I am not having a particularly good morning. There were logistical challenges as we attempted to get the day started, and I have had to tackle them without my customary 2 cups of morning coffee. The first is generally drank at 6:30 when I finish my morning workout (Yes, I hydrate first most recently with coconut water). I drink the second with my breakfast around 7:30. However, this is the first day of Lent on the liturgical calendar, and as I realized how utterly dependent I am on my morning cup of Joe, I decided to give it up for the next 40 days.
For the record, we are not Catholic. We are what I refer to as “raging Protestants”. If I had to pigeonhole our approach to the faith, I’d characterize it best as “Reformed Arminian“, which sounds oxymoronic on its face, but it isn’t. Nevertheless, I appreciate the opportunity to engage in a sustained period of disciplined and conscientious depriving of the things my flesh holds dear. Lent provides the perfect opportunity to do this as a lead up to the commemoration of the event which is the lynchpin on which all of Christianity rests: the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.Here is a pretty good exposition on why it’s okay (really!) for Protestants to observe Lent. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…
By 8:00, I was missing the coffee a great deal, finding myself thinking about it every five minutes. Every scatter-brained or impatient moment, I blamed on the fact that I didn’t get my morning coffee. In reality, I was feeling fine. I am certain the headaches of withdrawal will kick in by Saturday, but the problems this morning? They were all in my head, revealing to me the depth of my psychological adherence to the belief that I need my morning coffee to get the day started off right.
There are plenty of other things that I consider essential to my day: Prayer, Scripture, exercise, etc. However, I never feel as if my day is off to an irredeemably bad start if I miss one of those first thing in the morning. It is only coffee which I felt I had to have to get off on a good foot.
In other words, coffee is exactly what I need to take a nice long break from because my dependence (whether real or psychological) makes me a slave to it.Something is inherently troubling with the saying -and I do sincerely and frequently-, “I can’t think that hard. I haven’t had my coffee yet.”
Whether or not I should resume my customary morning cup of Joe after Lent is a consideration for another day; at least 40 days from today. For today, I am being reminded of a valuable lesson:
Don’t be a slave to anything, no matter how harmless it may seem.