Thursday, April 6, 2017

Thoughts on the 32nd day of Lent...

I don't usually practice Lent. I haven't participated in giving up anything during that time in the past, but instead just focused on reading scriptures about Jesus' life during the time leading up to his crucifixion. But this year, I felt compelled to do more. I began to pray about what I would give up, knowing that I was being called to do so. I considered a social media break, but knew that wasn't it. And then one afternoon while sipping my favorite cup of coffee (Shout out to Purdy's Coffee!!), I felt the Holy Spirit say "this is what I want from you. Give up your coffee".

To be honest, it seemed odd to me. I'm not the girl who wakes up and has to have coffee to get going for the caffeine. In fact, I rarely drink it right out of bed. However, I AM a coffee snob, and I love a great cup of coffee at the office while I'm doing my morning work. I relish in a nice warm sugar free vanilla latte in the coffeeshop after work, while doing my bible study or meeting with people. I really love a piping hot cup of coffee in the evenings after dinner, while watching the sun go down. I'm the girl that can drink the caffeine at pretty much any time and not have my sleep affected at all. I love the smell of coffee brewing and my brown butter chocolate chip  cookies in the oven because I know that means some college students are likely on their way over for Catan and fellowship.

Coffee to me means fellowship, conversation, relationships. It means Friday morning coffee dates with my husband, 1:1 time with ladies I get to meet with in a discipleship relationship, time with friends, laughter, chatting, deep discussions. Rarely do I associate coffee with quiet.

The first day of no coffee wasn't a big deal really. But then I found myself headed to the coffee shop to meet with someone and realized 'I can't get coffee!'. It felt awkward. I ordered tea I think. It wasn't the same. I found myself distracted. My first coffee date with Jeff didn't hold quite the same excitement as usual. I mean really... it's not really a coffee date without coffee, right? I sat sipping my tea or steamed milk and smelled his coffee and was a little sad.

It was about 10 days in when I realized why I was asked to give up coffee at all. It's two reasons really. One is this: I've been allowing the noise (and a lot of that is good stuff!) to take the place of quiet time alone with the Lord in my life. Giving up the coffee allowed me to see it in a way I'm not sure I would have before.  And the other is that I've made the mistake of placing more emphasis on what I'm doing and where rather than WHO I'm with. It's strange how a simple cup of coffee could remind me of my frailty and need for the Lord's Grace continually. But it has.

That's not the person I want to be. I'll be honest with you: I believe heaven will have coffee with the sweetest cream you ever imagined possible flowing freely. I believe I'll sip a cup and chat face to face with Jesus one day. But I don't think it will be the coffee that I'm enamored with. Heck, I don't even think it will be heaven itself that I'm so taken by. It will be Jesus. And if that's what eternity is going to look like, then why not start now?? Why not make Jesus more of my central focus here on earth, in every day, every conversation, every activity, every thought, every moment?

I want to be known as someone who is all in with others. I want my friends to know I'm available and interested and invested in them. I want my family to know I'm happy to sacrifice for them. I want my husband to know I'm daily trying to out-serve him. I want people to know that I'm really trying to be like Jesus- love like him, walk like him, serve like him. I'm spending my afternoons these days at home instead of in the coffee shop, so that I'm alone with the Lord. I'm sitting at my dining room table, talking with Him and hearing his voice in return. He is alive, I know for sure. I hear him so much more these days- not because he wasn't speaking before, but because I'd stopped listening as well.

This has been a good lesson for me so far. I'm leaning in close and listening to the Lord speak. I'm learning to truly relish the people I'm with more than the mug of joe in my hands. But on Easter, I'm looking forward to celebrating the Risen Lord while I savor every drop of a great cup of coffee. And I promise to not make that cup of java my focus. :)