"Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." ~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Looking For Love in All the Wrong Places

Genesis 29: 25-30
When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn't I? Why have you deceived me?" Laban replied, "It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. Finish this daughter's bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work." And Jacob did so. He finished the week with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. Laban gave his servant girl Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maidservant. Jacob lay with Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years.

Have you ever found yourself looking for love and value in all the wrong places? That is exactly the predicament that Leah has found herself in here. You must know about Leah's past in order to understand her present and future decisions.

Leah and Rachel were sisters. Rachel was the youngest sister, but she was also known as the beautiful one. Rachel seemed to have it all, and Leah reaped the poor self-esteem from her sister's beauty. Along comes Jacob, and he instantly falls in love with Rachael and all of her beauty. He makes a deal with the girls' father that he will work for seven years in order to gain Rachael as his wife. The father agrees, and on the night of the marriage consummation, the father sends Leah out instead of Rachel. I'm assuming it was dark and Jacob thought that he was receiving the love of his life. When he awoke the next morning, Jacob was stunned to see the unattractive Leah lying next to him. He went to Laban, the girls' father, and made another deal for Rachel even though he had been tricked into marrying Leah. What a blow!

Can you picture Leah with a saddened heart over the fact that her father had to trick someone into marrying her in the first place; but now, she loves a man that clearly loves and desires to be with her sister who has always dominated and come out on top? God felt Leah's pain. For this reason, He shut up the womb of Rachel, making Leah the wife that must bear Jacob's children. In this time, if a woman was unable to bear a child, they were looked down upon, and women who could bear many, especially sons, were praised. Finally, Leah thought that she would be the one on top! She thought that Jacob would love her because of her ability to give him many sons. She thought that other women would not focus on her lack of beauty, yet they would praise and envy her for a change because of her fertility. Leah was looking for love and acceptance in all the wrong places!

Leah was already loved and accepted by God. He felt her pain and wanted to let her know that there was good within her. He wanted to let her know that He loved and accepted her even if others didn't and wouldn't. Unfortunately, this love was not enough for Leah. She still longed to make Jacob love her. Because of this she bore son after son after son, hoping that with each birth, he would fall madly in love with her. But....HE NEVER DID! Rachel had always had Jacob's heart and there was nothing that Leah could do to change that. And while Leah was searching for Jacob's love, Rachel was sitting back saddened because she knew that she had Jacob's heart but was unable to have him any children. Neither of the sisters was satisfied, and spent the rest of their lives competing to find love and acceptance through others, while God had loved and accepted them all along. You can read the entire story in Genesis chapters 29-31.

Let's think about Leah and Rachel for just a moment. How many of us are just like both or either of them. We look for love and acceptance in all the wrong places. Some people feel loved if they have an abundance of "friends". Some people feel loved and accepted if they have people supporting and cheering on their life accomplishments. Some people feel loved and accepted if they have a spouse of children. Some people seem to have it all and are still unsatisfied and lost, searching for whom they really are. No matter what the issue is, the bottom line is that all of these people are focused on something other than God, who has the ultimate love and acceptance!

I encounter a lot of people through this website and speaking that I have done in the past. One thing that I hear a lot of people say is that they feel like something is missing in their lives. And yes my friend, these are Christians who are in church every week! I think the missing link to our ultimate joy and happiness is to keep our eyes focused on God. When we totally love, adore, admire, and accept Him, all of the other "stuff" shall be added. Sometimes God wants us all to Himself, and that is why we do not receive some of the stuff that we pray for that we think will give us the love and acceptance that we are so desperately searching for in this world.

I love my husband and children greatly! I realize that I am blessed to have them in my life. I also realize that it is God that receives my total love first, and because of that, He allows me to love my family so! I remember being just like Leah, wanted to be loved and accepted by everyone else around me and allowing that to define my popularity and who I am. Now, I know that all I need is God. If I have God, He will give me all that I need to feel loved and secure and I will no longer have to look to people, places, or things in order to feel loved or accepted! And, even though the Leah in me may pop up every now and again, I thank God that He reminds me that I am His child! All we need is His love!

Spiritual Reflections

1. I shared with you how I am like Leah. Are you more like Leah or Rachel? Explain how.

2. Leah lacked beauty. What is it in your life that has made you look for love in all the wrong places?

3. Have you overcome those feelings ? If so, how did you do it? If not, how can you overcome them?

4. Write three positive statements that you can tell yourself the next time you discover that you are looking for love and acceptance in all the wrong places.

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