When I started seminary a friend helped me find a job at Starbucks. I was immediately put into training with the manager to learn an enormous book of rules and recipes and all the great, strong values of the largest purveyor of coffee that the United States had ever seen! At least that was the feeling I got. So don’t quote me on that. But about 10 years ago, Starbucks was at its height in popularity. People still shyly handed the cashier almost six dollars for their triple venti no whip mocha, where now it seems to be the norm. No longer do financial analysts discuss the “Latte Debt,” in fact no one really discusses Starbucks anymore, it’s just there. On every corner, serving up drinks like a soda fountain at McDonalds. It has become commonplace. But hear me, I still love my Starbucks – grande nonfat no whip white mocha to be exact.
The thing I remember most about the Starbucks trainings more than the recipes was the pride. They deliberately were not going to advertise anywhere. Their store sign was going to be the only form of advertisement and they wanted the word-of-mouth to spread like wildfire. That was that. No advertising. No way. Not Starbucks. Fast forward to today. Not one of my Pandora or Spotify playlists can be listened to without hearing an advertisement about Starbucks. And not only just Starbucks, but Starbucks K Cups. Oh man. Starbucks coffee shot into a tiny pod then sealed with a lid to go sit in a box on a shelf for months to come. This is not the Starbucks I first learned about. In fact, I see Starbucks advertising everywhere. Billboards. Magazines. TV? Yes, I think even TV.
So, what happened? Did they forget their original core values? Did they forget what they had once held so dear? Was it that their time in the spotlight began to diminish and was overshadowed by competitors? Was it that the people moved on to the next best thing? Did the Keurig replace the morning trip for easy coffee? Or perhaps the pour-over trend has won over the younger generation in a way that Starbucks can’t compete? Whatever their reason or logic for the change, one thing is certain, they changed. They turned their back on a value they once held dear. I wonder what would have happened if they hadn’t.
Every time I see an advertisement of theirs, my brain does a tiny jump from my first days of training to my life today. It forces me to look at my own life and wonder if I’ve pulled a Starbucks. Is there anywhere where I used to have strong convictions but when I saw people moving on to something else, I simply joined them?
It does get me thinking. Especially now as a mom with kids who are my responsibility to shepherd and teach. I get to pour into them the values that my husband and I hold dear. But as a parent who is in the midst of other parents who are also doing the same with their children, I have to always remind myself that what I initially deemed important needs to remain so – even if it’s not popular. Even if it causes us to lose some popularity or even if we see people passing us by to go on to the next best thing.
It’s important as a parent and a person, to know what you value. Where you place your values and how you are going to hold to them as you try to stand strong in the midst of what feels like clinging to a lifeboat in the middle of humongous storm waves. What is going to anchor you? Who is going to anchor you? Do you know what you believe and why?
Chris and I watched Unbroken this past weekend (after I had read the book) and I was astonished – as we ALL were – of Louis Zamperini’s determination to stay focused though waves literally crashed over him, though sharks circled him, though he was nearly beaten to death by a heartless antagonist, and yet through it all he was focused on more than his circumstances. He stayed devoted to the truth his brother left him with, “A lifetime of glory is worth a moment of pain.” My husband made a great point that Mr. Zamperini’s life was an image of the gospel – Jesus beat down and bruised yet focused on things greater than this world.
My prayer for myself and my family and children as we walk through life is that we would hold to our anchor. We have chosen Jesus to be our anchor and believe whole-heartedly that the short time here on earth will be but a mist compared to an eternity in glory.
This is not an urge to be rigid but to stay true to what you believe. Though the world will offer you many different reasons to change, one can be sure that a pure and righteous conviction is something that can help change the world. Especially as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, be confident in what He has called you to. We can be especially effective when all is done in love.
And in case anyone is wondering, I had two white mochas last weekend. One by myself on the way to and one by myself on the way home from the beach. That sweet, sugary drink is still my happy place. That is one conviction I will never change. 😉
P.S. Oh, and life update In other news, life is good for us here in South Jersey. We L.O.V.E. our home, our neighbors and the sunshine in general.
My sister in law graduated from Temple – Go Liv! We got to go to the DC area and stay with my sister and see my niece get FIRST PLACE in the special olympics for gymnastics – Go S!! I went on a women’s retreat with the church we continue to be SO GRATEFUL for. And I rode a six-person bike and laughed very hard – and stayed up late talking to my roomie. It was great fun. And finally, just this, just because: So much good, so very grateful. Thanks for reading along this journey with us.