Flipping through the channels, I caught a glimpse of one of the court dramas. This young lady was devastated because she loved a man who didn’t love her in the same way.
This isn’t a new story and it’s one that many experience. You give, hoping that the person will reciprocate. Sometimes relationships don’t work out, but the problem is when we stay with someone at the detriment of our emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical health.
It’s knowing when enough is enough. Trying to make someone love you doesn’t work out well especially if the person doesn’t see and value what they have in you.
The Bible has so many amazing real-life stories that are relevant even now. Jacob worked for Laban. He saw his daughter, Rachel, and wanted to marry her. The agreement was that he would work for seven years and at the end of his service, he would be given Rachel in marriage. Laban tricked him and gave him, Leah, the oldest daughter. He served Laban another seven years to have Rachel. The Bible says he loved Rachel more than Leah.
You can only imagine the hurt of Leah to know that her husband loved another woman more than her and that woman was her sister. Genesis 29: 31-35 shares the pain Leah experienced: “When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.
And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon.
Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing.” She ultimately had six children for Jacob—5 boys and 1 girl. God was not pleased about Jacob dealing with two sisters (Genesis 30:1, Leviticus 18:18). His decision had ramifications for generations to come.
Leah really wanted Jacob’s love. The name of each of her children illustrates her belief that if she continues to give him children, he’ll change. Leah’s story isn’t unusual. We stay in relationships that do not serve us well. We stay in jobs hoping that things will get better. We hope that if we do more, maybe this friend will see how committed we are to them.
There are many examples of giving more, hoping that things will change when the other person/situation has demonstrated who they are and what they value. In addition to desiring Jacob’s love, there was a significant rivalry with her sister.
They even traded time with the other for Jacob. Instead of recognizing the trickster ways of Jacob, they saw the other as a target blocking the affection they wanted to receive. Blame can hide the real issue and instead of dealing with the source of the pain, we only address the symptom.
Instead of looking to God and within for solutions, we seek happiness outside of ourselves. When we don’t deal with the issues that we face, they deal with us. The issues of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel impacted their children as well. Joseph (Rachel’s son) was sold into slavery by his brothers (Leah’s sons) because of jealousy.
Leah didn’t walk away for whatever reason. She was committed to a man who did not feel the same way about her. She passed on her frustration to her children.
What are you passing on to those who do love you because of the pain someone else caused? What issue is in your life that you hope will change?
What is it that you keep pouring into but doesn’t do the same for you? Leah’s story is one that should remind us that when we understand God’s love for us, we don’t have to accept anything that doesn’t love or treat us the way we deserve. Seek God’s love first. Love you and leave those alone who are willing to see you reproduce pain over and over.
Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the host of the Tapestry Podcast and the author of three books for women. She is also the Vice President of Community Affairs for the State Fair of Texas. To learn more, visit drfroswa.com.