Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Ohhh…. (02/04/10)
TITLE: Confessions of a Drug Addict
By Ruth Thoutenhoofd
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The second thing is that I love coffee! I passionately look forward to that first cup every morning. I’ll nuke a cup of yesterday’s coffee while the fresh pot is brewing in the morning so I don’t have to wait until the whole pot is filtered to get that first gulp. I’ll have coffee instead of eating, but I’ll never eat instead of having coffee. I’ve known for some time that this isn’t all that healthy, but in the present Christian culture we have a few pet sins that we admit to rather fondly. One is over-eating (gluttony) and another is addiction to caffeine. I remember my godly mom joking that coffee might kill her but life wasn’t worth living without it!
In my quiet times with the Lord, I sometimes ask Him if there’s anything He wants to correct in my life. Many, many times in the last ten or so years I’ve heard a quiet voice whisper the word “coffee”. I knew what he wanted, but I pushed that voice aside with every rationalization I could muster. No one said a little coffee was bad for me and I assumed he just wanted me to give up something I loved for the sake of developing self control. I was willing to do anything else!
I’ve had a lot of headaches in the last few years and often they would wake me up at four or five in the morning. I’d have to give up and get out of bed because of them, sometimes throwing up because of the pain. I assumed they were migraines but since I only got them in the morning the doctor told me to do neck exercises, get my husband to massage my shoulders, and maybe get special pillow. I found that Excedrin would always easily take them away, but nothing else really helped.
One Sunday morning our pastor mentioned that the church was declaring a thirty day fast from anything individuals chose. I didn’t think much about it, definitely not feeling called to give anything up. (Food comes a close second to coffee in my list of necessary pleasures!) So Monday morning I grabbed my coffee and during my quiet time, told the Lord I probably wasn’t going to fast, since the church leadership didn’t seem that serious about it.
This time God’s voice was not quiet, nor was it possible to rationalize it away. He told me clearly and definitely to give up coffee for a whole month. I tried to argue with him but he was so forceful I didn’t even finish the cup I was drinking. I timidly asked if I could have a little tea sometimes and he kindly said “yes”.
That night, a headache woke me up at midnight and I took a painkiller. Again in the morning I needed another one. After that, for a whole month I didn’t have a headache. Not once. Not even a small one. Ohh…!!
I was a true-blue drug addict who went into withdrawal when a certain number of hours went by without my fix. The headaches were withdrawal symptoms and since Exedrin is laced with caffeine, that and my morning coffee always took the pain away.
I feel a little dense even while I write this. Why on earth didn’t I figure it out earlier? I am so grateful to my kind and loving Father who was patient with me for such a long time but finally laid down the law like I used to do with my kids when they were doing something that wasn’t good for them. God’s goal wasn’t to deprive me of something I enjoyed; he wanted to show me why I was sick because he loves me! It was the only way he could help me get to the bottom of my problem - one more opportunity to see his incredible love at work in my life.
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