Grammar for the People: you couldn’t care less

Grammar for the People2

We are an indecisive society. With so many options for where to eat, work, live, and play, the ability to choose promptly and contentedly is a dying skill. We have become so indecisive that when expressing our dislike for or disinclination to choose something, we glibly throw out the phrase “I don’t care.” We use “I don’t care” to express our lack of opinion. However, if you truly “don’t care,” that is, in fact, an opinion and merely reflects an inability to decide.

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As you read the Bible, you see that the lives of the saints who have gone before were shaped or marked by some sort of affliction and suffering. Job is possibly the most prominent name associated with suffering, but he is certainly not the only one who suffered. Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, David, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Daniel, Paul, Peter and plenty others are on that list.

King David, who is equally as well known, though for different reasons, also lived a life full of challenges and affliction. Some came from being a soldier; some came from being a king; some came just from being human. The psalms that David penned are both a cry for help and comfort and a record of God’s faithfulness and love as he experienced them. These two themes are tightly woven into Psalm 119, making it clear where David sought his comfort and strength.  In Psalm 119:50, 51, David says, “Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.”

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Vogue punctuation

There is a trend to be trendy, hipster, and cool; and if enough people try to be trendy, hipster, and cool, trendiness and its sidekicks, hip and cool, will no longer be popular; when what was once considered trendy is no longer trendy, it becomes common and something else takes its place. I don’t like this cycle, mostly because I don’t want to be like everybody else (now or when a trend has been recycled), and I consider it a matter of principle to show up late to the in-vogue party (or miss it altogether).

The trend that is currently crushing my soul is the way the general population and real-deal writers are chunking sentences into single words with periods between every word. When did this become okay?

We have all done it recently or we have been tempted to do it. I even did it once because I knew it would portray the right degree of emphasis. (I wish I hadn’t done it. I was instantly filled with regret and my heart still hurts because of it.)

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Indelible Nudges

I first heard the word “indelible” years ago while I was watching the bonus features of The Sound of Music. Julie Andrews used it to describe some thing or another. It sounded so beautiful and I have loved it since. Then during college I wrote my column for the school newspaper and named it Indelible Traces. I hoped to bring that back for this blog but a tattoo artist in San Francisco beat me to the domain name.

Indelible Nudges, as I ended up with, may seem to some a random, meaningless name. But just as with Indelible Traces, Indelible Nudges says a lot in two little words.

Indelible means that marks have been made that cannot be removed, or it is used to describe something that can never be forgotten. This is an important word and concept for any Christian. When we are made new creations in Christ, that is forever. The work of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s heart and life is indelible; God’s work can never be undone. And throughout all of this, God never will (never can) forget his children.

Nudges, on the other hand, is significantly less beautiful and was at first going to be smudges, just because I liked the way it sounded. I liked the idea behind a smudge of blurred paths and lines. Life often seems like that—blurry, smudgy, unclear—but I did not like the connotation of dirty, messy. Combine that with indelible and it sounded like I needed a decent stain remover.

So smudges was out. Nudges came compliments of my mom, who hugged me on blog-naming day and said something about an indelible nudge. (She had already heard all about smudge.) It stuck and it rhymed, much to my nerdy delight.

Nudge, unlike smudge, is a better illustration of what I want this blog to be about: a record of the leading and guiding of God in my life, the way God nudges me in certain directions to go and to do what he wills. From my perspective, the way God leads me sometimes does appear to be blurry, like smudges, but I can trust that God’s nudges will propel me in the direction he wants me to go.

When thinking about smudgy paths and nudges, I was reminded of Proverbs 3:5–6. These verses can really be seen as a three-step process that ends in straight paths: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, and acknowledge him in all your ways.Without implying that Proverbs 3:5–6 is a three-point, fix-all recipe for straight-path success, it is encouraging that total surrender to the Lord  will always bring straight paths, even if or when they don’t seem straight to me.

I know that God began a good work in my life. He is faithful to complete it. Anthis blog is my little attempt at sharing the indelible nudges that sweep across my life with you.