But First, Coffee




Remember the blog I wrote, The Best Part of Waking Up? I think there is a common thread among moms and people in general about coffee. Its a big deal, isn't it. Why is that? If you take a look at your Instagram feed or even the end isles of a Target, you should recall seeing some shirt or mug with a phrase about coffee on it. 

I've been contemplating this specific blog topic for a couple of years now. I wasn't sure how to write it when I was still daily consuming my coffee. That is until a couple of weeks ago. But before I get into that, let me share more of my heart's desire in this message. 

For these years, I have been noticing the marketing of coffee and aware of my own love of coffee, I wondered if it had become an idol my life. Could I or would I willingly give up coffee? And if I couldn't give up coffee, what did that mean to me?

Morning time is commonly suggested to be the time to do the thing that you need to do the most. Its recommended to do a workout first thing in the morning. I am surely aware that many Christians would say that first thing in the morning is a really powerful time to get your quiet time in with God. Doing those things in the morning will set the pace for the day. It makes a lot of sense. But first, coffee. Coffee would not typically go with the workout but the coffee would probably be made for that morning quiet time. 

        I'm inserting a picture of a super simple quick word search of "But first, coffee" images. But you             can also shop for that on products too. I bet you see it a lot. It's trendy.

Type in "but first coffee" and you can see images like shown, or shop for all the items

How many of us are morning people? I wish I was! I'm not. I like my pillow a lot. For over a year, I was consistent about working out daily but not in the morning. I prefer to do things at night. Yet I see the value of reading the Word of God in the morning. I lost my rhythm on the working out and I miss it.

I think of an idol being something that I place more value on than God. The question of whether or not coffee was an idol in my life was swirling around for quite some time. 

I'm using the Moneywise app to get a better sense of my budgeting and wouldn't you know there is an automatic default envelope for none other than "coffee". Coffee is up there with things like mortgage and tithing for many of us. I am making a more conscious effort to select fair trade coffee and support small local business coffee shops and small batch roasters like the one my cousin works at in Chicago where I get to know its impact. I'm not a coffee snob by any means but I don't want my consumerism to contribute to human trafficking and greed. 

So with all this talk about how prevalent coffee is in my life and probably yours too, why on earth did I stop drinking it? Well, let's say it wasn't my first thought, but it actually kinda was. Right after Thanksgiving I was woken up with intense pain, and I mean it was rough. I couldn't get back to sleep for an hour waiting for the ibuprofen to kick in. That pain created a change in my coffee pattern. I didn't know yet what was wrong but with the help of  Google I got some ideas. I knew that hydration was going to be my best friend and I also knew that coffee was a diuretic. So coffee out, water in.  

By Monday morning, I was at urgent care and had a pretty strong confirmation that it was a kidney stone and it was my first experience with one. By then I had gone a few days without coffee. I was in physical pain and quite possibly had some caffeine withdrawal. Typically I already limited myself to one large mug of regular coffee a day and switched to decaf if I wanted more. I am prone to headaches and that was an adjustment I made a over 10 years ago when my headaches were way too frequent. Coffee still was a regular part of my daily routine though. 

Why does it take significant pain to get our attention for us to make a change? 

Coffee is really a small thing for me to give up but in our culture it sometimes seems like its on a pedestal. And one that I can't let get above God. 

Turns out I had and have kidney stones. By Tuesday of that week, I made it to the ER, which by the way was really overwhelmed. I commend the nurses and doctors and staff who are dealing with the aftermath of this ongoing Covid pandemic. The stone passed into my bladder before I really got into the actual room (it was really busy at both ER's I visited).I'm grateful that I learned that I had more stones which put a serious fear into me. I was so terrified of the pain that I didn't drink coffee for another 2 weeks, until today. 

After my urologist appointment I got some more info about the stones and I am not as afraid of an immediate release of the other stones. And I don't think coffee alone will be my worst enemy. But this little painful incident got me thinking about this coffee blog. Was coffee an idol in my life after all?

Here is what I learned about myself and coffee:

1. Not drinking coffee did not change my morning habit with God.
2. I gave up coffee when it was necessary without hesitation.
3. Coffee itself is not a current idol but it was a healthy exercise to fast from coffee.

My morning habit includes getting into the Word through the First 5 app. I read a devotion, the More Moments, and the daily passage that goes along with it in the Bible app. In the last couple of months I have been checking out the Guided Prayer in the Bible app as well. This morning time is not distraction free and its not before I start my day. Its kinda in the middle of the morning. I'm not a morning person but I have a strict policy with myself that I will not engage with social media until I have done my devotional. Its pretty simple, if I can't get into God's Word before connecting with the Gram, then something is clearly out of whack with me. I can't deny it. That is a discipline I have to keep myself in check including timers for any social media apps. 

While I technically read the Word at some point in the morning, it is still not my ideal goal of connection with God. Yet I do realize that God knows my heart and He wants my heart not my duty. I'm working towards authentically seeking Him. If a cup of coffee helps me settle into that time, I'm not sure that is so bad. How I choose to view myself and God is important. Do I see God as distant and unloving? Is there any sacrifice I can make that is worthy? 

God loves me. God knows me. And you too. His love for us is beyond our understanding. 

I decided to drink coffee again. Restricting myself from drinking coffee did not impact my relationship with God much. Its my daily sin nature that does that and my general lack of discipline. However, I will likely try to fast from coffee more often. I was surprised how much I did not overly enjoy that first sip of coffee after so long without it. It was probably because I used powered creamer instead of half and half but still. I know that God provides what is best for me and I can be fueled by His love and His Word.

I've heard of people quitting coffee before and just drinking tea. Do you love coffee too? Either way, check out that coffee shop, The Coffee & Tea Exchange in Chicago and support one of my family members and some other workers at a small business (they ship and he'll probably be the one to pack your order).  
I'm going to challenge you to consider what might be creeping up as an idol in your life. Some ideas that have crossed my mind include coffee, money, my kids, my comfort, status, my time.....the list could go on and on. Thank goodness we have a God who wanted to be in relationship with us so much that He sent His son to rescue us through the cross. Maybe my quiet time could be me sitting down and imagining myself drinking a cup of coffee with my best friend Jesus. 

God, thank you for the ability to see you as not just an amazing Holy God but also as a friend. You are three in one and its a lot to try and understand which I can't quite yet. But I know that Your Word is alive and speaks to Your desire to spend time with me. You already know me but You want to be in relationship with me. And often my experience in culture includes sharing a cup of coffee with a friend. Thank you for getting me through the pain of the kidney stone. Thank you that I know You will be with me during any future ones. You provide. You always have and You always will. Even when I can't see it Your working. That song is so true. I want to trust in You in the waiting. I want to believe when I'm struggling to believe. Renew my faith. I love you God. In Jesus name, amen.

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Thank you! God Bless


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