“And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves’” (Matt. 25:8-9, ESV).
Have you ever felt like someone you know sucks the life right out of you?
That’s a real thing. Even Jesus was aware when the woman with the issue of blood had pulled vitality out of Him (Luke 8:46). That particular incident was a beautiful story of redemption. Restoration came to a broken woman after many years of suffering, rejection, and isolation.
So, clearly, sometimes it’s okay to let people pull energy out of you. However, what about when you observe a pattern that continually repeats itself? What about when that individual does nothing but suck life out of people? There are instances when we need to draw boundaries around the limited amount of energy reserves that we have, and protect them.
In the parable that Jesus gave us in Matthew 25, the wise virgins were the ones that had not only enough oil for themselves, but extra. Notice that Jesus did not condemn these wise women for refusing to share their oil with their foolish counterparts. Rather, He commended them and their wisdom.
Oil is one of the Bible’s symbols for the Holy Spirit. God wants us to live our lives full of the power of His Spirit, to “be being filled” with Him (Eph. 5:18). As we live this way, we will operate out of an overflow of life and strength. We will be freely receiving, and freely giving. He does not desire that we would be scraping by on a near-empty tank, pushing forward on fumes.
When someone in your life puts a demand on the energy that you have, lean in for God’s guidance. Find out if this is a Luke 8 moment, where the life inside of you is meant to bring strength to someone else; or if this is a Matthew 25 moment, where God wants you to say no.
It is entirely okay to learn to say no when you need to. In fact, it’s not just okay. It’s essential. Learning to set boundaries is vitally important for correctly stewarding your energy and the limited days on earth that God has entrusted to you. One day, you will give account to God for this stewardship.
In order to say “yes” to God’s best plans for you, it will always be necessary to say “no” to other time and energy drains. So today, please don’t feel guilty if you need to tell someone, in essence, “I don’t have enough oil for the both of us. I’m going to need you to go seek some for yourself elsewhere.” Holy Spirit wants you to know, you have His full permission and blessing to say a polite but firm, “No.”
Under His careful direction, protect the oil reserves you have today!
Do you have any thoughts to share on setting healthy boundaries around your time and energy resources?