiological process. Out of fear people have tendency to run away or to “take flight”. Stay with what it is easy… with what is comfortable. The thing about hope is that it ignites a desire to live… a desire to fight. Isaiah 40:31 says that those who wait, who expect, look for, and hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Hope is what gives you strength to overcome your fears. I challenge you to self-reflect on what it is that you’re afraid of and where you desire to be. I challenge you to reflect on what or who do you place your hope in. I challenge you to recognize when hope comes alive, that is when you truly begin to live.