Disclaimer: This is not an attack on coffee. I have a lovely cup of it next to me right now.
A couple months ago, I started noticing that I was getting headaches, my focus was poor and my skin was bad. I asked around, and someone told me, very emphatically, that I needed to drink more water. After a moment of introspection, I realized she was probably right. A glass in the morning and the occasional sip throughout the day was not enough. Especially in this hot climate, chasing after a bunch of kids.
I looked up facts about the importance of water to the body. Our body weight is 60 percent water, and among other outlets, you can literally lose water by breathing. Yeah, I know, right? The brain and heart are 73 percent water, and your lungs are 83 percent water. Your body uses water to protect your joints and your spinal cord. Your kidneys and liver use it to flush out waste, and when you are pregnant, multiply it all by two. Which makes sense. If your are eating for two, you should be drinking for two as well.
After cramming my brain with all of those facts, I purposed to increase my water intake.
I started well, but slowly and surely, in the busyness of life, I started to forget to bring that bottle with me and when I did, I would forget to drink it. It could be right in front of me, but I wouldn’t. Instead, I had a constant craving for coffee.
Teaching kids – with coffee.
Reading a book – with coffee.
Facebook – with coffee.
Cutting hair because of major lice infestation here at the home – with coffee
(albeit, further away, so it would not be contaminated)
Now, I don’t know if you know this, but coffee is a diuretic. Which means it flushes water from your system. Talk about defeating a purpose. I also don’t know why it’s so easy to remember to drink coffee! I am always remembering that!
My coffee drinking was replacing my water intake. It made me feel like I wasn’t thirsty, but my body still was suffering from dehydration. My heart started to do that weird tripping thing after my third cup of the day. My sleep became very bad, going to sleep was hard and waking up was, of course, worse until I drank coffee.
Yesterday, I hadn’t had my morning cup, and I was riding in a van full of kids. I was miserable. One of the boys sitting behind me kept poking my neck, and a little girl beside me was up and down like a jack-in-the-box.
We stopped at a gas station, and I nearly ran to the coffee station. I got a cup and went back to my dark corner of despair in the van, to nurse my habit and avoid the masses. Don’t touch me, I need to drink this, and after that, maybe I’ll pay attention to you.
Fifteen minutes later, as I laughed and poked the boy back, I froze mid-poke and realized I had a serious problem. Coffee addiction is real.
It is also easy to excuse.
I use it to make me happy and awake and temporarily, it does. Water, however, would do the same thing, if I took the time to make it a habit. Coffee is instant pleasure and instant results. Water is the underlying support for my life. I could survive on coffee, but the quality of my life would fade if I didn’t limit it and place my reliance in water.
I think we all see where I am going here.
I rely on and crave many things. Love from my family, love from these kids here, affirmation from my friends, likes on Facebook, how perfect my hair turns out in the morning, and success in teaching.
It’s easy to excuse my focus being on the kids or on other human relationships.
Those things are important.
However, these little joys will sour very quickly,
once you place your dependence on them.
You see, water protects so much about your body. When you are dehydrated, your brain still works, but it aches, your heart still works, but it trips, your joints work, but they crack and hurt. Some of us are also “drinking for two.” There is a steep cost to not hydrating during pregnancy or nursing. Just Google it; then go drink water. Without any source of water, within three days, we die.
Little lives depend on me. If I am not hydrated, I have nothing to offer them. I will become deficient, and they will suffer as I suffer. All week long, I’ve felt stretched thin and impatient with them. I contrast that with weeks where my focus was firm, my walk with God full.
He is the Living Water. I cannot make it without Him in this dry and arid place. My walk better be real, or I will die here. They will die here. I cannot stand before Him and answer for the eyes that watched me and the little feet that followed me, knowing that they are all drinking coffee and rejecting the water.