…is to leave a legacy that blesses the Lord and acknowledges His sovereignty.
When it’s hard to be vulnerable
As I’ve mentioned before, it is sometimes hard to share my heart and it’s not easy for me to open up to others.
God has broken me this past year in many ways, and the area of vulnerability within community is one of them.
God has broken me this past year in many ways, and the area of vulnerability within community is one of them. He has shown me the importance of authentic discipleship and intentional walking with others in the faith, in pursuit of the Lord. In my writings, I’ve also shared that I have – and continue to – struggle around the area of singleness. And sharing that, for some reason, fills me with a sense of shame.
I realize that my desires that I have, in and of themselves, are not sins. But God has revealed to me, as only a gentle and loving Father could, that these desires can quickly turn into idols. And the shame that I feel, is because of that sin. Which I feel is an important thing to share, as I understand that desires for connection – whether romantic or platonic or whatever – are a part of being human, and God-given.
Recently, the story of Leah from the Bible spoke directly to my heart. Our church has been going through a series entitled “30 Days to Live”. Throughout this series, we focused on the passage from Psalm 90:12 where the psalmist asks the Lord to “teach us to number our days” because he recognized that time on earth was fleeting and that life was “but a breath”. Pastor ended the series on a note about Legacy and I have to admit, I was surprised to see “The Legacy of Leah” printed at the top of our weekly Sunday bulletin. In truth, I’ve never really given her story much of a thought. Interestingly enough, it seems that being an afterthought wasn’t really new for Leah.
Taking a lesson from an unlikely heroine
In the story from Genesis, we meet the heartbroken, weak-eyed Leah, the lovelorn Jacob and the beautiful Rachel. In the story – and pardon my summary – basically boy finds beautiful girl. Boy decides he wants, no–needs girl, so boy works 7 years to get girl from her father. Father, being very shady, tricks boy into marrying other, less attractive/appealing girl (poor, Leah). Boy is upset and angry, but still really, really
wants needs girl, so he agrees to work 7 more years on the land for girl. Meanwhile, less attractive/appealing girl falls head over heels for boy. 7 more years go by and father says boy can have girl-of-his-dreams girl. And finally, boy marries her too. Now boy has girl of his dreams and…the other girl too.
In case you aren’t familiar with the story–Jacob wanted Rachel, because she was beautiful. Jacob didn’t want Leah, because she was…not Rachel. But in the end, Jacob ends up being married to both–first Leah, much to his dismay, and then to Rachel.
Can you say, DRAAAAMMMAAA? (Read the story for yourself in Genesis 29-30) At first, I’m all like, how romantic–he worked 14 YEARS for this girl?!
But what about Leah? You know, that less appealing/loved/cherished girl that really got the short end of the stick.
The sting of rejection from the man she truly loved. The pain of being unwanted and ultimately replaced as a wife. The sadness of feeling alone and with no one to turn to in her aching. And I’m sure that doesn’t even cover it. I cannot imagine.
But in some ways, I think I can relate.
When waiting on God is hard
I’ve had my moments with God when I passionately disagree with the chosen path He’s set me on, or I take issue with His timing
It’s interesting that this story should come at the time it did. I’ve never really experienced a serious stand-off with God. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my moments with God when I passionately disagree with the chosen path He’s set me on, or I take issue with His timing…well, you get the picture.
But I don’t think I’ve ever come to a point in my walk where I just really couldn’t go to Him. Not because I didn’t know what to say, but because I believed in this lie that told me that no matter what I said to Him, He wouldn’t care. And that was suuuuper painful. To feel disconnected from God in such a way that felt like I didn’t even know how to be myself anymore. I was on autopilot.
It was like what I imagine being in a marriage during a tumultuous season might be like, where I (being the wife) was just fed up and frustrated with Him (being the husband) and was giving him the silent treatment out of spite. Might be a weird comparison to some, but that’s honestly all I can really describe it as.
But that’s not what love is, is it?
Giving up. Quitting when things get confusing or difficult.
That’s not what Leah did either.
No, instead, she pressed on. She continued to serve the Lord and bless Him with what she did have. And even though I’m sure it was painful to be where she was, she still desired to honor God. And the beauty of it all is that, during those moments of Leah’s most likely, constant and persistent doubt–doubt about her relationship with Jacob, doubt about her self-worth, doubt about whether or not her life and situation was even important to God at all–God saw her and heard the cries of her heart.
But that’s not what love is, is it? Giving up. Quitting when things get confusing or difficult.
Disproving the enemy’s lies
There are moments on my journey through life with God, when I feel like He just doesn’t hear me or care about what’s going on in my life. Or more specifically, that He does care, just not about that.
But it’s a lie.
A lie steeped in misplaced trust and deep-rooted fear.
It took me some time to really get my mind out of that thinking and also a bit (okay a lot) of humility to go back to God in prayer about all of these fears and doubts I had in my heart. And it was only by His beckoning that I found the courage to lay aside my pride and go to Him.
Sucking it up and going back to Him in prayer
I prayed for His forgiveness and that He would forgive me for the immense doubt I let creep into my heart.
I prayed for His peace. Not only was my impatience with God a part of the problem, but my spirit was also highly troubled as I doubted His sovereignty.
I gave thanks to Him for the ways that He was working in me. Painful as it might be, I know that God wouldn’t put me through something unless it was for my sanctification and spiritual growth.
I also thanked Him for this struggle I was in. To be real, if it were not for this discontentment that I felt with my singleness, I don’t think I would be where I am in my relationship with Him today. And despite what it sounds like, it’s actually stronger than ever.
I’ve still got a ways to go (God-willing) on this journey. And I am grateful for the ways that God has grown me in just this year alone. I wait in hopeful expectation to see what or where He brings me in this next year. I can only imagine. But whatever it is I know that it’s good, because well–He is good. But more on that later.
I wait in hopeful expectation to see what or where He brings me in this next year.
And lest you fall into the trap of thinking that God cares, just not about that, I’ll leave you with this encouragement:
From heaven the Lord looks down
and sees all mankind;
from his dwelling place he watches
all who live on earth—
he who forms the hearts of all,
who considers everything they do.
Psalm 33:13-15 (NIV)
His eyes are on the ways of mortals;
he sees their every step.
Job 34:21 (NIV)
For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him…
2 Chronicles 16:9a (NIV)
An excerpt from Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman: Dispelling 10 Common Myths by Allison Flexer
Also, a cool read I found on the story and legacy of Leah can be found at Today’s Christian Woman. You can read the article here.
P.S. I’ve just recently started reading Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman: Dispelling 10 Common Myths by Allison Flexer. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to any single woman facing doubt about who God is or who God has made her to be. And it was just what I needed to hear this weekend – and I’ve quite literally just started reading it. Seriously. I’m on Chapter 2. But still, I definitely recommend it – you can get it on iBooks or order it here from Amazon.com