Let me warn you. Some of these lessons may be hard to absorb depending on your emotional state and personal circumstances. Trust me. I’ve learned some of these valuable lessons the hard way. But if you will open your heart and listen to your spiritual compass I believe that some of them just might be the “aha” moment and dare I say breakthrough that you’ve been searching for. So take a deep breath and exhale as we glean and grow together.
Here we go!
1. Stop lying to yourself.
Intentionally getting pregnant will never make a man love you. Don’t believe me? Ask Leah and all the millions of single mothers today who got pregnant under the false assumption that a baby would make him drawn to them simply because she's the mother of his child. I’m not sure how this lie has perpetuated for so long but women have been doing this for centuries and it just does not work! That’s why shotgun weddings are a thing of the past. If anything it will make him despise you.
If you subconsciously believed this lie, instead of being bitter with your child’s father, forgive yourself for not knowing how to love yourself. Forgive yourself for being “foolish” if that’s how you feel. Forgive yourself for placing such unrealistic expectations on an imperfect man. Free yourself of the guilt and shame that sucks all the joy out of you and your other relationships. Then if needed, forgive him. Forgive him for using you or taking advantage of your vulnerability. Forgive him for shirking his responsibility as a father if he’s not in your child’s life. Forgive him for not knowing how to love you or for not choosing you.
What lies have you told yourself about yourself? What are some things you need to forgive yourself for? Who else do you need to forgive?
2. Stop lying on God.
If you notice, each time Leah had her first three sons she implied that God answered her prayer so that her husband would love her. If you read the story carefully God never said that was why He gave her those sons. Leah formed her own story about her situation to make her feel better about herself. I’m not suggesting that God did not love Leah. In fact, He loved her so much He was trying to get her attention off of herself and direct it on Him. Sometimes when we have low self-esteem we subconsciously will make up stories about ourselves or our situation that may not be true.
The other thing we do is convince ourselves that God said something He didn't. We use God's mercy and grace as a license to justify our self-centered behavior. Or we infer that the exercise of our own will is God's perfect will. In our manipulative way we tell ourselves that God allowed it so He obviously "approved" it. God is omnipotent and can fix up what we mess up but to suggest that He endorses our decisions or behaviors that are in direct conflict with what He has clearly said in His word is simply not true.
What is your story? Have you challenged the way you perceive certain events in your story? Did he really “feel” that way about you or is that how you felt about yourself? Did you make assumptions about what certain actions or events meant based on your experience with others? What does God say in His word about it and how does it compare to what you say and believe?
3. Stop pressuring your man to prove his love for you.
You see your friend, neighbor, or sister so-and-so’s man bought her a new house, car, ring, vacation, name brand purse, shoes, or clothes and you start “hinting” at your man to do the same for you. It’s not enough that your man loves you. He treats you well. He respects and adores you. He provides for you. He’s faithful to you. He’s good to your children. He serves you and is looking forward to growing old with you.
That woman you are envying may be envying you. You don’t know her story. You see material things or hear her bragging about the visible stuff but you don’t know her “internal” story. You don’t know if she cries at night because she knows her man is with another woman or would rather work endless hours than be with her. You don’t know how worthless she feels because her man cusses her out and tells her she’s nothing and he’s the only man that will put up with her because she’s too fat, ugly, or stupid for any other man to want her. You don’t know the physical scars she’s hiding because he just beat the crap out of her last week. She may be getting all that “stuff” because that’s his way of convincing her that he “loves her” even though he mistreats her. Be grateful and learn to acknowledge and appreciate when your man loves you for you and not merely for what you have, what you look like, or what you can do for him.
When you test your man's love for you by acting out what you are doing is inadvertently sabotaging your relationship because you do not believe that you are actually worthy of love. You are not comfortable in a healthy loving relationship because that's not what you are used to. You may be used to a man disrespecting you because that's what you saw in your mother's relationship. Your father may have abandoned your family when you were young so now you believe that's just what men do so you wait for the shoe to drop. You provoke him and then hold your breath because deep inside you hope he never leaves you but after repeated cycles of disrespect, verbal abuse or shutting him out he finally leaves because he doesn't know what else to do and then you say, "I knew he didn't love me". Yes, he loved you. The problem was you didn't believe you were worthy of his love. You created a self-fulfilling prophecy because of what you believe about yourself.
What was your relationship like with your father? How does it show up in your relationship with your man? What are some ways you have subconsciously sabotaged your relationships? Do you believe that you are worthy of love? Why or why not?
4. Stop interfering and wait on God.
Rachel got so desperate that she encouraged her maidservant to be the surrogate wife to her husband so Rachel could then claim the child as her own. Then Leah who was barren at this time too did the same thing. Now let me remind you that in vitro fertilization had not been discovered quite yet. It wasn’t until after nine boys were born to Jacob, four of which were through the surrogate wives, that God opened Rachel’s womb to give birth to her first biological son. (Gen. 30:22)
Sometimes while we are waiting on God we wonder if He hears our prayers because it looks like nothing is happening. The lesson here is to not get so anxious and desperate that you will go to extreme measures to fulfill your heart’s desire.
Today that looks like you encouraging your friend to set you up with a man you like. It looks like you inviting a man you are attracted to over to your place alone. It looks like you flirting with and seducing a man who is not your husband or you know is already in a relationship. It looks like you having sex with him, cooking for him, washing his clothes, and cleaning for him in hopes that he will see how “valuable” you are.
God sees you. He hears you. He knows the desires of your heart. You will do more damage trying to force things to happen that God never intended for your life. Learn to wait patiently on God without the drama. It will be worth it.
5. God is in control.
In Genesis 29 verse 31 it says that God opened Leah’s womb. This tells us that not only was Rachel barren but Leah was barren too until God opened her womb. You will notice in verse 35 after Leah had Judah she became barren again. We are all barren until God opens our womb. God is the giver of life and for any life to come forth God has to open the womb.
You may want to be pregnant but God has not opened your womb because it’s not time. You’re doing what you know to do in the natural realm like tracking your fertility dates and checking your temperature but you still haven’t conceived. God may not have opened your womb to a job or business opportunity, your book or even a relationship because it’s not time. You’ve been applying for jobs. You’ve looked for funding to start your business. You’ve signed up with online dating sites with no luck. You’ve been praying and fasting. The preacher declared that this is your season. The truth is it may not be your time because He has to work out something in you or for you. He may be building your character while you wait. He may be working out an issue in someone else who will be affected.
What is it that tugs at your heart? What keeps you up at night wondering about the outcome of a certain situation? What lesson or lessons is God trying to teach you? Have you dealt with a similar situation before? If you’re doing your part and still not seeing the results you want trust that God is in control and in due season you will conceive and birth your dream.
6. Lastly, God’s love is enough.
Did I just say that? You bet! Leah mistakenly put an unrealistic expectation on her husband to make her feel worthy by loving her. She thought that God gave her those sons so that her husband would love her and she would as a result feel special, feel worthy. What she realized for a brief moment after she had her fourth son Judah was that God was still worthy of praise. But what she did not grasp was that God, in opening her womb and allowing her to birth all those sons was displaying HIS love for her and that was enough! If she had recognized and allowed herself to experience God’s love she would not have been compelled to try to convince her husband to love her. What kind of love is that anyway? She would have experienced pure love which cannot be compared, replaced, or erased.
In your quest for self-love the first step is to recognize and receive God’s love. Once you accept that truth and allow yourself to experience it you won’t be led by such desperate measures because you won’t need them to make you “feel” loved or worthy of love. When you get that in the depths of your soul it won’t matter if a man comes or goes because you are already complete with or without him. You won’t need a man or anyone to make you “feel” loved because you will KNOW you ARE loved.
What ways have you tried to convince someone to love you? Are you trying to win your mother’s or father’s love? Are you trying to win your man’s love? If so, why? In what ways has God shown His love for you but you may not have recognized it?
In conclusion, either your man loves you, or he doesn’t. Either you love yourself, or you don’t. Either God loves you or God loves you. Your love and your man’s love are a choice. God IS love. Believe it. Receive it. Experience it. Then when you receive love from others it will be in compliment to and not in replace of the unchanging love you already experience from God and yourself.