“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.” (Matthew 25:1-2)
Women are like oil lamps, when the oil runs dry, you can’t get fire.
For years I resigned myself to ‘life by default’ where I went through the motions of dealing with whatever life handed me that day.
There was never enough time to just rest, relax or enjoy a good book.
Over the years, people-pleasing burned a lot of oil from my personal lamp. And, although it looked nice on the outside, I learned that it really was a way to avoid dealing with unresolved issues in my life.
I ignored my emotions and what was going on inside and tried to make myself feel better by giving my attention and energy to things and others.
But the parable of the virgins goes on:
Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps, The foolish ones said to the wise, ’Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out. No, they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both of us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves’ (Matthew 25: 5-9)
The foolish virgins who did not take enough oil for the night asked if they could borrow oil from those who had. The wise virgins said no, because they would not have enough as well.
As a people pleaser, I would have given them my oil and ran out myself. This was how I lived my life for years.
People pleasing disconnected me from my feelings and what was really going on in my life. It robbed me of opportunities for personal growth and I crashed and burned later in life.
The five-foolish virgins were not criticized for sleeping but for being unprepared as oil could be purchased at the market. It was available to anyone who needed it.
We must learn to nourish our soul drop by drop. We can only collect and prepare oil for ourselves. We cannot get our personal oil from anyone else.
It is our job to build up our oil supply by paying attention to our mental, physical and spiritual health. Nourishment is so much more than the food you put in your body.
“The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come to meet him!”
The dark side to people-pleasing is that we repress or ignore our own needs. Remember our feelings and emotions are messengers trying to tell us something about ourselves.
When we loosen our grip on people pleasing, we will have more time on our hands and it will feel awkward.
Use the time wisely to build up your oil supply.
We can be foolish or wise.
It is our choice whether we keep on giving and giving until we burn out and have nothing left when we are called upon for something beyond the usual. In the case of the foolish virgins, it was the bride groom arriving at an unexpected time.
Don’t feel guilty about nurturing the light within.