As I sit to write this blog it's just after 10pm, and I am just through the door after a day down in Glasgow, followed by a tapas night out with some friends back in Inverness. I left at 7.30am, so it's been another epic one… But epically fun it must be said! 🙂
I have also been out for both lunch and dinner with some of the most wonderful people in my life. So I am not only incredibly full, but incredibly thankful.
But yesterday's post was about joy.
Today's will be about something far more serious.
I have a longstanding and seriously confused love/hate relationship with coffee.
I love the smell. Yet I dislike the taste… But I really wish I loved the taste.
For about the past decade I have been trying to like coffee. I spend a lot of time in coffee shops. I study there. I meet young people there. I mentor there. I read there. I plug into the free wifi there. I chat to folk there.
I'm just a coffee-shop-kind-of-girl.
But yet, I frustratingly just don't like coffee.
It feels like I should. Because I love the smell so much. And because I talk about meeting people 'for coffee', or going 'for coffee'… (Going 'for tea' doesn't quite have the same ring to it…)
Some friends of mine work in a coffee shop and they once spent a whole day trying to find a kind of coffee that I could/would drink and could/would enjoy. After about 6 attempts, we finally discovered that if I had just a half shot mocha with some other strong flavouring like caramel in it… I could just about cope. But as that's 1) hardly any coffee, 2) doesn't taste like coffee and 3) contains about 4000 calories a cup… I soon gave up on that idea.
But semi-frequently… I take a little foray into the coffee tasting world again… You know, just in case my taste-buds have developed subconsciously or something.
Today was one of those days.
I was pretty tired by the time I hit Stirling services, and thought that some caffeine might be needed to support my morning meeting. However, I didn't really have time to go into the main cafe area, so I just made my way to the take-out Costa stand in the fuel station. And the take-out Costa machine didn't have a tea option.
So I got a Vanilla Latte.
Because it was too early for Hot Chocolate. And a latte's mainly milk, right?
This is me drinking my first mouthfuls of Vanilla Latte…
Ok, ok… I'm kidding (a bit…)
Today there was definite progress.
I might not have totally been sold on the taste… But I persevered and drank the whole thing. And it got better (or I got more used to it) as I carried on drinking. And… It wasn't unpleasant. I mean, it wasn't tea, don't get me wrong… But I would definitely consider Vanilla-Latte-ing it again on an early morning drive.
And who knows, (stares dreamily into space...) maybe one day I will become the avid coffee conisour I dream of being…
So why am I telling you this?
Well, I was thinking on my drive to and from Glasgow… That sometimes evangelism feels a little bit like my experience with coffee.
Because I do really love talking about Jesus. I do love sharing testimony. I do love the metaphorical smell of it. But my impatient human nature naturally wants everyone to be able to enjoy the strongest espresso shot of faith on the first conversation.
And sometimes that happens.
But a lot of time it's a journey a little bit more like my coffee one.
At least with my friends.
You start off with some gentle testimony, wrapped in story and covered with the sweet actions of genuine love. You move onto finding some common ground, building relationship, trying out flavours in the form of questions and wrestlings with the issues that matter.
And then the journey takes place.
Sometimes people seem so close to discovering they love Jesus for themselves, but then they retreat back. Sometimes it feels like there's no hope. Sometimes you have those Vanilla-latte-days where some serious progress is made. Often it goes backwards and forwards.
And I was just simply contemplating on my drive, that I'm so glad we are just called to be the vessels. We are called to be faithful in loving those who are lost, and faithful in sharing our testimony, and faithful in being unashamed of Jesus… But Holy Spirit is the one who works on hearts.
And just like I really do feel that one day in the future, my long persevering journey with coffee-enjoyment will bear some really great fruit… I guess I also know that when we are faithful in the long persevering journey of sharing faith and loving others, Holy Spirit will bring about the lasting fruit of eternal value.
He has. He is. He does. He will.
That simple thought encouraged me to pray for people with every sip of my Vanilla-Latte today. Maybe that's why I finished the whole thing!? 😉
Oh, and I'm sitting here right now in my pyjamas, drinking the biggest mug of Lady Grey tea I could make… Just as an extra special treat… 😉