C.O.F.F.E.E.

coffee

Coffee…six little letters…count them..six. So small..so insignificant, it should hardly merit a mention. But for me, it’s roots have burrowed deep in my heart. Maybe your six little letters don’t spell coffee. Maybe your letters spell Facebook, Candy Crush or Pinterest? Maybe they spell Amazon-I mean, who doesn’t love Amazon Prime? Maybe your letters are a TV show, a relationship, a glass of wine? Your six-lettered word is personal.

Over the past 9 months, I’ve been working consistently on my walk with God. I’ve begun to have consistent quiet times; working on my prayer life; reading inspirational and spiritually challenging books-even fasted. To say my six-lettered word came out of nowhere would be a lie. I’ve known, for a while, that I place an unhealthy emphasis on Starbucks, specifically, but coffee in general. It’s not a healthy relationship for my waistline or my financial, bottom line. But more than that, it was the one thing in my life that I clung to when I needed to feel ‘like me’.  I wasn’t clinging to God; I wasn’t praying. I was pulling into the Starbucks line to order a Venti, extra hot, soy latte. And sadly, sometimes, multiple times a day. At almost $5 a visit, 5-6 times a week-sometimes more; you do the math. When I was laid off from a 14+ year long career in pharmaceuticals where drinking Starbucks is almost expected and encouraged, it was the one thing in my unemployed state I could do and still feel ‘normal’. On days, when the financial cost of my habit would weigh on me, I’d make a not quite as satisfying cup at home and plot out when my next potential visit could be.

In the fall of 2016, I felt God leading me to do a 21 day Daniel fast. If you’ve ever read or participated in it, you know that one of the required things you fast from is caffeine…coffee. I made it 1 day. Ok, not even a full day. By that evening, I felt so bad physically I justified that in order to adhere to everything else, the coffee was just going to have to be ok. I completed the fast only with coffee. In my heart, I heard, consistently, that I needed to give it up but I didn’t want to. I justified. I explained. I rationalized that my 2 1/2yo daughter was struggling sleeping all night long and between that and the stress of looking for a new job-a new direction for my life, God would be ok with it. And the thing is, I fully believe God isn’t against coffee. He’s not against Amazon or Facebook or Pinterest or any of your six lettered words. He’s against what they become to you. What they cost and take from you that you’re not even aware of. He’s against his future blessings in your life being stolen from you by your six-lettered words.

A few months later in March of 2017, I began re-reading Mark Batterson’s “The Circle Maker.” I noticed in the front of his book something called “Draw the Circle The 40 Day Prayer Challenge”. From the beginning, you’re reminded that “if you want God to do something NEW in you, you cannot keep doing the same old thing.” Mark goes on to advice:

“pray about what to pray about. God will reveal a promise, a problem, or a person. Then circle whatever God has prompted you to pray for with the same kind of consistency with which the earth circles the sun.”

Sounds simple, right? So that’s what I did. I decided I’d begin my 40 days and ask God what to pray for. Believe me when I say, I have a lot of solid choices to pick from. Any one of them is worthy of a 40-day prayer circle and needs that kind of intensity of focus. But when I knelt before God, and I brought up my top 10 choices, assuming it would be one of them, that’s not what God said. God said 1 word..six little letters back. God said,

C.O.F.F.E.E.

Immediately, I felt the panic and heard my own mind saying, ‘no, God, I mean what do you REALLY want me to pray about.’ And God again, said ‘coffee’.  I knew in my heart He was right. I was flooded by examples from the Bible, the stories of others who had struggled with giving up their six lettered words like the rich young ruler who wanted to follow Christ, but not as much as he wanted his financial security.

Jesus’ reminder that God cannot pour new wine into oldnew wine into old wine skins wineskins because ‘if he does, the wine will burst the skins and the wine lost and the bottles destroyed, but new wine is to be put in new (fresh) wineskins.’

If I’m focused on giving my life to God and asking Him to use me for His glory, then I’m going to need a ‘fresh’ wineskin for God to pour himself into; which means, I need to lay my six-lettered word down before the Lord.

So, what is that one thing for you? What is your six-lettered word that is keeping you from what God wants to give you? Maybe the very thing He’s asking you to lay down is the thing that unknowingly is causing you the most harm? Since I have Crohn’s disease, maybe the coffee, is harming my body in ways I don’t appreciate; maybe Facebook or Pinterest for you is causing you to have low self-esteem because your everyday life doesn’t compare to someone else’s highlight reel; maybe Candy Crush is keeping you from engaging in meaningful, relationship- building, life-changing conversations? Maybe the very thing you’ve spent a life time praying about can’t manifest itself in your life because of the one thing you’re holding onto tighter. Letting go is hard. The only way to have the victory is to actually walk through the letting go, the giving up, the moving on. What initially feels like a loss might actually turn out to be your biggest gain. However, to receive it, you have to have your hands free to grasp it and take hold of it.  You must first lay down your six-lettered word. I hope you’ll join me. I’ll be praying for you as, I too, am laying down mine.

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