There are days when my cup runneth over and then there are days that no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to fill it with anything that lasts.
Last year I felt strongly prompted by the Holy Spirit to stop drinking coffee. When I say strong, I mean the kind of “STOP IT NOW!” where you know it’s not time to mess around. That very day I pulled out my hard earned Starbucks gold card and mailed it to my sister out in California. She was going to nursing school and desperately needed all the caffeine she could get. I should also mention that this happened about a week after my 40th birthday. Everyone knew Starbucks was the love of my life and had blessed me with gift cards. I was rich in Starbucks money. My card was truly gold. And it had to go. It was my way of drawing a line in the sand that day and saying, “Ok, God. I will do what you say.”
The days that followed were truly miraculous. If you’ve ever tried to kick a caffeine habit, you know the familiar headaches that come with withdrawal. I never had a single headache. God’s grace was all over this and even though I was exhausted, I knew He was carrying me. He showed me how I had been using coffee (espresso and lots of it) to prop me up and how it was actually hurting my body more than I really knew. I stopped eating dairy shortly after because if I couldn’t have half n half anymore…seriously, why bother? Ok, so I also had some food allergy testing and the dairy was amongst a long list of things that I needed to avoid. After a couple months I began to notice that I wasn’t having the sinus problems that had made my face hurt no matter how many rounds of antibiotics I’d taken. And I had taken a lot.
Fast forward to this year. I recently celebrated my 41st birthday with a trip out to California. While I was there I decided it wouldn’t be that big of a deal to have coffee. I actually prayed about it and didn’t hear a resounding NO…so I indulged knowing that it wasn’t going to become a habit. Good grief, it was my birthday! I was on vacation. There was a time difference. I wanted to enjoy my family with my eyes open. You get the idea. I had plenty of excuses and they were all really good. So was the coffee.
My husband drinks coffee in the morning. In fact, I bought him a Keurig for Valentine’s Day this year. He had been trying to stay off the coffee with me, but it wasn’t his line in the sand to draw. Just because we’re married doesn’t mean God asks both of us to do the same thing. Thank God, because when I left for California my man was a couch potato. While I was out there, he decided to take up running. I came home to a runner. God did not ask me to join him on his run. I cannot thank Him enough.
For the past few months I’ve been taking a sip or two of my man’s coffee in the morning. Not a big deal. It’s not like I drank a full cup. Ok, there were a few days that I made myself a cup…but not every day. It really wasn’t a big deal.
Until it was a big deal. Like about a week and a half ago when my lungs started bothering me again and the old asthma like stuff that isn’t really asthma hit me hard. I thought that was over…I thought God had taken it away, dare I say healed me. For good. What the heck?
While I was in California I watched my mother filling a large bowl of water for their dogs on the front porch multiple times a day. It was a big bowl and she was frustrated because it felt like all she did was fill that dang bowl. How thirsty could two dogs be when it wasn’t even hot outside? Finally, I asked my mom if she had checked for holes in the bowl. She assured me it couldn’t have any holes because it was made out of metal. She had learned her lesson with a big plastic water dish when the grandpuppy chewed it to pieces. But even as we talked I could see a wet area spreading out from beneath the metal bowl. My dad picked up the bowl and examined it a little closer. Sure enough, there was a small hole where the metal had rusted. My mom threw away the damaged bowl and replaced it with a large pot from her cookware cabinet. She wasn’t messing around.
It’s time for me to stop messing around. Time to stop flirting with something that I know I was told to “STOP IT NOW!” Again.
I’ll be honest, it’s been a rough week. I have a lot of questions…like why is it OK for everyone else to drink coffee, but not me? Why can’t I eat/drink the things I really enjoy without all of hell breaking loose? And even as I ask the question the thought occurs that maybe what I eat/drink is the crack in my self-made armor that makes me an easy target for my enemy. After all, I’m not fighting against flesh and blood, but against a darkness that is bent on destroying me. The truth is that I never just want a cup. I want one every single day. I want it throughout the day. If I could have an IV bag with coffee put in my arm, I would do it in a heartbeat. I can’t get enough.
Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued… Ephesians 6:4 The Message
What I put in my body has the ability to build me up or tear me down. This is true for everyone. But for me, staying away from gluten, dairy, and coffee is a a weapon God has given to me to protect me and to set me free.
Christ has set me free to live a free life. So I’m taking my stand! Again. I declare that I will never again allow myself to make myself a slave to ANYTHING. Galations 5:1 The Message (paraphrase mine)
Time to stop messing around and plug the leaks so that we (God and me) can just get on with it already.
Can you relate? I welcome your comments and insights.