For the past month or so I have refrained from drinking coffee.
This was quite the undertaking for me since I regularly consume four cups a day. I always wondered if it was physically possible for me to give it up, but what actually got me to take the plunge was a Christian tradition called Lent.
Since childhood I have heard that Lent is a time when you stop eating sweets or drinking your favorite soda. And as a child, that sounded awful! I never had a good grasp on the reason for it…possibly just a churchy endorsement for New Year’s resolutions? It wasn’t until a friend explained it to me, that I saw Lent as good.
The Lent season is the 40 days leading up to Easter, when Christians celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead. During this countdown, you voluntarily give up something that you regularly enjoy (the fancy word is fasting). During Lent, whenever you would normally partake in that action/thing, you instead focus your attention on Christ & his love for you personally. But, on the sabbath (most commonly Sunday) you take a break and “feast” on the thing that you have refrained from as an act of worship to God, Jesus’s father.
So, here’s how it played out for me: I love coffee, I’m obsessed with it. I enjoyed every bit of it: purchasing it, making it, smelling it, sipping it, chugging it, then repeat! So naturally, coffee seemed like the first choice for my Lenten fast . Every minute I would have normally devoted to coffee, I instead had gaps of empty, quiet space. In those places I began to reflect over life, pray to God, read the Bible, & even take some naps. It surprised me how much time and attention I gave to these little caffeine-infused beans. Without it, I had much more time to worship, create, & rest. It was refreshing to refocus my time and attention on the God’s love for me—and for the world.
Now, by no means is coffee bad!. It’s actually really good for you. But it started to become an addiction in my life. I was not only addicted to the caffeine but also to the coffee-making ritual. It began to be the reason I got out of bed—and a material thing like coffee should never be the reason I get out of bed.—Not saying it can’t help me get out of bed!
The coolest thing about this “no coffee” journey was my sabbath feast. I took time out of my schedule to go to my favorite coffee shoppe & reflect over what I was learning about myself, my God & others during my fast. Sips from a beautifully crafted cappuccino fueled my journaling. I drank and cherished each beverage more deeply then I would regularly have. It was a great exercise of thanksgiving for everything that came to make each cup of joe, as well as life in general.
My fast from coffee concluded on Easter this past Sunday. Before I joined my family at our local church service, I brewed a cup of coffee. As I drank it, I was reminded of this great truth:
Through an amazing occurrence of events, the Creator of the universe allowed His son to be the punishment for all of the world’s wrong and injustices. Then, He brought him back to life so that the world could also live a restored and full life with God.
So yes, I actually did give up my coffee habit & learned a whole lot about myself and my God who created me—and the great drink that is coffee!