It started months ago when I came to the realization that I drank too much coffee.
Not only did I drink an average of 5 cups a day, my mugs were huge and I knew that I had become a slave to my morning, I'm-up-at-5-am-need-to-get-awake cup(s), my afternoon, when-the-kids-are-napping-(my-sanity) cup(s) and evening, warmth-before-bed-while-nuzzled-up-on-the-couch-reading cup(s). You see the problem already, don't you? I love coffee.
I also noticed that I was really lagging in the afternoons (which is why I often had 2 cups in the afternoon) this really made me tired and I felt like napping. Wondering why I was so tired- I even took a couple pregnancy tests thinking it was the pregnancy fatigue! (and I say a couple, because I've had 2 false negatives!) Negative. Negative. I also asked for blood work to be done to make sure everything was okay. I talked to God about how I physically felt as I honestly thought something might be wrong. Turned out, I was healthy and not pregnant. However, I did hear God whispering to me, "It's the coffee." Nah! So I kept on.
A friend of mine mentioned that she was feeling nudged to stop drinking coffee too. I was alert to her why's and how's. But still I kept on- I couldn't stop drinking coffee, I loved it too much!
One thing I started realizing (and trust me it went on for awhile) was that when I sat down to drink a cup, it was irritating when my coffee time was interrupted. Do I need to remind you I have an almost 4 year old, a 2 year old and a 1 year old?! OF COURSE I will be interrupted! Even when the children are supposed to be napping, they always find ways of getting my lazy butt in their rooms to (hug, kiss, pat, hold) them and if it's Henry who decides I can't have a coffee break now, it can be thirty minutes before I return to my finest cup of COLD coffee. (Maybe that's why I always make myself 2, just in case I can't enjoy my first hot?)
I say this like my children know that I am having my afternoon coffee break and they are trying everything in their power to ruin my day! Isn't that how it feels sometimes though? I can assure you, your children are not trying to ruin your day, maybe just desiring love, assurance, security or affection from you. Yes there are days my children are just messin' around, making bad decisions which involves me showing some discipline, but I treated my coffee break like my time in front of the altar of God. It was too important. I loved it too much.
One day, about two weeks ago, I was crying to God about His plans for my family. I was asking Him to ask much of us, to send us out to the battlefield, to show us how we can be radical for His name's sake. And this is what He told me,
"Leanne, I have asked you to do something simple, and you still have not done it."
I bawled. I knew exactly what it was. God wanted me to stop drinking coffee- maybe for a season, maybe for a lifetime. "Okay, I surrender." And so I did. April 29th was my last cup of coffee until today (I'll explain later.)
The thing that I really learned from all of this was this: God asked me to give something up, not because He wanted to take something away, but rather He wanted to FREE me from it. There is a huge difference!
Our God is a jealous God and not in a bad way, but in a perfect way. He doesn't want us to fall idol to anything. He doesn't want us to love something so much that it leads us to sin, carelessness or lack of worship to Him. He wants all of our hearts.
Now, this might sound silly to you considering my idol in this blog post is coffee. Did I love coffee more than I love Jesus? Absolutely and obviously not! BUT the importance I placed on getting my hot cup of coffee in 1-5 times a day was changing my attitude and therefore my behavior with anything or anyone who interrupted it, namely my children.
God wants me to love my children above coffee, and if the absence of coffee can make this little world in the Reichhoff home a better place that honors God with more of me, than God will show me what has too much importance in my life... for me at this time, it is coffee.
He was also freeing me from the fatigue I felt that coffee left. Now, I'm not saying at all that drinking coffee is a sin or shouldn't be done by Jesus followers- so please don't take any of what I'm saying that way. But God does reveal our idols to us and asks us to dethrone them. Idols come in all shapes and sizes- even in the shape of a coffee mug.
God is good. He is kind to show me what has enslaved my heart and my life. He is merciful to reveal to me an idol that I am worshiping and He is freeing me from the physical and emotional dependency coffee gave me. At first I was really sad that I had to give it up, but when I realized God was actually freeing me to love Him and my children more and free my body to more energy and endurance, then I realized how wonderful the choice of obedience was!
...Now to explain my cup of coffee today.
It was my first time sitting down with the Lord in a week because of company over. It was a coffee sort of day. I headed across the street to the organic store for a cup because I had no half-n-half (and what is coffee without it?!) and came home and got comfy in my leather recliner with my Bible open.
I asked God right away, Am I sinning? It's only one cup, and I haven't had one eleven days. But I missed it and thought one couldn't hurt. Well, it didn't "hurt" but I felt conviction that it wasn't time and then my devotional that I read with coffee in hand is this:
"Beware of the tendency to ask the way when you know it perfectly well. Take the initiative- stop hesitating- take the first step. Be determined to act immediately in faith on what God says to you when He speaks, and never reconsider or change your initial decisions. If you hesitate when God tells you something, you are being careless, spurning the grace in which you stand." ~ Oswald Chambers, Utmost For His Highest
God speaks to us all in different ways and asks different things of us and Jesus speaks to us in the big moments and the little moments. He not only wants us to listen and obey in the moments of grandeur but also in the ones no one else might notice.
This devotional was one of a few ways that God confirmed what He said in the beginning and that was to not drink coffee for a time. I'm not sure how long, but as a believer I need to heed to His words and delight in His wisdom.
God has asked me to stop drinking coffee for my good not because He's mean and wants to take away something I enjoy. I'm thankful that although I don't always understand, I can truly trust in all that He says.
Jesus, help me to conform to Your ways. Help me delight in Your words even when they seem hard or feel like I'm missing out on something. Give me strength when I desire a cup and fill me with the satisfaction that only comes from You Jesus. Amen.