For Mother’s Day this year, my husband gave me the best gift I could ask for: a French press. Coffee is my love language. I use a local coffee roaster’s beans, take it black, and drink at least two cups a day. I identify with the mug that proclaims, “But first, coffee,” balking at the idea that I could take on anything in the morning before my first cup of joe.
While I might joke at my coffee “addiction,” it’s true that I rarely go without at least a cup a day. At home, visiting family, on vacation, wherever I am, I will make sure I get a cup of dark brown goodness before I start my day. If I don’t get it, I’m plagued by headaches and fatigue throughout my day.
Yet I have found that when I wake up late or am on vacation or just have a lot to do that day, I’ll quickly forsake my time with the Lord in prayer and Scripture. While coffee is a non-negotiable, prayer and God’s Word isn’t. However, I can still feel the effects of not starting my day with Him. I’m anxious, purposeless, and unloving. When my day is not centered on God and His will, it becomes centered on me and my will.
I started to realize that while nothing is wrong with a cup of coffee, when I truly believe that I would rather go without my prayer time in the morning than my cup of coffee, something is wrong in my heart.
For me, it showed me that I was not willing to be weak. The American culture says that weakness is a bad thing. It tells us “You’re enough!” It values self-reliance and self-sufficiency, but not so in God’s Kingdom. God values and uses our weakness, because His power is made perfect in our weakness.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.2 Corinthians 12:9
What do you rely on more than God? Maybe you’re not a coffee drinker like me, but if stuck for hours in a waiting room, you’d rather have your cellphone than a Bible. Maybe you check all your emails in the morning and then see if you have a few minutes left over to commune with God. Maybe you feel the itch to check your social media during church service because you might miss something.
While none of those things are bad, they all reveal weak areas in our lives where we would rather make ourselves strong than rely on the strength of God.
When God revealed this idolatry in my heart, I have started trying to take back my morning hours. I pray before I have my coffee (though sometimes it takes longer to pray with my sluggish brain). I try to spend time in the Word before my daughter wakes up and it gets pushed off to afternoon nap time (or not at all). Even if we’re out of town and off schedule, I look for the first opportunity to spend time with Him, knowing that I truly can do nothing without His strength.
Whatever is taking God’s place as your strength in life, put it in its proper place. If Christ is not your “But First,” pray that you would come to Him in your weakness and not in your self-made strength.