“Black coffee is a synecdoche for life: when you eliminate the excess – when you deliberately avoid life’s empty calories – what remains is exponentially more delicious, more enjoyable, more worthwhile. It might be a bitter shock at first; but, much like coffee, a meaningful life is an acquired taste. Sip slowly and enjoy.” [the minimalists]
My mom always told me that black coffee and red wine are one in the same, they require an acquired taste. For years I walked into Starbucks ordering white chocolate mochas and skinny vanilla lattes thinking I knew how to enjoy coffee. The “coffee” I was drinking contained maybe two shots of espresso, countless pumps of sugary syrup, milk, whipped cream, and who knows what else.
Just months ago I loved my venti iced skinny vanilla lattes, as I filled my cup with empty calories I eliminated the bitter taste of black coffee. I used to take my life how I took my coffee. A little bit of substance masked artfully with a busy schedule, a few well-constructed social media accounts, and a whole lot of b.s.
If you’re anything like me, making the conscious decision to “avoid life’s empty calories” isn’t easy. Society tells us that the best thing we can be is busy and well put together. My sophomore year of college consisted of no less than seventeen credits per semester, one paid job, one volunteer job, and four clubs. If I wasn’t in class I working or volunteering, at the gym or cooking, doing homework or out with friends. I was filling my time, but my time was most certainly not being fulfilled. My cup seemed to be overflowing. As my eyes skimmed the side of the cup, I realized that all those filled in boxes were meaningless. My countless extracurriculars, whether or not I made dean’s list, how many hours I worked out, how big my paycheck was, or how many friends I went out with. All meaningless. All empty calories hiding the true substance.
Sweet friends, let’s get rid of the excess. “… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” [Hebrews 12:1] As we fill our lives with “excess calories” our progress is hindered. We continue to seek a meaningful life buried under excess crap and entangled by our sins. What lies below all of the empty calories “is exponentially more delicious, more enjoyable, more worthwhile”. Yes, life without all of these sweeteners and sins it bitter at first. It is hard to swallow and not instantly pleasing, but it gives you everything you need. John 14:8 reads “If God is all you have, you have all you need.” Simple as that. Walking with the Lord isn’t sweet and sinful, it’s pure and virtuous.
This past summer I began drinking my coffee black. I was disgusted at first, granted I was drinking camp coffee but that’s not the point. As the days went on I learned to sip my coffee slowly, to enjoy what it had to offer. I was slowly acquiring a taste for a meaningful life, one filled with the fruits of the spirit. You and I have the potential to be filled with “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” [Galatians 5:22-23] Consider this friends, Instead of filling our lives with “empty calories” we can choose to run the race marked out for us. A race full of authenticity, grace, love, and many more things not of this world.
So yeah, I just compared drinking black coffee to a meaningful life walking with The Lord. This summer I began drinking black coffee. This summer I began living a life as a beloved daughter of The Lord who is unapologetically herself. Let me tell you friends, it has been so much more enjoyable and worthwhile than anything I have ever experienced. Here’s to you – learning to enjoy a cup full of black coffee. One sip at a time.
Thanks for joining me on this journey, I hope you find what you’re looking for.
p.s. if you can’t quite stomach red wine just yet, you’re not alone. try sangria.