“Congratulations on your third baby!”, “Best wishes on your upcoming marriage!”, “Fantastic news on your engagement!” and similar statements started becoming more and more common as people I knew celebrated milestones.
I’d often wondered when my time was coming and asked God how much longer. Maybe that’s part of the reason I entered and stayed in a toxic relationship. Because I wanted love, marriage and everything else that comes with it.
Red flags flew all around on the first date and on dates after I started a brand new relationship, but I easily ignored the flags as I let my longings and feelings dictate and override God’s plan for my life.
Soon things appeared to get better, and I bought into the lie that this was it, this was the relationship I was meant to be in. But in reality, I was settling and ignoring God’s attempts to direct me and rescue me. The toxicity showed up, and the relationship continued to become unhealthy as time went on.
Eventually, I allowed God in but kept myself on the fence of His will and what I wanted. At the end of the relationship stood two damaged people who wanted more but had left God’s purpose and plan out of the equation.
Recently, I was reminded of the story in Genesis 18 of Sarah and Abraham, who longed to have a baby and even had a promise from God that they would. But time passed and the promise wasn’t coming to pass, so Sarah took matters into her own hands and had her servant, Hagar, sleep with her husband. Thus resulting in a baby for Abraham and Hagar, and not for Abraham and Sarah. What seemed like a solution to the situation ended up being destructive and not part of God’s plan.
When we accept counterfeits in place of God’s promises, we miss out on the fulfillment of what God really has in store for us. When He promises something, it will come to pass, but the timing, situation, etc. may not be when or how we thought it would happen. So how can we avoid accepting a counterfeit?
1) Pay attention to red flags. Those warning signs, those questionable moments, and the times when things just don’t quite seem right are the times to question and pay attention. Don’t brush them aside or write them off as they are occurring for a reason.
2) Spend time with God. Ask God about the relationship you are entering or about to accept. Pray and allow Him to give you guidance and clarity about the situation. He is a good Father and will answer you, so be patient and wait on His timing.
3) Seek wise counsel. The Bible encourages us to seek counsel, and this is extremely beneficial as others will see the situation from a different perspective. Allow them to speak into your life and give you insight.
My experience taught me to wait on the Lord and His plans, because what I create on my own will not even remotely compare to the plans He has in store for me. If we are not careful, counterfeits are deceptive and can lead to destruction. He is a good Father, whom we can trust; we can place our hope in Him, for His promises to come to pass.
Jana Smith is a single woman living in the Dallas Texas area. She has learned that no matter what has happened in her life, from bad choices to harsh environments to losing her mother, to keep her focus on God. She remembers that God is always with her and has never left her side. She believes that knowing your true identity in Christ, coupled with freedom, can lead to a powerful revelation of who you are as a warrior in the Kingdom and as God’s intricately designed masterpiece.