warning signs

Traveling through New Mexico, we stopped at a rest stop, and we were immediately on our guard, thanks to the “Beware of Rattlesnakes!”  warning sign posted nearby.

At my new job here in Orlando, each day I pass by this “Caution Gators!” warning sign, and I walk by with a much more alert peripheral vision.

There are many different dangers present depending on the place… depending on the circumstances… depending on the person.

A warning sign increases my awareness of a potential threat, and it often causes me to change my behavior in order to avoid injury or damage.

Most often when I think about warnings, I am concerned about external threats to my safety, but when I thought about those signs this week, I realized that there are plenty of dangers that threaten my internal well-being also… threats against inner peace, productivity, and healthy relationships… and I can learn to read the warning signs for those dangers too.

One of the strongest warning signs I have learned to read in my life is resentment. I am usually high energy and highly extroverted. If I begin to resent requests for help, interruptions in my day, or changes to my schedule, I recognize that I am in “danger” due to physical tiredness, over booking my agenda, or lack of boundaries in my relationships.

Another warning sign for me is impatience. I enjoy coaching and mentoring, so when I would rather do it myself than allow someone else to learn, or when I can’t give grace to someone who doesn’t have my same experience or skill level, my impatience is a warning sign of “danger” in my heart attitudes. I am pride-filled and too focused on myself rather than on the long-term benefits of developing others.

A critical spirit is another warning sign for me. When I am aware that I am only complaining about the negative in situations or the weaknesses in other people, that is a clear warning to me that stress or fear is threatening my usual optimism and my relationships.

These are just a few of the warning signs that indicate threats to my personal peace and healthy relationships. When these warning signs appear in my life, I am learning to evaluate which threats are present and then change my behavior so that I don’t cause injury or damage somewhere!

I’m sure you can think of many others! What are some of the warning signs in your life?