No, not my relationship status. I’ve been (very) happily married for 17 years.
With coffee. Or, more accurately, caffeine.
On the one hand, I love coffee. The different varieties and their subtle differences. The taste. I roast my own and love geeking out on all the best equipment. (That I can afford, anyway). Nothing wrong with all that.
On the other hand, I’m not always sure who’s in charge. I’ve had headaches and gotten grouchy when I don’t get my morning joe. I’ve been late to meetings – and even church – in an effort to fit it in.
Maybe your relationship with coffee is complicated, too. Let’s talk about 4 reasons why it’s critical for us, to consume our coffee (or anything caffeinated) so it doesn’t consume us.
- Your health is at stake. I’m not cracking down so much on the amount of caffeine you consume. Experts think that adults can safely enjoy up to 400 milligrams each day, roughly equivalent to 4 brewed (8 ounce) cups of coffee. The bigger concern here is that we can push and push. And push. We can skimp on the 7-8 hours of sleep we need every night, do too much, and use caffeine to top off our (empty) tanks.
- Your integrity is at stake. God calls us to love him with ‘all our heart, and all our soul, and all your mind, and all your strength’ (Mark 12:30). The obvious takeaway is that all of us is supposed to love God, our bodies (‘strength’) included. There’s a lot of freedom in how much coffee or tea we drink, but it should be done thoughtfully and with an eye to whether our practices flow from a love from God and enjoyment of the gifts he’s given. Or, something else – like a dependency on caffeine.
- Your impact on others is at stake. All of us want to impact the people around us for good. Part of our ability to do that, though, revolves around our character and integrity. When people look at us and see someone worth following (however flawed), our influence with them grows. I don’t want to be legalistic here, but if we’re obviously dependent on coffee in an unhealthy way, at some point that can limit the respect people have for us. (Especially those of us who have kids). And, therefore, our ability to impact them for Christ.
- Your relationship with God is at stake. I know, it sounds like I’m being dramatic. I’m not… suggesting that your salvation is at stake. God’s got that, regardless of how much we fail (see Romans 8:28). But the quality of our relationship with God is related to the choices we make, just like any relationship is. If we’re routinely missing out on sleep in an effort to accomplish more, for example – and making up for that with caffeine – that’s actually a deeply spiritual, gospel issue. Will I find my value in my accomplishments, or, in what God has done for me once and for all at the cross of Christ? ‘He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy… whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior’ (Titus 3:5-6). When we accept our limits and rely on God rather than caffeine, we walk in step with him and the way he’s made us.
So to summarize, most of us don’t give much thought to our relationship with caffeine, but we probably should because there’s a lot at stake. When we handle even those unexamined parts of our lives with integrity, we benefit and our relationships flourish. Get My Top 5 Coffee-Related Resources!
Let’s live it out: Describe your relationship with caffeine. If ‘it’s complicated’, where do you see the effects most clearly?