Pronoun problems: Glory giving
My visiting teachers schedule appointments with me strictly to see my children – at least, that’s what my children think. When the ladies arrive, the girls run to the door for hugs and hellos, while Eli bolts for the dress up box. Today’s most attention grabbing getup involves green tights and neon sequence – it’s a dated jazz costume from my youth. Bounding downstairs he flexes his muscles, waves a plastic sword and shouts “Off to Neverland!”
The visitors let out animated oohs and awwws, and Eli glows with pride. Then the girls want to show off school projects, ballet routines and new bracelets. Of course, that leaves Eli wanting to show something too … this cycle could continue all afternoon, but after a few minutes we try breaking away from show-and-tell for a spiritual message.
As soon as one visitor gets mid-thought, Eli interrupts, “Excuse you.”
She attempts finishing her sentence.
“Excuse you. Excuse YOU!” he squawks in a piercing tone.
He’s trying to be polite, I remind myself, but it sure sounds impolite.
I try to explain, “Eli, when you want a turn to talk say, ‘Excuse me’ and then wait.”
“No, excuse YOU,” he proclaims.
His incorrect correction comes off extremely disrespectful and defiant. The visitors paste on their non-judgmental smiles and let me continue the “teaching moment” in the hallway.
Oh, what a difference a pronoun can make! Using “excuse YOU” instead of “excuse me” could result in a major brawl if said in the wrong place, at the wrong time, to the wrong person. On the other hand, politely saying “excuse me” shows good manners, kindness and humbleness, in every occasion. Of course, I’m guilty of pronoun problems too. I’ve caught myself saying I’m skilled at something, when really my Heavenly Father has gifted me the skill or talent. I’ve heard myself say I did something good, when I simply acted on a prompting from the Spirit to do that good thing. By misusing pronouns, I wrongfully take credit when I should give praise. I want to be more like Alma, who gives the pronouns and glory to our rightfully deserving Heavenly Father:
“I know that which the Lord commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this glory, that I may perhaps be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy” (Alma 29:9).
I desperately want to be His instrument too! I want to be His pen – the one that ink flows out of according to the master’s hand and direction. I want to be His trumpet – the one whose notes sing praises to His everlasting good works. But how can I ever be his instrument, if I use my voice, my words, my name or my ways?
“And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way or means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:17).
That scripture reminds me to use the right names, pronouns and words to accurately describe Him. By doing so, I can be a giver instead of a taker … A giver of glory, a giver of His words, His praise and His love. I like that sound of that much better.
May we bloom to trumpet His glory each day – just as the morning glory.
How do you ensure that you’re giving God the glory during the regular old day-to-day grind?