I can already tell I’m going to get a lot of judgment for this post and I’m just owning that.
I lost… my gold status… at Starbucks.
If you know what I’m talking about you’re asking panicked questions like, “Why would you ever let that happen?”, “How COULD you!?”, and “What will you even do now???”. In truth, I know none of these answers. I just know that when I opened up my Starbucks app a few weeks ago, the terrifying message was displayed saying,”You are now GREEN Status.”
I stared at the screen in shock. Okay Bux, you’ve clearly hit a glitch somewhere – I’m obviously GOLD for life, I was thinking. So I did some digging around, and what do I find? No, the Bux did not lead me astray – they had actually warned me multiple times that I wasn’t spending enough money at they’re beloved establishments and needed to do so quickly to maintain my status with their company. The nerve of some people!
No joke, this seriously sent me into a tail-spin of emotion. It’s so dumb to think back to now but for several minutes (okay like an hour – who’s counting) I was genuinely re-assessing my value and worth as a human.
The next day, as I was making my morning coffee at home, which is my big-girl routine and part of my “problem” according to Starbucks, I started thinking back to this whole down-grade debacle. I was actually dealing with some things in my personal life, the ending of a friendship to be honest, that made me feel like I was being down-graded in a whole other way. I kept thinking how similar the two situations were. This friend had wanted me to behave in a very specific way that was not a healthy balance for me and what I was able to give as a friend. She saw that as betrayal and an unwillingness to love, I saw it as giving as much as I possibly could. As dumb as this is – my relationship with Starbucks was no different. I went as much as I could with my little fun money but genuinely my budget has drastically changed in this season of life and my fun money is limited! I can’t, and don’t want to, spend all my fun money always on swanky coffee.
Is is wrong to love great coffee? Uh no. Certainly not. Is it wrong to love a needy friend? Again, no.
Is there a healthy boundary to both of those? ABSOLUTELY.
Just today I was in my small group at lunch and a co-worker was saying how guilty she would feel if she was honest about the chaos she feels in keeping up with all the things she’s committed to these days. We all chimed in about healthy boundaries and how you just have to be brave and pull the trigger and say the dirty “NO” word sometimes and people will learn to respect you for it. In the mean time, we have to learn to love ourselves through that process too.
Doing less, buying less, doesn’t make us less GOLDEN and it doesn’t make us less loved.
A pastor explained to me John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” in a way that I’ve never seen before. Maybe I can explain it like he did. Essentially, you can look at it one of two ways: The first is basically “if you love you, you better do what I told you to do.” The second on is more like, “if you’ll be so busy being in love with me, all my commandments are going to just happen in your life naturally.”
If we keep believing John 14:15 in that SECOND perspective, we’ll be braced for when those little down-grades come. We’ll still feel secure and validated when friends tell us we’re not loving them well enough as we’re exhausting ourselves trying to be what they need. We can still be confident of God’s love for us even as we pull back from team sports or volunteer endeavors, or whatever it is that’s keeping us from being whole and healthy before God.
“But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with such scum?’ When Jesus heard this, he told them, ‘Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.’ – Mark 2:17
Jesus made it very clear that he wasn’t buying in to all the pretense we put on to impress other people or even ourselves. He also made it clear that as often as we are honest and humble, he will forgive and retrain us to be holy. But when we, okay when I (since I’m clearly the only one) believe the lies that yes, a GOLD status at a swanky coffee shop will make me more valuable or the coolest sneakers that kids are talking about these days will keep me young… That’s when I’ve missed it. I bet Jesus just sits back and gets saucer-sized eyes and shakes his head like, ‘Bless it, girl.’
When I believe that if I lose ten pounds or can dominate as an executive at work, THEN people and God and I will really love me, man, that really puts all my value in shaky territory.
Clearly weight fluctuates. We do not CRUSH it every single day that we go to work – that is super-human. And if that’s what I’m waiting on to feel special, loved, important, worthy, to have great dignity and self respect and all the positive things that should be received as a human and especially as a child of God, I could be waiting a very very long time. What if I go through a season of steady weight GAIN? Uh oh. I am not loved by Jesus. (I wish I could insert the game show buzzer sound here so you would know to read that last sentence as a lie). What if I just cannot get in a great rhythm with some changes going on in my workplace? Uh oh. I’m stupid and unimportant. (Again – the “FALSE alert” buzzer should be going off!)
I go to counseling and one of the best nuggets my licensed counselor, Donna, has said to me in our many sessions is this, “Don’t apologize for things you aren’t sorry for. Don’t try to mask them with other things and DON’T just shrink back. You are wonderful. You’re messy too and that’s okay. But remember that FIRST, you are wonderful.”
I think we need more Donna’s telling us that over and over again. Don’t stress about the Starbucks status. You already ARE gold.
Psalm 139 talks about God forming us by hand even in our mother’s womb. Read verses 13 – 14 in the Message Version:
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.
-Meagan Lambert, Creative Worship Staff