Wednesday, April 29, 2015

We're Meant to Live Free


Today is day 29 of my 30 days of free coffee. I’m not exactly sure how I even qualified for this perk. 

I got an email from Panera on April 1, inviting me to stop in for a free coffee every day in April. I thought surely this must be an April fool's joke.

I checked with my cubicle colleagues, asking if anyone else got the email. Nope. Just me.

So when I finally got around to stopping at Panera on the fourth of April, I hesitantly held out my phone to the cashier, “Ummm, I got this email that said I get a free coffee in April?” 


I expected her to laugh and say she didn’t know what I was talking about. But she nodded and handed me a cup. “Here you go.” 

I figured I should order something to say thanks a latte, so I stayed for lunch. 

{Surely you knew there'd be a coffee pun or two?}

I realized that buying something to go with the coffee was probably the point of this little promotion, but I tried it again the next day, a little bolder, “I’m here for my free coffee.”

“Anything else?” the cashier said. 

I was brave now.  “No, just the coffee.”

Even though I felt a little sheepish at the coffee station, I was warming up to this idea of free coffee for a month.



I don’t know about you, but I’m a little suspicious of free. I wonder what’s expected in return. I’m skeptical of no strings attached. 

Maybe I shouldn’t entertain this perspective. Because I think we’re meant to live free.

Your version of living free probably looks different than mine does, but maybe you can relate? 

I know my single-girl life frees me to have a white couch and pink chairs in my living room, arranged however I'd like {as a friend who admired this freedom told me, since her husband's world is turned upside down if she tries to move the TV}. 

I'm free to read all night, eat cereal for supper, leave cosmetics strewn across the bathroom counter and devote an entire dresser to jewelry storage.



I mostly treasure these freedoms until I mistake these sweet liberties as limitations, thinking I'm entitled to what I don't have.

Because sometimes I confuse what truly makes me live free.

God doesn’t need me {or any of us} to carry out his plans. He invites us into his purposes and designs, and we freely choose to be a part of them.

God plants passions and dreams in our hearts, giving us hope and courage to pursue them, offering the choice {and freedom} of trusting him with the outcome. 

That God freely gives those who come seeking him access to his heart with the opportunity to experience him in every circumstance, every season of our lives, is a freedom that's priceless.

Through faith, we approach God with freedom and confidence. {Eph. 3:12}



The world doesn’t need another blog. It certainly doesn't need my blog.

But if I don't write a blog, then I miss out on the way God freely invites me into his plans. 

Writing frees my soul to create my own personal kind of art and to experience God through it. 

And maybe your blog, your writing, your art or your passion of caring for your family that you think no one notices is the very way God freely invites you to join him in his plans for you, others, and maybe even the world.



During one of my free coffee days, I sat near the order-line and listened to the cashier ask customers if they wanted a Panera rewards card. 

When they declined she’d say, “Are you sure? Some of our customers are enjoying free coffee for the entire month of April.”

All of them still said no. They turned down free.

I wanted to spill the beans and tell them there might not be any such thing as a free lunch in life but there truly is free coffee.

But I figured they might not appreciate me espressoing myself. 

{Last coffee pun, I promise!}

I’m going to miss my free coffee. Maybe some of the best things in life are free. 




I'm linking up with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart. Join us there for more inspiration for your day!


22 comments:

  1. Valerie, I love your living room furniture AND the way you see it as one of the blessings that goes along with your "single-girl life." This is a lovely post! Stopping by from Coffee for Your Heart ...

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    1. Lois,
      I'm so glad you stopped by! Thank you for your sweet words about my living room -- I really do love those pink chairs!

      Delete
  2. LOL Valerie!!! I waited all morning to read your post and it was worth it :) We definitely need your blog! And I think I'm going to have to reinstate that freedom of eating cereal for supper if the couch/tv moving doesn't pan out for me! You're too funny! ♥ But seriously, how many times do we turn down this freedom in God and not realize how much it's really costing us..? So many great truths here today! And this: "God plants passions and dreams in our hearts, giving us hope and courage to pursue them, offering the choice {and freedom} of trusting him with the outcome." is hitting very close to home. Have a beautiful day friend!

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    1. Heather,
      Well I'm glad you thought it was worth the wait! :) You inspired part of it with your living room rearrangement protesters! It really is freeing to pursue the dreams God's planted in our hearts!

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  3. Loved your post! The free coffee experience and they way God talks to you and us through it! Thanks for sharing such an amazing post today. Blessings. I'm visiting you from Coffee for your Heart Link UP, linking up with you too!

    W/Love,
    Tayrina from TGAWrites

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    1. Tayrina,
      Thanks for visiting and I'm so glad you enjoyed the post! :) You are welcome here anytime!

      Delete
  4. I love your point that the world doesn't need another blog but that it is God's way of inviting us into His plans! I am a newish blogger and have wondered of the need for me and my blog. I needed this reminder of it's for Him as an expression of my art! So glad I stopped by from Holley's

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    1. Hi Winter,
      Thanks so much for stopping by! We absolutely need your blog --everyone's story is worth hearing and I love that about blogging! :)

      Delete
  5. Valerie- Love this part -"And maybe your blog, your writing, your art or your passion of caring for your family that you think no one notices is the very way God freely invites you to join him in his plans for you, others, and maybe even the world." Thanks for these good thoughts- I like the idea of Him inviting me. It helps me think that it was his idea and my job is to come and show up and enjoy being apart of His plans ;also enjoy finding Him in them- He is the real reward! Blessings to you tonight! :)

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    1. Susie,
      Yes! Oh what can happen when we just show up and let God do the rest! I hope you know your art is SO very needed in my corner of the world because I enjoy it so much!

      Delete
  6. What a lovely post! I love your living room, Have a beautiful day! :)

    April of: https://beybiapril.wordpress.com
    Instagram: @aprilnunezzz

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    1. April,
      Thanks for stopping by and I'm grateful for your sweet words!

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  7. love you! The words...the world doesn't need another blog...not blog...resonated with me. God does call us to write. We are specially chosen for that free gift! :) I love Panera...not coffee...glad they chose you! You deserve all God gives you sweet lady...smile and accept those gracious gifts. Love, Jenn

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    1. Jenn,
      The free coffee at Panera was quite the gift! :) Thank you so much for your sweet words, friend!

      Delete
  8. Such a beautiful post, Valerie. And I'm not even a coffee drinker. ha. I do believe we are meant to leave free, much freer than we usually allow ourselves. I'm often too skeptical of free too and will turn things away at times thinking there must be a catch. That's why the gospel is almost too good to be true. But it is true! Thank God for our freedom in Christ!

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    1. Hi Lisa,
      I'm so glad you didn't let not being a coffee drinker keep you from reading! :) Great point about God's love for us being almost too good to be true . . . and our lives are much freer than we allow ourselves to believe they could be!

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  9. Another beautiful post from my beautiful friend. You have such a way with words - and how WAY COOL that you got free coffee for a month!! My favorite line: "God plants passions and dreams in our hearts, giving us hope and courage to pursue them, offering the choice {and freedom} of trusting him with the outcome." Thank you for sharing your heart -- you have such a gift for expressing your thoughts and I feel blessed to be on the receiving end. :) -Shawna

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    1. Shawna,
      You are always the deliverer of such sweet words --I don't know what I'd do without your encouragement! :)

      Delete
  10. You had me at "cereal for supper." I do that sometimes even with my family. :)
    I know what you mean about being suspicious about free. We are so jaded, but I am glad you got your coffee!

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    1. Sarah,
      Love that you offer your family cereal for supper! :)

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  11. Now Valerie, you know I love your post, but you should have seen my face when I saw free coffee. Now I don't like coffee, but I love something for free lol. And I completely understand, everytime I get a coupon that says I get a free anything, there is always a problem at the cashier. But I have a Panera card, so I need to go see if I can get my free item, for someone else of course lol.

    K / The House of KTS (formerly of Pure & Complex)
    www.houseofkts.com

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    1. Kay,
      I wasn't a coffee drinker either until my current job drew me to it! :) Free is always an enticing offer, isn't it?!

      Delete

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