Cutting Coffee

Tim Horton’s is where it all started. The year is 2008 and I am in my second semester as a freshman at SUNY Plattsburgh. A friend boasted about and recommended that I try their "Iced Capp." When met with my taste buds, I automatically knew this would be a new convenient snack and beverage that I could ensure I’d drink more frequently. I mean, the shop was conveniently located on my study route after all. I didn’t’ t think much of it beyond it simply being a sweet and satisfying snack.

By the time senior year crept around, however, the desire for this snack and evolved into a need for daily cup of Joe.  Student teaching and observational hours warranted the commencement of each day with a cup of coffee. A sense of imbalance came over me when my day started any other way. Once college was over, I knew I would no longer need coffee. This quickly changed, as I had a new excuse –I was, now, a full time teacher and part-time grad school student. Busy schedules warrant coffee right? As long as coffee could get me through this Masters, I could commit to leaving it alone. That was evidently a lie I told myself because once September of 2015 commenced, my intake increased to (at least) 2 cups per day. I had reached a point where a day without coffee equated a day of misery. It was a drug and I began to recognize that.

I consciously made efforts to tell myself I needed to give it up. I would wake up in the morning and speak out loud "I will not purchase coffee today," only to find myself pulling out of the McDonald's drive thru or walking back to my car from Dunkin Donuts with a latte in hand. So often, I'd wonder "how did this happen?" No matter the amount of attempts to give up coffee, I was met with failure time and time again. Failure had become so common that I was almost willing to accept the fact that it could not be done. I could not give up coffee.

On March 1, 2017, I tip-toed into church a little bit beyond the 7:30 start of service. Upon locating a seat, I threw my hands in the air as a sign of surrender to God. During this immersion of worship, I also set my thoughts on what it was that I wanted to give up. "What could I commit to God for the next 40 days?" Without hesitation, he impressed upon my heart that I needed to rid myself of coffee. As difficult as I knew it would be, I did not fight it. Coffee it was. 40 days. . . and hopefully forever.

Day 1: I felt as though I could not survive beyond lunch. A throbbing headache clouded my thoughts. I was not teaching at optimal levels. I needed something; something to drink; something to get me through the day. I bought two cups of vanilla chai. Maybe I could trick my brain into thinking it was coffee. Yet, another lie had told myself. Day two was even harder and I felt like having a heart to heart with God where I would just apologize and tell him it was too hard. In preparing for this heart to heart, He quickly reminded me of my "why." I was giving up coffee because it would be difficult. I was mimicking the sacrifice of God. He suffered in the wilderness for 40 days. If Jesus could do it, then, I, too, should have been able to suffer in remembrance of Him. In refocusing, I realized I could do it, as long as I kept Him at the center.

Today, 45 days after making the decision to quit, I am so happy I did it. I am happy, I allowed myself to suffer through it. I am happy God reminded me that I can, indeed do all things through Christ. This is just confirmation, that there is nothing too hard for me to accomplish as long as I commit it to Him and remain focused.