If you have met me in person most likely I was holding a Starbuck’s cup. I love non fat latte’s. Night and day I have been a coffee drinker since I was in my early 20’s. I remember the day I drank my first cup of coffee working in the offices of Disneyland.
Lent was not part of my tradition growing up. I was a Baptist. Over the years I have had friends who gave something up but I always thought “not for me.” Then I started reading Wonderlust by Margaret Feinberg. I was inspired by her story to give it a try. Something deep within said just try. I am desperate for more of Jesus in my life.
Lent sometimes is viewed as more of a Catholic tradition but many denominations practice the discipline of Lent. It is a season of preparation for Easter. It is a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time to focus on Jesus.
After prayer and contemplation I decided to give up coffee. Three days later I took a 3 week food styling job requiring me to get up at 4:30 am every morning. I almost gave up. Ove those three weeks I did give in one or two days. But the funny thing is the coffee didn’t taste as good and it didn’t satisfy me.
There have been little moments from God throughout this time of fasting from coffee. One night I was getting ready to buy popcorn for my nephew when we were at the movies. I asked him if he wanted a soda. “No, he replied, I gave it up for lent.” “Me too, I gave up coffee, I said. He gasped. It lead to a sweet little interchange about God and how He met us in our sacrifice, small as it might be.
When I went to their open house last week I smiled when I looked up and saw a bulletin board of cards saying what they were giving up. I love that they are experiencing this at a younger age. They are thinking about things like this in Jr. High. His teacher was so cool and is capturing the hearts of her students. I wish I had been more spiritually focused at that age.
I don’t believe fasting or giving things up for Lent makes you more spiritual. I did find people have a strong reaction against Lent. I was mocked several times, which only strengthened my resolve. I have always been the rebellious PK – this time by fasting for Lent.
What I Learned During Lent
Fasting turns me toward God .When I crave a cup of coffee it prompts me to pray and seek God. It is good to seek Him instead of the comfort I derive from a warm latte.
Fasting builds discipline. As a creative sould I struggle with discipline and this built a spiritual muscle I want to maintain. Yesterday when I really wanted to order a latte I thanked God for the discipline I was building.
Fasting is a tiny glimpse of sacrifice. In a world where we get what we want, when we want, it is good to deprive ourselves. I have become a selfish single person and I want to live a life includes serving others, serving God and not focusing so much on me.
Fasting saved me money. I am working towards being debt free. My daily cup or two adds up to a big sum of money that would pay off more than a few bills.
Fasting gave me focus. Taking this little step of faith has focused me on a larger scale. I solidified a daily quiet time with God and time spent reading books that encouraged my spiritual growth.
Fasting forced me to face my feelings. I realized many times I turn to coffee for comfort and out of routine, not because I even wanted a cup. It had become a security blanket.
As we enter the last days of lent I find myself craving a latte more. I expected the hardest part to be at the beginning. My discpline is being tested daily. I know I could have one and the world won’t come to an end. God won’t love me less or judge me. Each time I have that craving and chose to not order a latte, my discipline muscle gets a little bit bigger. That makes me happy. It makes me feel like I can conquer bigger things. I want to apply this discipline to other areas of my life.
My time of fasting from coffee for lent has been life changing. Fasting is certainly biblical. The Bible is filled with stories of fasting. Esther called everyone to fast and prepare before she took a giant leap of faith. It is one tool in our spiritual toolbox. There are times in our life when we desperately need the Lord and it is a good way to strip away the things we go to instead of God. My time has brought me closer to the Lord and I am excited to continue to grow.0