A Different Cup of Coffee
Lately I have been having a lot of stomach problems, so while on a visit to my brother's, my sister-in-law suggested trying cold brew. Well, I am not a cold coffee drinker, one of my favorite things about a cup of coffee is the hot goodness that warms my insides after that first sip. It literally makes me say, "Ahhhhh!" after I swallow. Some of you can relate, I am sure. The idea behind cold brew is that it is less acidic because the coffee is not brewed, it is steeped, therefore, it has a higher content of crude polysaccharides which boost the immunity of your digestive system and may decrease gut irritation. (Thanks Healthline.com, 9 Impressive Benefits of Cold Brew). This type of coffee is definitely different for me, but just because it is called cold brew, doesn't mean it has to be enjoyed cold. I simply heat it up and add cream. It's helped in the evenings for sure. I'll say, though, that moving to a different type of coffee and becoming different, in my eyes anyway, was not easy. I didn't want to change my coffee routine, my favorite drink, the way I have ALWAYS liked it. I wanted to be the same ol' coffee drinking Susan.
Having the courage to be different in our world today can be difficult as well. Not many people I know are completely and fully themselves in our society. Many of us live a phony life in order to impress others. We value conformity and don't want to stand out from a crowd. We want to wear the "in" clothes, even if they aren't right for our body type. We want to have the most followers on Facebook even if it means we post inappropriate content so that people will follow us. We conform to the "in" things because we don't want to be considered odd or be set apart. I know all about this type of conformity. I struggled for so long with not liking who I was, or not really knowing who I was so, I tried to conform, but didn't fit in then, either. When I went into the military, I was able to "be" the type of person I always envisioned myself being, mostly because no one there knew who I had been before. I loved that "me". But, when I returned, I went right back to the old ways and for years, really didn't like myself at all. So, we either conform to the world or we put on a mask and pretend to be someone else, yet we are never really the person we were made to be. I once heard Joyce Meyer say, "it must be torment not to be able to be free to be who you were made to be". Meyer, J. (Host). (2023, February 13). The Courage To Be Different (No. 1) [Audio podcast episode]. In Enjoying Everyday Life. Joyce Meyer Ministries. I would agree with this statement because I have felt that way. Then came Jesus! Once I became a follower of Christ I began to realize that he made me different for a reason. He created my fingerprints to be different than any other. He created my DNA to not ever completely match another human being. He created me in His image to be like Him (Gen.1:27) and not to conform to this world (Rom. 12:2) and be like others. Knowing this I think it is a waste of time to try to be like any other person on this Earth.
What does it mean to be different then, if we are under Christ's authority? To begin with, we need to think differently. 1 Peter 1:13 says, "Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be sober-minded and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." This scripture asks us to keep our minds ready to hear what Christ has to say and to behave as he would like us to behave. It's hard to think differently when we are overwhelmed by so many different opinions that come to us via social media, movies, people we work with. We need to be ok with thinking differently in this world and be ok with having a mind like Christ. Unfortunately, we are human and this doesn't always happen, but fortunately we have a Savior Who forgives and when we lose track and return to unhealthy thinking, we can go to Him for forgiveness and start fresh. The challenge is to begin to train our minds to think differently and to not be afraid of those who might not agree with us if we do.
Next, to be different we need to talk differently. There is great power in our words, power to lift people up and power to make people drown. Our words and the tone in which they are used can bring life or end a life. If our mind is set on Christ, we have a better chance of speaking in a way that uplifts people. Others will know you are different if you are using your words to build people up. They will, in turn, want to know you more and be different like you when they see that you can use your words for good rather than for hurt. What does this look like in the realms where you travel? Your workplace? Your home? With your children? With your spouse? In what ways might you need to talk differently in your everyday experiences?
Finally, to be different we need to love differently. We need to love the way Jesus talked about when he said, "By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35) Love for one another no matter who they are. Maybe your coworker is from a different part of town than you are familiar with and speaks differently than you. Love them! Maybe your son has moved in with yet another woman. Love her! It's possible that your spouse begins playing golf with a man who drinks and loves foul language. Love him! Loving doesn't mean that we believe and behave exactly as the people we meet. It doesn't mean we have the same belief system. It doesn't mean that we agree with another person's life choices. But it does mean that because we have been loved in all our flaws by our Amazing Savior, we are to love others in the same way.
Our world has a desperate need for people who are different. People who are able to take the faith they have in Jesus Christ and show it to a world that is hurting. It takes courage to be different. It took courage for Christ to be different. Just as it took courage to try that different type of coffee, it took courage for me to take Christ into a public school and share Him with the staff, students, and parents. It takes courage to take Christ into your family and speak kindly to each other, to speak kindly to your spouse when he is late again, to speak kindly to your children when they spend the afternoon screaming at each other and you. It takes courage to love the co-worker who has no social boundaries. It takes courage to ask your family to give you 20 minutes in the morning to get your mind focused on Christ by working on a Bible study.
Being different for Christ is a challenge He is asking us to participate in. He is the one that calls us to stand out of the crowd, to be distinct, separate, unusual. He calls us to be different. Now, grab some cold brew, if you would like to try it, and take time to think about how you are, or can be different in a world that needs Christ. Create your plan to be different. Begin to think differently, talk differently, and love differently. Begin to be like Christ.