Faith&Spirituality, Writing Sample

Coffee Addict: Entrusting Your Tastebuds (and Your Life) to God

Coffee is incredible! I drink it every day: not because I’m addicted, but for the experience it brings. I don’t get a caffeine rush or energy boost that others claim to experience, neither does it keep me awake at night when I’m tired. In fact, coffee does the opposite for me. There is something in the comforting warmth and taste of coffee that can lull me to sleep more easily, which is funny given its renowned reputation for causing insomnia. I revel in the experience of coffee, of holding the warm mug in my hands, inhaling the scent of the fresh brew and indulging in the fullness of the cream and the satisfaction of the sweetness I can’t forego. Again, I am not a coffee addict. And yet, I absolutely love my morning coffee.

I think of what coffee has been for me in my life and of the memories it evokes, like going to Chapters or Indigo—my little heaven on earth—where the scent of printed pages mingles with the fragrance of the in-store Starbucks. As I browse the bookshelves, inhaling the pages of far-off lands and new information, my comforting coffee is in my hand, imprinting this moment to my mind forever so when I am at home pouring my morning cup of java, I can sometimes drift back to that moment and relive the creative literature and the ensuing feelings I’d thought forgotten.

Then there’s social get togethers: outings with a girlfriend over coffee, dessert at a wedding accompanied by coffee, baptisms, birthdays, celebrations of all kinds. Coffee just can’t be eliminated from these moments of connection and relationship.

When I first started acquiring the taste for coffee, it was with my boyfriend (now husband) who hadn’t yet acquired the taste himself. We were both students at College and University, so we’d often carpool into the city. In the dark hours of the morning, before sunrise, I’d prepare two coffees in the matching traveling mugs I’d purchased for us and then we’d drive into town and then ride the bus together, spending that quality time connecting while drinking coffee. Now married, sharing a coffee together is a special tradition of sorts. Every time we have a coffee together, I’m teleported back through time to those fuzzy feelings of new love and adventure. I’m that young woman being pursued by her charming boyfriend, excited by the idea of a future together and wondering at God’s plan for us. Needless to say, coffee has found a special place in my life.

But isn’t it just coffee? It’s hot water trickling over ground coffee beans, perhaps garnished by cream and sweetener. How can that be anything extraordinary? I don’t think it’s the coffee, or the cream, or the sugar that illuminates a moment of joy, peace and comfort at its delicious consumption. It’s the divine properties of God’s grace as a gift to our lives and our experience of a full life that is so spectacular!

In a culture of weight loss, diets and food restrictions—even whole food group eliminations—we forget how wondrous food and drink can be. We see foods, especially sweet and fatty foods, as these toxic poisons to be feared and mastered. Hunger and cravings are demonized and clean eating is praised. There is a lot of good in choosing nourishing foods and drink for our consumption, for the various benefits we feel in our bodies. And there can be a need to avoid foods for the same improved sensations and functionality of the body also. But all of this has become generalized and prescriptive, almost always driven by the diet culture that says fat is bad and skinny in good (a multi-million dollar industry that profits off of the fears and obsessions they create…).

When we limit our true hunger based on a phone app or a calculated formula, we stop trusting our bodies and therefore refuse to trust in this wonderful and natural moderator created and gifted to us by God. We try to take control into our own hands, severing God’s direction from what the fitness industry tells us is best. And as a result, we miss those social experiences, those memories, those pleasurable treasures that can be celebrated with food.

Food and drink, when intuitively enjoyed, bring out the best in our health both mentally and physically. When trust is given back to God, we are free to live a full life without obsession or food fears. We can use informed discretion to better discern food choices based on how we feel instead of how macro manipulation can shape our bodily appearance. God didn’t create us to be a one size fits all. He created us each unique and beautiful in our own way. When we honour our emotional need to eat chocolate cake, we find satisfaction. When we honour our spouse by drinking that glass of wine after 7pm, we are building relationship. When we have nachos and salsa while watching a movie with the kids, we are cultivating connection, creating new memories for our own children.

So I’ll drink my coffee with its cream and sweetener and relive moment after moment of those warm memories, as the comforting liquid warms me to the core. I’m not a coffee addict, but a woman who respects her body and her emotional and spiritual need for connection and joy-filled experiences. By honouring our bodies, we honour God and the people around us. Ask yourself how you can honour your body’s desire today and challenge the fears instilled in you by our society. Challenge the lies that imitate an illusion of control, then give that control to the One who cares most about your well-being. Trust and settle into the Unknown with refreshing, albeit foreign, freedom. Trust, inhaling the aroma of brewing coffee, feeling the warmth of its experience, the taste on your tongue, the elation in your mind and the smile on your face. Claim the moment with joy and thanksgiving and watch your life transform. When God is at the center of your every experience, you cannot do yourself harm.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it for the glory of God,” 1 Corinthians 10:31.

Thank you for reading and God bless!


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