Coffee is so much more than just the liquid. I will admit that when I started drinking coffee, it was for one thing––the caffeine. Being the farthest thing from a morning person, coffee became one of the most important tools to start my day. Nineteen-year-old me didn’t care at all about the taste, process, or smell, as long as I was able to work harder or stay awake longer.  (Please don’t judge, but I also loaded it with cream and sugar!) My routine was focused on waking up, and that was about it. 

It was a friend that changed everything. Out of nowhere, he called out my coffee habits for what they were: lacking in the most significant ways. For him, coffee was so much more, it was an art form. 

That week, he would have me over and brew the first really good cup of coffee I have ever had. High quality beans, a French press, and even preheating the mugs. Watching the process alone would make a person excited for this cup of coffee. 

Given how good this cup would be, there were some conditions that were applied. We were going to drink it there, we could let it cool off a bit, most importantly I had to drink it black. So I got to experience black coffee for the first time. It wasn’t half bad, but in the moment, I probably wasn’t dying for another cup. 

The rest of my time in university would be multiple tiny moments such as this. Friends taking me to their favourite coffee shop, getting to taste the experiment from a new latte machine (which worked 83% of the time), or having my mom bring me black coffee in the hopes that I would never drink a double-double again.

Coffee for coffee’s sake

There was a moment where something changed, but I can’t give you a specific day, time or place. I just realized at some point that I really liked coffee. It had become more than a tool that would allow me to function a little bit better each morning. My routine slowly began to be less centred on caffeine, shifting towards enjoying coffee for coffee’s sake. 

Whether it is the smell that I attribute to waking up, or the process of pouring water over the beans with attempted accuracy to get as much from the beans as I can, or even standing and watching the coffee in the pot continue to rise, coffee, for me, has become something that is much greater than a caffeine boost. 

Why should you care about someone’s slow descent into coffee obsession? While in many ways. it could seem like I think everyone should enjoy coffee, that isn’t what is important. Looking back, I have realized that what we need to see is that the growth of my love of coffee didn’t come from goal setting, determination, or an epiphany that changed my life forever. 

Loving coffee––and God––in community

My love for coffee came from others sharing their love of coffee with me. It came from actually drinking and learning on my own what I enjoyed. This can’t be true for coffee alone, because even in my own life, coffee isn’t the only thing that I enjoy. If it were, I think it would be a sign that I am definitely overly obsessed with coffee. Let me give you another example: my daily time alone with God.

I will admit that when I made the decision to spend time with God in the morning, the main reasoning was that it seemed like the right thing to do. Being the farthest thing from a morning person, getting up to do this was probably a large contributing factor for my perceived need for coffee. The desire to make this a regular part of my life wasn’t born out of the enjoyment of getting up. 

Over time this changed, but once again I can’t give you a specific day, time or place. In the same way, it was due to times spent reading the Bible, hearing others talk about what they are reading in the Bible, answering difficult questions, and all around seeing how every little step was making a difference. 

I just realized at some point that I really enjoyed being with God. What had been viewed as an essential task had become something that I just enjoyed. My morning routine slowly began to be less focused on how much I read, and more about just using the time to sit, meditate and pray. 

My love for coffee, and my love for spending time with God, were both formed over time by taking small steps in community. 

Moment of honesty: I am not perfect every morning. There are still many mornings where the last thing I want to do is get out of bed and read my Bible. I will never be considered a morning person. When I started, I was simply seeking a result. But now, it is much greater than just knowing more, it is about being with God. 

You don’t need to force yourself to enjoy something to learn to enjoy it. A good cup of coffee is now one of my favourite things. But I didn’t force myself to enjoy it. Over time it just happened. Looking back on life, I definitely see the pattern of joy coming not through force but through time, aided by the people around me. Wanting to enjoy your spiritual life is a good thing; just keep taking small steps and trust that it will happen over time. 

[Editor’s Note: This article belongs to our series on “What forms us?” Of course, it’s ultimately God who shapes us toward Christ-likeness. But we hope these reflections encourage awareness and inspire intentionality in how we live. For more articles in this series, click the #whatformsus tag.]

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About the Author

Joe Steckley

Joe lives in Ottawa and serves on staff at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University.

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