Living life intentionally

A cup of coffee

I have an obsession. Some people like to watch their favorite football team on certain days. Some people like to listen to music without ceasing. Others prefer to draw a world that once only existed in their minds, but me, I am obsessed with coffee. There, I said it. Those dark caramel colored magical beans produce liquid that cheers the eyes and the soul. I could talk about the science of why this magical bean juice makes me happy, but that is a conversation for another day. What I want to talk about today is how the elegance of a cup of coffee gives us an example of what it means to be intentional with our lives.

Select your method

From pour over to french press to the traditional brew, there are tons of ways to make coffee, but we are not here to discuss the nuances of brewing coffee. I want to use different methods of brewing coffee as a metaphor for how you are choosing to serve others. 

 Brew it

This is what most consider the method of the masses when it comes to making coffee. It is automated, simple and makes drinkable coffee. Much like brewed coffee, being intentional with a core group of people should be something that is simple to do and can be easily replicated in other groups of people. The methods are as simple as the, “morning routine” some people have of walking to the coffee pot, putting in a filter, pouring water in the backside, scooping ground coffee into the filter, closing the lid, pressing a button and after a few moments drinking your fill. So how would you go about taking this routine and translating it into being intentional? Here are a few steps: 
  1. Make staying in touch with people a part of your routine. I have personally gone so far as to make a list of the people whom I want to be intentional about growing my relationship with them. 
  2. Schedule time with those people. Let’s all be honest for a second and admit that if it isn’t on the calendar, most likely it isn’t something you are prioritizing and therefore it will never get done.
  3. Pour into others. Just as you pour water into the back of the coffee machine in the morning, so you should pour into others. This is one of the ways in which you will connect to the core group of people and slowly progress towards being more intentional in the way you live.
  4. Soak up the time you have together. Set distractions aside for awhile. Let the person (or people) you are trying to connect with become the center of your attention for the time you have set aside for them. Set the expectation with them that you want to spend time with them and they are the most important thing to you in that moment.

French Press

Grind, pour, boil, pour, wait, press, pour. It is that easy to make French press coffee, but inside of this simplicity lies a nugget of a word. Press. How many times have you been under pressure in your life? How many times have you been surrounded with doubts, fears, anxiety and loneliness only to find friends right there beside you to go through the tough times? Lets dig into this a little more:

  1. Grinders are meant for pulverizing things into smaller pieces, but it is no fun when our lives feel like they are getting ground into oblivion. During these phases of your life I would encourage you to find an anchor which you can hold fast to through the storm. For me it is grace. God’s grace for me is so overwhelming to me and all I have to do is remember it in times when I feel like my life is going through the grinder.
  2. Pour out a little bit of your heart to someone you think you can trust. This might mean that you tell yourself, “I will sit down with Jennifer for 15 minutes and tell her about how I am really feeling.” It could even be that you tell a co-worker you appreciate the sticky note of encouragement they left you when you first started there. Start small and work your way up to bigger things.
  3. What does boiling water make? Steam, right? Find a way to let off some steam with someone. Whether that is a gridiron game of basketball or a friendly game of Settlers of Catan….(is that such a thing). The goal here is to get engaged with others so you can have a healthy way of releasing frustration or struggles.
  4. Pour into someone else. Give that junior high student that has asked you to show them how to fish a chance, they might surprise you. Pouring into others has a two fold effect on your life, it brings you the satisfaction of helping others and it helps the other person as well. A word of caution though is to make sure to stay humble throughout the process of pouring into someone. Never consider yourself better than them.
  5. Press the pause button on everything else when you are with someone. Be with them. Be present. Be the listening ear, shoulder to cry on, or maybe even the person who just goes on a walk in complete silence. 
  6. Pouring over the Word of God with others allows you to apply all of the above principles. This brings unity to those you are with and it allows you to be present with God as well. For where three or more are gathered in His presence, there He is also. Matthew 18:2.

Pour over

You might be tired of the coffee metaphors by this point, but I really want you to get this last point and how it can radically change how we relate to others.

By far this method of brewing coffee provides the most flavorful and smooth tasting coffee out of all the methods, however, it also takes the most effort on the part of the one brewing to accomplish this work of art. When going about brewing a cup of pour over coffee, one must be very intentional about all of the intricate details that play a part in the final flavor of the coffee in order to get the desired outcome. Some may consider getting the water to an exact temperature, preheating your brewing vessel, folding your own paper filter, prewetting the paper filter, weighing out the beans, grinding your the beans, pouring the water at a specific rate and in the correct time intervals to be to much work, but let me ask you this; would you want someone who takes that much care to get all the little details right about a cup of coffee listening to you or someone who rushes through the process?

By this point you probably noticed a theme around this entire post. Intentional presence. Being present, in the moment and aware of those around you for the purpose of showing Christ’s love, mercy and grace to sinners such as ourselves. This plea of mine is to pry yourself away from the distractions of life, be genuine with those around you that you care about and most of all be present with them. Out of this will come the deepening of relationships, growth in your walk along the journey of faith together and so much more. As played out for us in the life of Christ, He poured into His disciples on a daily basis. He was there with them. Loving them, being patient with them and eating with them.

So I would ask you, who can you make a cup of coffee for today and be intentional with?

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