A 21st Century Proverb

The coffee grounds hit the sink with a phftt.

I should have realized when I poured the cream into my coffee cup before adding coffee that God was about to speak to me.

My hand seemed to wobble on my wrist as I dumped the first and then the second scoop of grounds into the funnel. In the dim light, I missed just how many had slid beneath the filter, around the filter, onto the counter. But I did see grounds had fallen in the wrong places.

My morning drink was not ready to cooperate. Or was it my hands? Or something else?

I tore off a paper towel and crumpled it in my hand. I knew I couldn’t capture every one. But look, remove the funnel and I watched most of the vagabond grounds drain into the sink.

Just then I stepped on another layer of grounds. Just how much had fallen out of that scoop?

I captured as many of those grounds as I could see and pushed the coffee maker back to the wall, turning it on. Another serious layer emerged from under the machine. Wipe. Trash.

Then there was the fishing of grounds that inevitably made their way into my coffee mug in the pour. Five or six only, but I found and displaced them. Some with a spoon, a couple with a new paper towel and the last with my fingers.

That’s when I had my coffee ground-inspired ah-ha moment.

Aren’t errant thoughts, unchecked feelings, careless words and actions much like coffee grounds in the wrong places?

A wobbly wrist destroys the morning coffee. 

That should be a proverb in a sacred text.

In my case, it was over-restraint and resistance that led to thoughts running over the “scoop” last night as I tried to talk through a stronghold I’m dealing with these days. My husband and I had plenty of brew time as we traveled back to town from Indy. I had started the conversation with a pointed question. But as he turned the question around to me, the thoughts that rose to the surface would not be aligned.

I found every excuse and obstacle in the book as to why in this season of life I am unable to break free from this thing about which we talked (aren’t you curious??!)

I noticed it as I reflected on a time in life when I had broken free. When tears threatened, I repressed. That was the first wobble. I refused to let vulnerability have its work. That in turn allowed a good amount of unchecked thoughts and wobbly explanations to spill everywhere.

I was resisting where the Spirit was tugging and prompting and developing. Although I resisted, His nudge did not, which means that pressure for change and discomfort sat with me all night. 

These errant ideas and excuses and doubts became as scattered coffee grounds, slipping around the filter of my spirit and sitting on the floor of my thoughts. They sat there all evening and into the midnight dream hours, spoiling my peace.

And just after 5:19 am, my recent God-rising-me hour, as I fumbled with the coffee maker, He brought clarity to the pressure and discernment to the discomfort.

My words had begun to falter when I explained a time in my life when I had gained freedom in this mystery-to-you area. Embarrassed, frustrated, and annoyed, I had shut the whole feelings factory down, going so far as to joke that I was trying to appeal to my husband’s logic stream and preference for rational talking and thinking.

But we are each gifted with unique personalities, dispositions, and thought patterns. While restraint and release are each important skills to exercise, to overdo either is perhaps as wrong as to underdo them.

For me, overdoing restraint led to a scattered thoughts and excuses stuck in wrong places. All I would have needed to have done was to have let those much-needed tears wash them down the drain! Instead, I got the last 12 hours of wobbly-minded mess.

A wobbly wrist destroys the morning coffee. 

This morning I prayed for vision, and in those moments flashes of clarity met me by virtue of these errant coffee grounds, the layer underfoot, and the hidden pile beneath the machine.

God is all the time trying to show us things through the visible world around us.

I have heard and perhaps you have thought too that it is just as likely that we hear only our own maturing thoughts running through our heads as it is that God is active and speaking directly to us. Yet my experience is that it is more than I could orchestrate and above coincidence.

The more I recognize God in the everyday, the more purposeful He becomes in being all that I, and, I believe, any of us needs.

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