My Starbucks Confession

I’d like to confess something that some of you may already know about me…

I like going to Starbucks.😅

It started when I fell in love with their frappuccinos back in college, even if I did not (and still do not) have a sweet tooth. This love grew when I realized that I could have quality, quiet times in this coffee shop! My introverted self was overjoyed! Starbucks is usually expensive and unhealthy for my body, but ironically, it has been very good for my heart. I can’t even count the number of times the Lord has spoken to me thru His word, broken me, and revealed Himself to me in the various Starbucks shops I’ve stayed at before. There were moments when I would even cry quietly or write songs and poems and not have a care in the world. It has been a safe space for me.

During my quiet time last February 25, 2018, when I was struggling with insecurities, I was encouraged to be intentional in reminding myself of my identity in Christ. Each time I bought a drink in Starbucks, I decided to ask the barista to write one identity on it. Every time they finished preparing my drink, they would call out: “One Java Chip frappuccino for REDEEMED!” or “One Black Tea with Ruby Grapefruit & Honey for FORGIVEN!” …and I would receive it!

It was awkward at first, because the baristas usually gave me a confused look whenever I asked them to write these down. But as time passed by, my barista friends got used to it that even before I said my order, they would ask me in advance, “Hi Nicole! What would be your name for today? :)”

It was a really good way for me to remember my name — WHO I AM — my identity in Jesus! I am forgiven, redeemed, free, never alone, new, beautiful, accepted, alive, and many more! It fueled the desire in me to keep on digging deep in God’s word and seeing myself through His eyes. By God’s grace, this “Starbucks Identity Cups” experience even gave me the opportunities to engage in conversations about the Bible with the baristas that serve my drinks.

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” -Colossians 2:6-7 

This afternoon, I was tempted to dwell on my insecurities again. I asked the Lord why He was still allowing me to have them despite me knowing and believing the truth, and even experiencing Him in my life. I didn’t get a specific answer from Him, but somehow, I did feel peace in my heart as I recalled how these insecurities have helped me to run towards Him and His word each time I hurt and fall. I felt the Lord shifting my focus on my struggle and what I can do to overcome it, to who He is and what Jesus, my Lord and Savior, has already done for me when He died and rose again. It reminded me of John 16:33 where it says:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

It has been a year since I started the Starbucks Identity Cups and I am still attacked by insecurities and worries every now and then. But, Jesus has always been constant, faithful, and gracious. And because He is who He is, I will fix my eyes on Him and trust that He will finish the work that He started in my heart. I pray that I will indeed stay rooted and find my true security and identity in Christ alone.

Since this isn’t the healthiest way, I am praying that I will be able to be more resourceful in finding other shops or spots where I can journal and dig deep without being distracted. But until then, I will most likely visit this coffee shop. (Please feel free to give suggestions. :) )

Stick to the Truth

My dad picked me up from work a few days ago and we had an interesting conversation on the way home. For some reason, we started reminiscing about our experiences at our old house in Cainta and I shared to him one of my “Cainta moments” that I will never forget.

Last June 21, 2009, my family and I were on our way home from church and I remember feeling so insecure about my physical appearance, my height, my status in life, academics, and many more. But God somehow encouraged me to sing “Here in My Life” by Hillsong and I was comforted by the lyrics of the song. When we reached the house, we realized that we didn’t have the house keys with us! We were stuck inside our garage!

From my journal. Dated 6/9/2009
From my journal. Dated 6/21/2009

After a few minutes, I was tempted to complain about the situation, but God encouraged me to help my family find a way to get in our house instead. My older brother and I snuck into the side garage and saw a small window in our kitchen which wasn’t locked. We then weighed the pros and cons of me going through it and tried to measure my body to see if I could fit. Kuya ended up giving me a lift and I miraculously squeezed myself into the small window. I think the window was as “big” as a piece of bond paper.

From my journal. Dated 6/9/2009
From my journal. Dated 6/21/2009
I couldn't find a nice shot of our kitchen window. This photo was taken after we experienced Ondoy. :)
I couldn’t find a nice shot of our kitchen window. This photo was taken after we experienced Ondoy. :)

We were both laughing as we tried to get my body inside the kitchen because it was actually crazy and funny, but by God’s grace, I was able to make it through! I then ran to the front door, opened it, and called my other siblings and parents. God knew what was going on in my heart a few minutes before we got home and He definitely knew how to encourage me. I was insecure about my petite body, but that day, God showed me that He had a special purpose for it.

From my journal. Dated 6/9/2009
From my journal. Dated 6/21/2009

Through that experience, I was reminded of God’s goodness and grace. I was reminded of how He made each and every one of us the way we are for our good and for His glory. And it was encouraging because it also showed me how our loving and powerful God chooses to use people like you and me to experience His strength and greatness in our lives in spite of our insecurities and weaknesses.

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To this day, I still praise God whenever I remember that moment because I am encouraged to seek and focus on Him whenever I struggle with insecurities. Moreover, God continues to remind me of His amazing love for me through the Bible. His truth written on it immediately changes my perspective, wipes off the lies and negative thoughts that I have, and strengthens my heart even more.

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I was spending time with God and his word earlier today and I noticed that I unintentionally kept a lot of my sticky nametags (from past events) in my Bible. Interestingly, when I saw this, God used it to remind me of my identity in Christ. In this world, I know that I would probably have and encounter more thoughts and lies about my self-worth and security, but, God’s encouraging me to keep on sticking to the truth — to His words in the Bible.

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Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

“You showed me how much You really loved me,
When You bought me at the highest cost

There’s no greater love than this, There’s no greater love than this,
That a man would give his life for a friend;
There’s no higher sacrifice than a man would give his life,
You have paid a precious price for me.”

[Don Moen’s “No Greater Love”]

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Thank You, Jesus, for reminding me to look to You every time I struggle and remember that You died and rose for me, You chose me, You love me unconditionally, and that I am Yours for eternity. Indeed, I need not be insecure, because You are more than enough for me. Jesus, You are more than enough for me. :)

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)