Ahhh coffee. What would I do without it? Oh, wait. I am without it. For 4 days already. That’s right. I gave up coffee. Now, wait up. You gave up coffee for good? you may ask. Well, for good, yes, but not forever.
You see, coffee has always been the reason I wake up in the morning and the thing that keeps me going through the day. People that know me, know that I’m OBSESSED with it. The fact that I judge cafes and restaurants by the taste and quality of their vanilla lattes, should say a little about how much I enjoy this amazing drink.
Through my college years, I have become addicted to it. It has become what I NEED instead of what I WANT. My job requires waking up early, and school has just been difficult, so I depend on coffee to keep me sane.
The reason I gave this life saving thing up, is because of Lent. Yes, the mostly Catholic observance. A quick lesson: Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “lencten” which simply means “Spring”. Just an fyi (for your information), I am a Protestant Christian, and observing Lent has never been important in our denomination. But I am a curious person and I think that it’s great that many denominations observe it. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, alms-giving, atonement and self-denial. I believe that a Christian should always pray and repent of their sins daily, but the word “self-denial” caught my eye.
Lent is observed for 40 days before Easter. This year it started on February 10th and lasts until March 26th (46 days if you count all the Sunday’s). The original number of days that Lent was observed, was 40. The number “40” has always had special spiritual significance regarding preparation. On Mount Sinai, preparing to receive the Ten Commandments, “Moses stayed there with the Lord for 40 days and 40 nights, without eating any food or drinking any water” (Exodus 34:28). Elijah walked “40 days and 40 nights” to the mountain of the Lord, Mount Sinai (I Kings 19:8). Most importantly, Jesus fasted and prayed for “40 days and 40 nights” in the desert before He began His public ministry. All of these were important things that people in the Bible had to do before they began some sort of ministry.
But what does this have to do with coffee??
Coffee was something that I couldn’t live without. I wouldn’t give it up if I got paid to. In the Bible, it talks about Jesus saying “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). I realized that coffee was something that I was depending on to keep me happy, sane, fulfilled. And you might think, “it’s just coffee, Olesya.” And I’m okay with you thinking that. But for me, giving up something that I am literally addicted to, in order to deny myself and my fleshly desires, in order to follow Jesus, is a really big deal.
These past 4 days have been extremely hard. From constant headaches, that no pills can help, to not being able to stay awake at work, these days have actually been a God-sent. Every time I crave coffee, a little voice would say “wait, why am I doing this again?” And it always brought me back to Jesus.
It made me realize that actually, there are way more things that I am dependent on. My person, my life changer and savior, has not been the center of my life.
Whether it’s social media (this is a big one for me), a boyfriend or girlfriend, a TV show (so is this one), a kind of music, or even my example- coffee, if something is holding you back from surrendering your life to Jesus completely, my advice- give it up. Someone once said “If you gave something up for the Lord, tough it out. Don’t act like a Pharisee looking for a loophole.” The pharisees always looked for shortcuts and ways to show people that they’re “perfect”. Don’t do that. Surrender yourself before the Lord. If that means slowly giving something up and not all at once, do that. If that means talking to someone, do that. If that just means having a quiet moment with God every day, do that. But don’t let your fleshly desires keep you from completely serving and loving your Savior.
I have over a month left, and I know it’s gonna be really tough. But who said denying yourself was gonna be easy? Giving up coffee was just one small example, as I am constantly giving up my worldly pleasures for the Lord. But let me tell you, it is so worth it.