Last week, I decided to quit coffee.
I was standing in the kitchen about to make a pot when a tiny thought slithered into my mind:
“I don’t like coffee.”
I put the beans and filters back in the drawer and simply started my work for the day. A few hours later, my wife called down to the basement where I work and said, “I’m making coffee do you need any?”
Almost without thinking I answered, “No, I don’t need coffee.”
As soon as I said the words I started to reflect on how true they really are. I don’t need coffee. But somewhere along the line, I’d convinced myself that I did.
I didn’t start drinking coffee until I was in my late 20’s. It was the first semester of seminary. And I started purely for survival purposes. The long classes, the late nights, and the constant need for focus drove me to the bean juice. And even though I never really cared for the taste, after I started I never gave it a second thought. I was a coffee drinker. I needed coffee.
I had imbibed the belief that the only way I could get through the work day was with the assistance of caffeine. And I repeated it to myself every day. “I need a coffee,” “boy, I could really use another cup.”
But the truth is I don’t need coffee. No one does.
So I decided to quit.
One thing that surprised me, however, is how easy it was to stop once I quit telling myself it was a necessity. The first two days I found myself craving it at times, but since then I’ve barely even thought about it.
It’s like a switch in my brain was flipped. Once I stopped telling myself I needed it, I no longer viewed not drinking coffee as self-deprivation. I didn’t feel like I was giving something up at all.
And the other weird thing that happened almost immediately after I quit was I started exercising again. At first, I didn’t think these were connected. But upon reflection, I think once my desire for an energy boost wasn’t being met by coffee anymore, I naturally sought out other sources of energy and focus. I genuinely think I started running because I quit coffee.
Now, this isn’t some kind of diatribe about coffee. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the stuff. I don’t think quitting is some kind of miracle cure. And I’m certainly not saying everyone needs to stop drinking it. This is more a reflection on the stories we tell ourselves, the scripts we repeat in our heads that leave us locked into certain beliefs and create invisible barriers to new and more productive ways of living.
Because the truth is there are much bigger lies we tell ourselves than “I need coffee.”
What are you telling yourself?
Biblical counselors call it “self-talk,” that inner dialogue we have that is often filled with self-condemnation, doubt, or even justifications for sinning. If we hope to grow, we have to work to replace these lies with truth from God’s Word.
I love this “Truth and Lies Chart” Dave Dunham created that helps you replace lying self talk with Scriptural truth:
I wonder how much we are held back from true change and God-honoring endeavors by the scripts we repeat to ourselves. If you’re plagued by thoughts of worthlessness, self-pity, lack of confidence, or doubt, recognize them for what they are. It’s a lack of belief in What God has said is true about you.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”2 Corinthians 5:17
The first step to change is change in beliefs.
✨ New on Redeeming Productivity
The Island of Sodor is pretty weird, but Sir Topham Hatt got one thing right—usefulness matters.
This year I started using the Freedom app to help me fight distractions while I work and it’s been a game-changer for my focus. Here’s how it works.
How Do I Prioritize My Busy Life? (14 mins)
Wise counsel from John Piper.
“How do I balance the importance of working hard for the Lord, while still having enough time for God, spiritual growth, and my family, when my job won’t allow it? Should I accept that I will have to sacrifice much for my work, consider a career change, or do something in between?”
(John Piper / Desiring God)
“While both apps offer ways to capture and organize notes with desktop and mobile devices, this only scratches the surface of their features. If we were to explore deeper, there are some significant differences to explore before making the switch from Evernote to Notion.”
(Haikal Kushahrin / Ness Labs)
Why Our Attention Needs Stewardship (3 mins)
When we consider stewardship as followers of Christ, we think of stewarding our resources like time, talents, and money. But we don’t tend to think of our attention as a resource.
(Katie Westenberg / The Gospel Coalition)
This is a cool story of someone who redeemed the tiniest pockets of time in their schedule.
“I started writing a novel one evening a week when my oldest child was a baby. I’ve just completed a big rewrite and finally feel ready to take the next steps toward getting my story out into the world. My lifeline: Google Keep, a simple note-taking app. For anyone else writing a book in the few minutes scattered throughout your day, here’s how I did it—and how you can, too.”
(Jessica Sillers / Zapier)
A few unsavory words in this video, but a really helpful big picture of how to set up a full productivity system for your life.
🖋Quote of the Week
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdomPsalm 90:12
👍 Something I Like
I’ve got to tell you about a wonderful new book that’s just come out about bringing our faith into the workplace.
I had the privilege of writing an endorsement for Miranda Carls’ The Word at Work. Here’s what I said:
“Being an authentic Christian in the workplace can be a tricky endeavor—especially these days. It’s no wonder, therefore, that even though we know Jesus said, ‘you are the light of the world,’ many of us still struggle to bring that God-glorifying illumination to our jobs. The Word at Work supplies believers with biblically-based, practical advice on how to effectively bring your faith to the workplace in a way that both blesses your colleagues and honors God. Highly recommended!”
Check out The Word at Work.
- Protect your soul with screen accountability software. Try Covenant Eyes free for 30-days with promo code “ROSE”
- Redeem your commute by listening to audiobooks from Audible. Listen free for one month.
- I use Freedom every day to block distracting apps and websites across all my devices so I can get more done.
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⌛️That’s all for this Week
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I’ll see you next time!