So my coffee (and drink) fast has ended. Whoohooooooooo! And I'm still tickin' to boot! I truly envisioned this being the end of me. Coffee is like my deal, my total deal. But I did it and here is what I learned:
1. Coffee is my evil little crutch. I drink coffee when I'm tired, stressed, unnerved, excited, you name it. I can find any and all excuses to have a cup. It makes me deliriously happy. I used to think that I NEEDED it. Now, it is no longer my necessity. It is my luxury. Without the caffeine fix, I was forced to rely on God. I ended up praying like crazy. I praised more. I got frustrated less. God trumps a cup of joe any day.
2. The value of a dollar. Since I value coffee and how it gives me insane amounts of energy, I justify its cost all over the place. Just a $1.64 here. Just $6.73/lb there. I estimated that I saved $61.20 in 40 days from the fast altogether (including teas, milk, juice.) That's a lot of money chuggin' down my tubes. Now that's $61.20 to provide clean water around the world.
3. Fasting is not to be a public thing (Matthew 6:16-18). I hope you know that I wouldn't have gone public with this had I not been spotlighting the cause of Blood Water Mission. It is a private thing between God and an individual for the purpose of growing closer to Jesus. Any attention drawn to myself makes the fast for naught. The point is to take our eyes off of ourselves (our comforts, our world, etc.) and look straight into the eyes of Christ.
4. God came near. Gosh, did He love on me. His Word kept leaping off the page like it never had before. In quietness and submission, He spoke. I heard his voice in my heart, telling me to do all sorts of strange things. Write this person. Go pick up that elderly man on the side of the road. Read what I have to say about Justice Praise. Pursue this dream. Bury this sin.
5. The 40 days never ends. Fasting is not just a one time deal. It's living out humility, denial, and sacrifice to serve others. Isaiah 58 says that fasting loosens chains of injustice, sets the oppressed free, breaks yokes of slavery, provides for the poor, feeds the hungry, clothes the naked. Fasting is not turning your back on your own flesh and blood. There is power in a fast that I can't even begin to understand.
6. God cracks me up. A day after committing to the fast, Einstein Brothers' Bagels sent out a coupon for free coffees every Friday. Two days after, I received a belated birthday card from a dear friend in Korea. In it? A Starbucks card. Three days after, my sister in law told me she had also gotten me a coffee related gift for my birthday. Come on now, really? I was like bombarded with free coffees left and right. Not to mention our son kept chanting, "Sah buck Sah buck" every time we drove on by.
So, the 40 days ended with a bang on Easter morning. And I savored every bit of my tall Starbucks regula with extra cream and extra sugar (to the applause of our kids in the backseat.) The fast wasn't easy, but it was worth it. It was worth it to know that Jesus really can come near, to even me, without a coffee cup in my hand.