I don’t drink coffee much at all. Anathema? Maybe to some of you. But with a propensity to fast heart rate/jitteriness as well as a family history of caffeine addiction, I have been very careful my whole life to avoid drinking caffeinated drinks regularly – preferably, no more than once a month.
Avoiding coffee, sodas, energy drinks and regular tea (I drink herbal tea and water almost exclusively) means that I rely completely on myself to overcome the energy slump. It also means that I need more sleep than people who can grab a cup of joe in the morning. Well, I don’t biologically need more than they do, but rather I need sleep more to function as effectively as coffee drinkers do.
I reserve caffeinated coffee for special occasions. Sometimes this is reasonable, such as a long drive at night. But the other special occasion is… when I want to be happy.
Because my mood is severely affected by how much sleep I’ve had, having a cup of coffee cheers me up immensely and makes me a better companion. So if I’m feeling down, I often drink coffee at a party or at a social event to pick me up and make me cheerier. If I’m having a bad day, I turn to coffee. (I’m probably weird in this, since most people drink coffee more often. This is a personal problem, not one I think anyone else has with coffee).
Do you realize what I just admitted? If I said that I drink wine or beer to make myself feel better when I’m sad, your ears would probably be pricking up in concern. But when I say I drink coffee when I’m depressed, you don’t bat an eye.
While I’m probably alone in using coffee for this, we do this all the time with food, chocolate, tv, movies, too. And, of course, there’s nothing wrong with curling up in front of a good movie at the end of a rough day, especially since sometimes it just helps you to rest, unwind, and the problems in your own head prove to be nothing important once you gain some perspective and some rest.
But sometimes I use it to pretend that my problems don’t exist. To avoid them, ignore them. I did this all the time when I struggled with OCD. And I catch myself doing it now sometimes – in weird ways, like reaching for a cup of coffee before teaching instead of praying about teaching. Instead of leaning on God as the first line of defense, I turn to something else. It could be coffee, it could be a treat, it could be a favorite tv show – but something innocent and fun is turned into something insidious and dangerous when it means that I ignore God in that moment.
What else is in our lives that seems so innocent and normal, like my drinking coffee, is our favorite stronghold?
But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.
Receive New Posts in Your Email
Receive New Posts in a Reader
View more photos >