About two and a half weeks ago I was challenged to do something. My chiropractor has been talking to me for years about drinking coffee. He knows that I have been drinking way too much (several cups a day), and he pushed me once more to give it up. We talked about addictions and the health effects of coffee drinking. It is a diuretic, and without coffee I barely drink enough water every day already (putting aside the recent news that the minimum amount of water that have come up in the last couple of weeks). Long story short, he convinced me that coffee has been putting me in a water deficit. On somewhat of a whim that day, I decided to stop drinking it cold turkey (mmmmm…cold turkey).
Now, let me in on how big of a deal this is for me. I love coffee. I don’t just drink it because I like the caffine boost, which I do…decaffinated coffee is pointless to me. I actually love the experience of drinking coffee. Smelling it. Breathing it in. Tasting it. It doesn’t matter how hot the temperature is outside, a cup of steaming hot coffee gets my day off right.
More than this, I love coffee enough to be very picky about my coffee. It must be black (nothing in it), and it must be GOOD coffee. I am what some may call a “coffee snob.” I don’t like it from resturants, for the most part, and I usually feel like I have to make it myself to have a good cup. I will go out of my way to buy great coffee beans, and I even have a coffee pot that will grind the beans for me. I can smell the delicious aroma of great coffee in my mind as I write this.
I obviously have a passion for coffee. The problem was, and I agree with this, my passion was a borderline addiction. The other side of my love of coffee is the amount I would drink. I am pretty sure my average was hovering between four to six cups on a normal day, and possibly a lot more on some days, especially during the school year. This was not a healthy relationship with my beloved drink, to say the least.
It was hard, but I committed to stopping. On Facebook I gave updates on the progress every other day for the first week or so. My body took awhile to adjust, but it did. I stopped thinking about it. I stopped wanting it all the time. I was even able to make a pot for my parents when they visited without being overly tempted to drink some.
I made it from one trip to the chiropractor to the next, about two and a half weeks. I was very proud of myself, but something occured to me.
I had a sudden realization, I gave up coffee but somewhere inside of me I was always thinking about it…even if that thinking was only thinking about how well I was doing in not drinking it. This seemed odd to me, so I started to think about my motivation for not drinking coffee. As I did this, all I could come up with is that I drank too much and it kept me from drinking enough water. This did not balance out with my obvious love of coffee…something God created and is okay, in moderation.
A story about Peter in the book of Acts came to mind when he was challenged by God, in Acts 10. Summary of the story: Peter was praying, a sheet came down from heaven covered in animals, a voice said “Kill and eat”, Peter said, “I have never eaten anything unclean”, the voice said “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” The story goes on to talk about how God opened the Gospel to the Gentiles and did so through Peter (and Paul).
I know it is a bit of a stretch, but it showed me something in my approach to coffee. It was focus. There was no real, hardfast reason for me to give up coffee outside of the vague idea of too much coffee and not enough water. It made me think about coffee all of the time, even more so than I was thinking about it too much. Coffee is not a sin. It is not something to battle over my flesh with. I was fighting it in my own strength, and in doing so it almost made it want it more than I did before.
Here comes the big lesson. Sin. When I focus on fighting my sin on my own, in my own strength, I fail most often. I focus on the Law. The Law that makes me guilty before God. My reasoning is that I need to follow the Law and because sin puts me in a “deficit” before God. That is the WHY I am battling my flesh. This makes me focus on it even more, and more likely to fail.
I need to realize I do not have to fight against sin. I am dead to sin. I am dead to the Law. The Law was fulfilled through Jesus Christ. I do not have to battle my flesh to be made right with God. Jesus “balanced” my “deficit” with God. I battle with my flesh, not because I HAVE to, but because I now can, sin no longer has a hold on me. I can discipline myself now because I am free to and because I am given power to do so by the Holy Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead and who gives me the strength I do not have.
Coming back to coffee, I have decided to have one cup a day. No more. Less is okay. I will drink extra water on the days I drink coffee. It is no longer a struggle. I can have the taste I love, but it now longer has the hold on me it had. I am not focused on it because I now have a balance. Mmmmm…coffee.
This, by the way, is the inspiration for the name of my blog: One Cup of Joe.