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  • Writer's pictureJasmyn Elliott

Going Without to Get More

For 21 days I gave up caffeine.

This meant saying "no" to my beloved morning cup of coffee and dropping my Diet Coke habit. On top of Dry January, this was quite a stretch.

The 21 days of fasting was part of my church's semi(ish)-annual season of prayer and fasting, where we all collectively dove into a season of seeking God by going with Him while going without. The goal of fasting is to take something away so that the focus you would normally spend on that thing (be it food or habit) is placed upon God. The last time we did this, I was getting revelations by Day 2.

This time, the only thing I felt on Day 2 was a splitting headache brought on by caffeine withdrawal.

By the end of Week 1, I noticed something: my thoughts were significantly slower. Or perhaps they were now going at a normal pace vs. the usual warp speed that I had become accustomed to in my life. Balancing work in all its forms while clinging to my sliver of a social life and trying to find a moment to actually sleep had my brain running on fumes while going at 1000 MPH. With this slower pace of thinking, I was forced to to actually confront my thoughts.

Until that moment, I had not realized how much anxiety had taken over my mind. While I often touted my "no panicking policy," aloud, deep down there was this undercurrent of worry that drove my decisions. I had masqueraded this anxiety as ambition, but in reality I was terrified of failing. The thought of letting any of the spinning plates I was holding falter, let alone drop, crushed me.

Coming to that realization was sobering, and my goodness did I want to run to either a coffee or a cocktail to drown it. Even so, I reached for my water bottle instead and sat with it. In that moment, I recognized how often I ran to an outside relief to escape an uncomfortable feeling within.

That is finally when the Spirit spoke up with a question:

"Have I ever let you down before?"

Did He let me down... when I was going to school and working, at minimum, two jobs so that I could buy books and eat lunch... only to have met my best friend who introduced me to Jesus? No.

Did He let me down... when I transitioned out of one career to another in the wake of my grandfather's passing? No.

Did He let me down... when I experienced heartbreak, loss, or disappointment? No.

Did He let me down... Ever?


The advantage of having my thoughts slowed down was that I was able to truly look back at every single time God showed up for me, and to be fully appreciative that He showed up every single time. Every time I faced my giant, God handed me the stone to knock it down.

Now is no different. As I go through this next season where trials, transitions, and transformation are sure to come, I can be sure that God will see me through it all. He has not let me down once, and He shows no signs of stopping now.

I don't need a jolt of caffeine when I have the unlimited power of the Creator on my side.

That being said, maybe the occasional cafecito wouldn't hurt.


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