Wednesday, October 26, 2011

caffeine free me

A couple of years ago I heard Lysa Terkeurst speak about fasting.  She mentioned seasons in her life when she had fasted from television {completely???  not even one innocent little episode of house hunters?}...
and from sugar {by sugar - you mean plain raw sugar, right?  nutella and apple pie would surely be ok}.

If I'm honest {and I am} - when I first heard these accounts of self-deprivation I thought they were a little extreme and completely unnecessary.  But something about her confession kept echoing in the corners of my mind.  There was an honesty and confidence in her voice when she explained that these were things that were separating her from God.  They were things that were keeping her from being completely dependent on him.  She encouraged us to think about things in our own life that may be of greater comfort or desirability than a complete reliance on our Jesus.  

It took less than 10 seconds for the words - 'sweet tea' - to enter my consciousness. 

I pretended to ignore it at first.  I'm a southern girl brought up on sweet tea.  What could possibly be wrong with that?  But for some reason every time I pulled through the McDonald's drive-thru to order a large sweet tea {they're only a dollar...come on!} I felt this darkness come over me.  

I know it sounds ridiculous but the truth was - that sweet nectar of the gods was a good thing gone bad in my life.  

I started paying attention to my tea drinking patterns...  
feeling tired and unmotivated?  a sweet tea would pick me right up!
frustrated with the kids?  i deserve a sweet tea to make me feel better!
feeling overwhelmed?  all i need are a few syrupy sips and i'll just forget everything that's dragging me down.

Yep - this was a problem.  So leaning on the verse Lysa had referenced {philippians 4:13} I decided that I could do this sacrificial and ridiculously difficult thing in order to improve the quality of my life and my relationships.  It was hard {I'm embarrassed to say} but for a nearly three months I did not let my lips anywhere near a glass of sweet tea.  I found Lysa's words to be completely true...

I switched from feeling deprived to feeling empowered.

I gradually introduced sweet tea back in from time to time once I thought it no longer held a place of too much importance in my life.  

Fast forward a year and my new drug of choice becomes coffee {and the occasional sweet tea again, too!}.  Once again - not a terrible, awful thing, but I gradually became aware of my dependence on it both physically and psychologically.  

A few months ago I was experiencing severe headaches EVERY day {in the past headaches were a complete rarity for me}.  They were so bad that I seriously thought I might have a brain tumor.  My energy levels would dip so low that I would have to lay down on the couch to watch my kids play on an almost daily basis.  My moods would swing so severely that I could go from docile to raging in seconds.  

This time I knew...

caffeine had to go.

I kept putting it off.  I kept thinking I 'needed' it to get me through until I was in a more stable place from which to wean myself.  

did i really say that?  
i NEED it to get me to a more stable place?  

I was gently reminded that I already had a faith {no matter how weary and fragile} in a great God {who never gets weary and fragile} to get me to that stable place.  Caffeine ultimately wasn't going to cut it. 

I love the caffeine free me.  

It wasn't easy.  I had headaches and a few days of agony, but the turnaround came surprisingly quickly.  

More energy.  
No more afternoon naps.  
More playing with my kids and less watching them through blurry eyes.  
NO headaches.  
And probably best of all - patience...and a peace that penetrates my body, soul and mind.

Don't get me wrong - caffeine free me is NOT perfect. 

But I am certainly experiencing more abundance in my life now that I have kicked caffeine's crown to the curb and my real Savior is back on his throne.

What impostor god have you been bowing down to?

A few fun facts...
  • caffeine is the world's most popular drug
  • caffeinated beverages reach all tissues in the body within 5 minutes
  • short term effects of caffeine may include increased breathing, higher levels of gastric acid in the stomach, increased activity level, raised temperature, elevated neural activity, disrupted sleep patterns sleep patterns, headaches, jitteriness, rapid heartrate, and even delirium
  • long term effects may include insomnia, depression, anxiety, stomach ulcers, and reduced fertility