There are numerous things in life we find easy to justify; like waiting 6 hours to text your friend back because you were “driving” at the time. Or, like canceling a dinner with someone cause you’re just so “busy,” even though you plan on going home and watching Modern Family. Or, like when you spend $20 a week on Starbucks because you just work “such long hours.” Okay, well that one… the coffee, that’s me. If you know me at all, you’ve noticed that I either have a Starbucks cup with me like it’s a signature accessory or at the very least that I am an unapologetic Starbucks consumer.

Just the other day I was getting my hair done and trying to convince my hairdresser, Sara, to start working on a Starbuck’s Gold card because of all the benefits. (If you have one, you understand the joy that little gold plated card holds.)  I was telling her all that it offers; the free refills, free extra milks and syrups and even the much anticipated “Sweet 15” reward. Having worked at this franchise for over 6 and a half years, I fully understand this Gold card is just bait that keeps suckers like me coming back every day. Basically, every 15 visits you make, you receive a “Sweet 15” card for a free drink (contrary to common belief, it not the amount of drinks you buy that rack up these points, but the individual purchases that you make.) 

So, Sara wanted to know how many “Sweet 15” coupons I’ve attained so far. I did have to pause for a moment to recollect the number in my mind. I estimated, “Approximately 10 or so?”  That was probably a few shy of the actual number. Let’s just say they were coming in at a pace where I couldn’t really keep count. The number ten alone was enough to get a shocking response. 

Hearing her reaction of awe at the obvious money I’ve put out on coffee, I quickly added, “Well, you see work is like 30 minutes away from me and I have to be out of the house super early to give my sister a ride and half the time I’m at Victory [the church I work at] I’m there into the evenings for events or rehearsals, so…” She just laughed through my explanation.” You’ve got this all figured out and justified huh?” I smiled. “Yes, I do.” 

I’ve justified the addiction, which I prefer calling “a keen interest” or “hobby”, for quite some time now. Where some girls spend their income on clothes, manicures or shoes my tends to drift to coffee above these. ( Well, honestly, maybe it’s a close tie with the shoes.) Some people hang out at bars and clubs. I hang out at coffee shops. It’s my social drink. Heck, it’s even my solitary drink.

Fully aware that I spend enough on coffee through the year to fuel the staff of the New York Times for a few stories, I am working on limiting how much cash goes into my Gold Card. It’s the New Year, and yes I’m evaluating how I can save… better. Or, save… period. So finally, I’m laying down some stricter rules on myself and after Christmas, now equipped with a new french press for my office, and the coffee of all coffees (La Colombe from NYC ) I’m finally ready to cease my justification and start living a little more honestly with myself.

There are some things we justify to bend the truth for others, such as the not being able to text for hours at a time “because we were driving.” Then there are those things which we justify to bend the truth for ourselves. At first, we may know we are justifying  careless spending or immature habits, but ultimately we want to believe it’s justifiable. So we lie to ourselves. Some of us have grown up through a majority of life justifying habits we don’t want to change or disciplines we’d rather not establish even though we need to, in order to grow up.

Now, granted some habits and quirks are what make people who they are. I admit, I have no intention of cutting up my Gold card and every intention of seeing a few “Sweet 15’s” in the mail from time to time. Some of this is what makes us the unique, weird individuals we are. But if I go through all of life justifying fout-of-control behavior I have the will to change, I will never grow up.

The mind is a scary thing. We like to tell ourselves what we want to hear. No one will lie to you the way your mind will. Surely my life without coffee would be bland. But when it comes down to it, I could continue spending money on coffee like I’m a college student with no other priorities at hand or I could face the truth and grow up. Savoring quality in reason over quantity out of proportion may just be the grown up thing to do.  Justifying my ridiculous habits, I might as well join Peter Pan in Neverland.

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”

John 8:32

You must face it before you can be free of it.