As a teenager I, too, was desperate to fit in, almost to the point of an eating disorder.
Reference: She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children. (Genesis 29:35 NIV)
Explore: I am struggling to communicate to my young adult daughter that people like her because she is fun and friendly and not because her hair is perfect. The hours of time and thousands of dollars she spends on making herself look “beautiful” is beyond my belief.
While I’m saddened to see her put so much of herself into her outward appearance, I can appreciate her desire to do so. As a teenager I, too, was desperate to fit in, almost to the point of an eating disorder.
Seeking the acceptance of other people, however, is so fickle. The social norm changes regularly and you can spend your whole life chasing it, only to find yourself still empty handed at the end.
Application: Leah, in Genesis 29, was striving for acceptance from one person – her husband. And poor Leah was caught in a marriage of unrequited love. It was her sister, Jacob’s second wife, whom he truly loved.
It seems Leah went out of her way to gain acceptance from Jacob, even bearing him a number of sons. But after numerous years, Leah realised the One who had accepted her and loved her – God.
Leah hopes the birth of each of her first three sons will bring about the affection of her husband, but after the arrival of her fourth child something changes. No longer does she say, “I am not loved… Will my husband not attach to me now?…”
After her fourth child, and years of unrequited love from her husband, she says, “This time I will praise the Lord.”
What an incredible mind shift for Leah. Her dire situation has not changed, but her perspective has.
Instead of wallowing in her grief and seeking the love of those on earth, she switches her focus to her Heavenly Father.
I must admit, I spend way too much time in the wallowing phase and don’t move quickly enough to the praising God phase. And let’s be honest, Leah’s trial was not a simple one that could be flippantly brushed aside.
But I am inspired by how Leah is able to praise God, even though her situation had not changed. There’s power in a faith as strong as that.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me when I look for the praise of others instead of spending my time praising You. Amen.
Whose acceptance are you currently seeking?
This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.