Confession time: I enjoy affirmation. It makes me feel good. I seek praises from my family for cleaning the house, putting away laundry, or serving them in another manner. I desire compliments from my husband to boost my self-esteem. I post pictures on social media and constantly check for new likes or comments. I do the same with every blog or article I write.
I find encouragement in Genesis 16. I don’t have much in common with Hagar or her story, but I find the affirmation I desire in her interaction with God.
God promised Abraham a multitude of descendants despite Sarah’s barren womb. Years passed with no pregnancy. Sarah took matters into her own hands (oh, how I can relate!) and Hagar became Abraham’s wife to bear a child for the elderly couple. Hagar became pregnant, and Sarah was filled with contempt and abused her. I wonder how she felt when Sarah abused her? She did the work. She was obedient. And she received punishment instead of praise.
Hagar ran away to the wilderness, and there God revealed Himself. An angel of the Lord instructed her to return to Sarai and “submit to her authority.” (Genesis 16:9). He did not promise to talk with Sarah. He did not promise an easier relationship. He simply called on her to go back and remain obedient. Next, the angel said she would give birth to a son and would “name him Ishmael [God hears], for the LORD has heard your cry of affliction.” (Genesis 16:11). Hagar asked no questions (recorded in Scripture), but simply named God “El-Roi”, or “God Sees Me.” (Genesis 16:13).
Hagar’s story reminds me that even when I feel overlooked and unappreciated, God sees me. I am trying to lean on this truth. I look to God when I feel frustrated that no one seems to appreciate what I do at home. I turn to God when I feel lonely and am tempted to post on social media for the sole purpose of interaction. I lean on what I know is true.
God sees me.
God loves me.
God has a purpose for me.
Friend, the same is true for you! The next time you need affirmation, remember God is watching. He’s always watching. (It’ll make you smile if you say that in Roz’s voice from “Monsters, Inc.”!)
Do you struggle with a need for affirmation? I wrote about this a couple weeks ago, too. Obviously, it’s an issue of mine, ha! You can check that article out here. I’d love to hear your comments and struggles! Feel free to leave a comment or email me. You know I’ll be watching for them!