Audrey Asks: On Caffeine, Results, and Jesus

coffee A few months ago, Audrey woke up especially early with some especially irritating questions. There was a whole string of them right in a row, but because I was still in my early morning stupor, I only caught one or two, and that was enough for me. Kid, do you not understand that accusatory and judgmental questions do not fall into the “love each other” category? But seriously, judgment and criticism before 9am? That’s just CRUEL AND UNUSUAL. I mean, I know you’re still learning but HAVE I TAUGHT YOU NOTHING???

Audrey: "Mom, why do you drink too much coffee?"

Me: "Well, because momma wouldn't be able to get moving without it. Kids have way more energy than grownups, so we have to drink coffee to make up the difference."

I was astounded at my own immediate clarity in explaining the situation so aptly and succinctly. My kids could run circles around me, and they do daily, and therefore I have to fuel up so I can actually catch one of them when I need to.

Also, coffee helps me to be kind. A 7:30am Katherine sans coffee is more like a groggy-but-still-terrifying grizzly bear than a sane human being. I need some help from the Holy Spirit, but I also need a practical, immediate, physical boost in the form of liquid caffeine. After all, didn't God create coffee and declare "it is good"? Well then, I give a resounding "Amen"! I, for one, am not going to argue with our creator. Or science. Did you know that a scientific study found people who drink two or more cups of coffee a day are far less likely to struggle with depression? Among other things, I drink coffee for my mental health.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I sincerely hope that one day we don't discover that caffeine is as harmful as nicotine and coffee breaks become what cigarette breaks are now: cancer-causing and taboo. But I have friends who are already predicting such things and are making preventative life choices to be ahead of the curve. Can I just say I'm willing to take the risk? I'll wait for the actual scientific evidence to catch up with my health-conscious friends' hunches before I do something as drastic as cutting out coffee. The truth is, I really can't afford to until my kids are at least into their teens and are sleeping past ten. Some things are just not in the cards for me.

I have this thing in the morning where once my coffee cools off enough not to give me 3rd degree mouth burns, I just gulp it. It's like I can't get it down fast enough. It literally frustrates me that the pace of caffeine intake is this slow. (No one ever accused me of being a patient Penelope.) It's almost disturbing, the voracity with which I consume the brown, sludgy liquid.

Some might call this a problem. I look at my life and see coffee as the solution to many of my problems. Just a difference of perspective.

The fact remains, however, that the greedy guzzling of coffee is a seemingly innocuous symptom of an underlying disease: I am greedy for results. I NEED to see them NOW. I have no patience for the process of things that leads to eventual results. I hate going to the gym. It feels completely futile because when I look in the mirror after a couple trips there, I am shocked to find those 2 classes didn't make me look like my fitness instructor. Not even close. I look like a mom of 2 babies who has a very close relationship with ice cream and my couch. (I'm not ready to break up with them yet, by the way, so don't even try an intervention.)

Even with school, it's been 3 weeks and while most teachers are still softly introducing the actual curriculum, I'm looking for measurable progress in reading & math (now, you fellow homeschoolers and teachers please don't get your panties in a wad because I know a classroom of 25 kids is different than me teaching one kid, I'm just being open about my struggle). The fact is, it's not fair to myself or my daughter to be looking for results just yet. I should really count it a victory that we haven’t had an all-out mutiny against sight words, but I digress…

This obsessive pursuit of results is a direct contradiction to the person I’ve dedicated my life to following. Jesus is not the results-maker. He’s not the fixer, not the productivity star, and certainly not the model of our idea of success. His life runs on a different, upside-down track.

Think about Jesus in the wilderness, when Satan comes to tempt him. Turning stones into bread? That would’ve shown results. Jump off the temple and let angels catch you? The results would’ve been awe-inspiring, if only for the moment. Gain all the kingdoms of the world just by bowing down to Satan? Yes, that would’ve been easy, and certainly “all the kingdoms” is a heck of a lot of results. But Jesus said no. He says no to taking the easy path. He says no to showing off, and trying to prove himself for others. He says no to the seemingly successful route. Why? Because he knows his father and he trusts him. His eyes are on his father, not the results. You better believe it took monumental patience to endure lashings, slow suffocation, and relentless jeering. But then look what happened that next Sunday morning.

You see, God is advancing his Kingdom. Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we will see spectacular results: transformed lives, broken chains, healing, and restoration. But we’ll miss it if our eyes on the results instead of Jesus himself. If I’m focused on the results, I’ll miss Jesus. And that would be a tragedy. Jesus, the actual person, is the prize I'm running for.

So I’m going to try to savor my coffee a little more, and maybe just take one step at a time, eyes on Jesus.