Why I'm Giving Up Sweet Tea – Well-Watered Women

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Why I’m Giving Up Sweet Tea

July 3, 2017  - By Well-Watered Women

There’s a story of a traveling pastor who came to town and taught at a church about what it meant to follow Jesus. At the end of the night, a man approached the pastor with a concerned look on his face and asked earnestly, “If I follow Jesus, does that mean I have to give up cigarettes?”

The Pastor’s reply was simple: “Well, now it does.”

Because the man saw cigarettes as something he couldn’t give up, or rather, didn’t want to give up if it was required to follow Jesus.

He had unknowingly articulated an idol of his heart.

Maybe, like me, you don’t smoke, so I’ll make this a little more personal.

I love sweet tea. I crave it. I love the taste, the memories associated with sipping it over good conversation on the porch swing, the southern charm and the sweetness. When I have a bad day, I want a sweet tea. It’s my crutch, my go-to, my comfort food.

For you, sweet tea may just be a beverage – maybe one you don’t much care for – but for me, it’s an idol of my heart.

I’m not exaggerating, friends. It’s not intentional or deliberate. But over the years it has snuck into a place of prominence in my thoughts and desires and I have literally wished for it more than Jesus at low moments and bad days.

So about a month ago, I prayed for the strength to give it up. Then today, I read Colossians 2 where Paul explains that we shouldn’t let the worldly or natural practices enslave us – because we miss out on Jesus. So I started to question, is that what I’m doing? But here’s what I’ve come back to: there’s a difference in giving up something to earn righteousness and giving up something to be obedient. For me, sweet tea is a matter of obedience.

Maybe that sounds silly to you, but friends, it was a big deal for me. I had a small chalkboard on my nightstand where I wrote “Days Without Tea” at the top and began tallying up each day. Not because I thought it would make God proud, not because I wanted it to earn me anything – but because I needed the accountability to finally say, “Enough. Sweet tea is not life-giving. It is not necessary. It is a crutch, a comfort, and something I desire more than the Lord in moments of weakness or sadness. I don’t need it. I’m done.”

And you know what?

I don’t miss it. I don’t crave it. I’ve gone 40 days and I’m not sad about it.

Maybe this all seems extreme or silly to you, because honestly, it’s just sweet tea.

But for me, sweet tea was something that stood in the way of needing Jesus more than anything else. There were moments where I would go out of my way to get a tea, thinking it would make my day better, and then drink every last sip until I was sick at my stomach. I had taken my need for comfort, joy and peace to something other than the only One who can satisfy those needs. And that, my friends, is sin. Because James 4:17 reminds us that, “anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”

So what’s it for you? Maybe it’s a relationship that isn’t honoring Jesus, but you can’t seem to give up. Maybe it’s a job you’ve worked so hard to get that you’ve lost your identity along the way. Maybe it’s the pursuit of being the perfect wife, mother or friend, to the point that you long for approval and are crushed when you don’t get it. Maybe it’s coffee, Diet Coke – or something more serious – but anything you turn to in place of Jesus is worth evaluating. Jesus Plus Nothing. This is the Gospel.

We don’t need a little coffee and a lot of Jesus – we need Jesus. We don’t give up on things to earn a place at the table. We let go of things that hold us back from pursuing Jesus ONLY. We say farewell to the idols that have ruled and reigned in our hearts subtly, because Jesus is ENOUGH.

So, I’m giving up sweet tea. I’m chasing after Jesus on good days and bad. And I’m telling you here and now because I’d love the accountability to keep my pursuing Him above all. And because I don’t want to simply replace sweet tea with something else.

Jesus plus nothing. That’s the prayer of my heart this Monday morning.

Who’s with me?

rachael

  1. Brianne.totman@gmail.com

    July 3rd, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    This is so good. I’m walking through something similar… I finally said no more to a particular TV show that I felt convicted watching. I wanted to be obedient to God, I wanted to choose His life-giving ways! I’m so thankful I made this decisive move…there is such peace and freedom in choosing His way! My tendency is to make this the end instead of a means to an end to know and rely on Him more. But I’m thankful for more space and opportunity and that His mercies are new every morning with a new invitation! He’s so faithful. The one thing I started to question in this article is the allusive "line"…where is it drawn, and I felt the Spirit immediately begin to quicken me to the reality of dependence. That the Holy Spirit will lead and guide our ways! The Spirit of God will search the heart and guide us into truth if we are willing to go there! The heart motive is the thing and the Spirit will convict and empower us to live a life that honors God more and more from a heart of love! I love how you speak of pursuing the Lord more in letting this go…how true it is that these things hold us back from the rich, abundant, fulfilling life He has for us!!

  2. shan.fung@gmail.com

    July 4th, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing so truthfully and openly Rachael :’) your sharing really helped and convicted me to be obedient to Him, even in the seemingly small and insignificant, like finding comfort in things other than Him! May we desire and have the strength to obey Him when He reveals "little" sins to us, so that we can know and love Him more 🙂

  3. 1013alissa@gmail.com

    July 4th, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Love your post! I was addicted to Diet soda and potato chips…if I was frustrated, bored, or sad..I turned to those comforts immediately. Well, I finally gave them up since February, but my biggest hurdle that I think I’ve jumped over..only to find myself right back in the same spot a day or two later is…coffee with creamer!!!! If I don’t have the creamer, I don’t like the coffee. But I crave it. I look forward to drinking it…it’s like snuggling with a comfy blanket 🙂 I know it’s terrible for my health…and I thought I surrendered this to Jesus before…but I guess I kept a safety net there…because I haven’t been able to release myself from it. I need to though… so I will do that today 7/4/17…Independence Day 🙂 Freedom Day 🙂 thank you for your honesty in this post…I’m cheering you on 🙂

  4. Carol anne Mott

    July 5th, 2017 at 1:24 am

    I gave up sweet tea for lentertainment because I thought I couldn’t live without. It was so badfor Liver and my weight. So I prayed and I gave it up. Now it’s water. Jesus is everything to me. He gave up everything for me so I will give up whatever He wants me too.

  5. gretchen@lifelivedbeautifully.com

    August 3rd, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    Amen! Thank you of sharing your story with us!

  6. ashleyvanvleet22@gmail.com

    July 9th, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Wow! God is faithful, this is what I needed to read this morning. Thank you

  7. val@valmariepaper.com

    July 10th, 2017 at 12:57 am

    Loved this Rachael!!

  8. Pickleballpeggy16@gmail.com

    July 28th, 2017 at 2:11 am

    Thank you for having the courage to not only be obedient but then write about it. I too have had tea as an idol, God even asking me to use the $1 I spend daily in the drive thru, to use for sponsoring a child, so I did and then came a little stress or craving for the flavor and I went back to it. Well this my dear sister is awake call to me again to DELIGHT in the Lord more than in the taste of tea.

  9. gretchen@lifelivedbeautifully.com

    August 3rd, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Peggy, that is so beautiful!! We absolutely love hearing stories of obedience like this!! God is so good and He takes our little that we offer Him and multiplies it for the kingdom!

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