One of our greatest fears is that we will be appear selfish to others and mar the perception of a selfless, self-sacrificing woman who puts the needs of their loved ones and ‘others’ before her own needs.
We are more concerned about the outward appearance of our cup with its chips and cracks from service than the fullness of our cup inside where the water level is dangerously low, barely covering the bottom of our cup.
We have been culturally programmed, even in church settings, that being a good mother or Christian woman means you are always available for the needs of others before your own. We don’t want to mar our outward appearance of having it all together, but inside we feel empty.
I have taken great comfort this past year as I began to understand what Christ meant when He said:
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32)
The definition of the word draw in the Greek means to pull or drag, and suggests that there will be something inside of people, an inner force, that literally drags or pulls them to the foot of the cross. They may not even want to do it, but subconsciously are drawn to Jesus.
How will all people be drawn to Christ, to eternity and salvation? It will be through you and me because Matthew tells us that:
“You are the light of the world — like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” (Matthew 5:14)
When we are driving home late at night from a long journey, as my husband and I get close to home we start looking for the lights of our city that shine like a beacon into the night sky. In the same way we are to be a source of light radiating into our neighborhoods and community.
Elliot’s Commentary likens Christ’s disciples (us) to a ‘candle’ or ‘lamp’ shining in the world with a derived brightness flowing from the Fount of light. I appreciate the words ‘brightness flowing’ because it speaks of our cups being full of the fuel and energy needed to attract and draw people into the kingdom of God.
How do we get to this place where our light draws people in our neighborhoods and communities?
First we need to deal with things that can block our light.
In Christian community, I felt torn between doing something good for someone else or taking a break for myself to rest or read or go for a walk or putter in my yard and pick dead blooms off my plants. Mindless yes, but these small things fill my cup, make me feel better and my light somehow shines a little brighter.
It’s about being your own best friend and doing the little things that make you feel better and puts fuel in your tank, fills your cup and makes you shine brighter.
I am reminded of the parable of the ten virgins in the Bible. 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 for themselves when the Bridegroom arrived.
Let’s take an honest look at ourselves and recognize the situations in our everyday lives that burn the fuel in our lamp, drains our cup and deprives us of the energy we need to truly serve in our giftings. Let us discern when to say ‘no’ to others and their requests and say ‘yes’ to you and your personal needs.
We need our cups filled up in order to prepare us for the call and work of the bridegroom.
People are drawn, pulled or even dragged to us by the light within us burning brightly and evenly because there is fuel and energy in the reserves to give and serve wholeheartedly in our true callings.