Written by Amy Carrico
Author of Making the Moments Matter Blog
I can vividly remember the first time I felt it. I was five years old and in my kindergarten classroom. We had been given a set of sight words to memorize and we had to be able to recite them in a certain amount of time. As I walked up to the teacher for my turn, I started rattling off the words as quickly as possible. I can remember when she got to the last card she said, “If you can tell me which word this is without looking, then I’ll get you a glass bottle of Coke.” I smiled really big and proudly announced the word. I had gotten it correct. My teacher beamed this amazing smile and hugged me. This was the first time I really remember what it felt like to achieve.
From that point forward, achievement became the thing I longed for the most. All A’s on a report card meant free tacos at a local restaurant. Reciting all the books of the Bible meant a new cassette tape with some awesome Christian music. As I got older, the void to fill with achievement grew larger. Varsity Basketball, Best Role Model, Valedictorian, and more. It was a void I was constantly trying to fill to make others proud of me. And the crazy thing was, no one was putting this pressure on me, but me.
Nowadays, working with teenagers on a daily basis, I continue to see these voids trying to be filled with a variety of things. For some, I still see the longing of achievement: students who are stressed out because they have never made a “B” and it would ruin their chances of being top of the class. For others, it is more material: “If I have the latest iPhone or name brand clothing, then I will be liked.” And for many it is an approval void where they are hoping popularity or relationships can fill that void.
The crazy thing is, the void is never filled. You always want more, need more, desire more. These issues are not new. They actually date back all the way to Old Testament times in the book of Genesis. In chapter 29, we meet a woman named Leah. The story of Leah is honestly a super sad one. Jacob comes to the area and falls in love with Leah’s younger sister, Rachel. Jacob agrees to work for their dad, Laban, for seven years in return for Rachel’s hand in marriage. After seven years, Laban falls through on the deal and actually gives Leah as the bride. Like, how do you feel if you are Leah and your new husband wakes up to find you and be sorely disappointed?
Jacob is furious and confronts the dad. Laban agrees to give Jacob his other daughter, Rachel, in return for seven more years of marriage. Of course, Jacob loves Rachel more because that is how he has felt from the beginning. “When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, ‘It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.’” Genesis 29:31-32 NIV
Leah had a void. She desperately longed to be loved by her husband. She thought that by
having children, she would win his affection. “She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, ‘Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.’ So she named him Simeon. Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, ‘Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.’ So he was named Levi. 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: 33-35 NIV
Leah longed to be loved, wanted, and seen. She truly believed that she could find her identity and love if she could win Jacob’s affection through childbearing. However, this did not fill the void in her heart. She continued to have children and she continued to long for more. Finally, on the birth of her fourth child she realizes what she has been longing for the entire time. Not love from Jacob. This could never truly fill the void. It was only the love from God that could complete her. As she gave birth to her fourth son, she named him Judah. Judah means “praise” and finally she was at the place in her life where she realized that God loved her, God valued her, and God saw her.
And God, in such amazing and redeeming fashion, uses this to affect all of eternity. For from the line of Judah, comes the only One who can fill our void: Jesus Christ.
This world will leave us longing for more. More achievements. More acceptance. More
approval. More things. But the only thing that can truly and fully satisfy our longing is to rest in our relationship and identity in Christ. He loves us. He values us. He sees us. We can rest in that.
“For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness.” Psalm 107:9
Do you feel like you are always longing or hungry for more? Do you think that you are not good enough and have to do more to be valued by others? Do you always wish you were one step ahead, one step down the road? Trying to fill the void you have on your own is exhausting.
Rest in Him. Find your peace in Him. For He alone can satisfy and fulfill.