Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places
By Dot Bowen
“Then Leah said, ‘God has presented me with a precious gift. This time my husband will treat me with honor, because I have borne him six sons.’ So she named him Zebulun.” Genesis 30:20 (NIV)
I’ve had the privilege of sharing a cup of coffee with a few women who’ve trusted me enough to share their heart and hurts. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to hear a woman say, “He said he doesn’t love me” or “I just want someone to love me.”
God is the only one who can complete us, but every woman wants to hear “I love you” from someone special. To be loved is a God-given desire, and sometimes we become desperate to find love. Want to know how desperate a woman can get to be loved? Just watch The Bachelor. It will make you want to call the female contestants and say, “You are worth more than this! Stop acting so desperate!”
The story of Leah in Genesis 29-35 is about a woman who desperately wanted love. Leah and her younger sister, Rachel, were the daughters of Laban. Leah’s cousin Jacob came to visit her father and fell in love with her sister Rachel. Jacob struck a deal and promised to work for Laban for seven years in return for his younger daughter Rachel. Laban accepted Jacob’s offer, but when the time came for Jacob to marry Rachel, Laban deceived him and gave him Leah instead.
Leah knew Jacob didn’t love her, but she still wanted his affection. Can you imagine being married to someone who loved your sister rather than you? God showed Leah mercy and gave her children, which was a big deal in her culture because children were a blessing from God and allowed the genealogy of the family to continue. Sons were an extra blessing, and Leah gave Jacob six sons. She chose a name for each one that expressed her longing to be loved. She was certain giving Jacob sons would make him love her.
But you cannot make someone love you.
Leah never won the heart of Jacob, and unfortunately, her self-worth depended on his love and how many children she had. When we depend on something or someone for our self-worth, we will never feel valuable. Our self-worth must come from Christ.
The more Leah tried to be like Rachel, the more miserable she became. Leah died knowing Jacob loved her sister rather than her. No matter how many sons she bore him, Jacob’s love and affection was for Rachel. We can learn a few lessons from Leah’s broken heart:
- We cannot change people.
- We cannot make someone love us.
- We cannot find our self-worth in how we look, what we do, or what we have.
The world tells us to find our self-worth in our looks, what we own, and the people who love us, but none of these will ever make us feel loved or give us a healthy sense of self-worth. Our self-worth can’t be grounded in anything that can be taken away from us. If we live long enough, we’ll discover that our circumstances will change and people we love will come and go. Jesus’ love for His children is the only love guaranteed not to change. His love for us is displayed on every cross we see. The cross shouts we are loved! Jesus’ love cost us nothing, yet cost Him everything. Talk about unconditional love! Jesus gave us everything! This perspective is the beginning of the journey to find true self-worth.
Your self-worth must be based on your position in Christ. You are a child of God! The only love that brings true happiness and contentment is God’s love. It may not be where you have been looking for love, but I can promise you from personal experience, nothing else but God’s love will satisfy.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, we’ll see hearts everywhere. But the only heart that can experience love, acceptance, and value is the heart of God. God desires to give you His heart in exchange of your heart. Jesus was very clear when He instructed us on the greatest commandment, which is to love the Lord God with all our heart. And when we love God with all our heart, we are able to love others. Today, I’m going to ask God to show me who I love the most: God or myself. Will you join me in this prayer?
Further Reading Genesis 29-35; Luke 10:27; John 21:17