I’m a self-proclaimed grammar nerd. I cringe when people use apostrophes incorrectly. I make my children restate the question or statement if they end it with a preposition.
At this point you’re either nodding your head in full agreement or you’re wondering if I’ll judge your grammar next time we speak.
I will no doubt judge your grammar, but I’ll still be your friend.
Kidding (kind of). It actually hurts me a little to write in “blog speak” because it seems some grammar rules go out the window… such as being able to type “kind of” and it be acceptable that I’m ending it with a preposition or write sentence fragments and justify it because that’s how I might say it out loud.
I recently did some contract work for a gentleman who works in the travel/lifestyle industry. He hired me to write several US city descriptions that will ultimately be published in a travel magazine. It was so much fun researching the cities! It was also challenging to piece together words and phrases that would catch people’s attention and pique their interest. Word choice matters. Even my choice of seemingly small words carries a lot of weight when my word count is limited.
Which brings me back to grammar.
Prepositions are important. They mark relationships between people, places, and things. Saying I’m from Southern Indiana, for example, connects me to that region.
In my quiet time this morning I was focused on John 15. It’s a familiar passage, so I was trying to read it with fresh eyes and prayed for God to show me something new.
He’s good like that.
In this passage, Jesus talks about the importance of being connected to him. Stay connected and you’ll bear fruit. Pretty simple. In theory.
I started thinking about how to actually stay connected to the true vine. Do I approach Him in a way that keeps me connected to Him or do I do things (maybe without even realizing it) that keep me from Him? Am I ever guilty of trying to take control over Him? What about trying to take things out from underneath Him?
This thought process reminded me of a book I read a few years ago titled “With” by Skye Jethani. He writes about various approaches we have toward God, and they all have to do with prepositions.
Here are just a few of his thoughts…
• Approach life from God – My relationship with God is based on what I get from him, so consequently when I don’t get what I want, I question him.
• Approach life over God – I see God as something I have to figure out and control.
• Approach life for God – The relationship is performance based, so I put my focus on the mission itself rather than on God’s heart.
• Approach life under God – I perpetually see myself as a servant to his rules and guidelines and live in fear of what will happen when I fall short.
None of these approaches is how God intended for our relationship with him to be! He intended for us to live life with him! The relationship is at the core – it’s the focus. The goal is communion with him. From there, everything else falls into place.
So, do prepositions matter? Let me illustrate it this way. Our house is surrounded by plants that constantly need to be maintained. What happens regularly is that I’ll see a weed near a plant. As I get closer to it, I see that it’s either grown over the top, wrapped itself around, or is rooting underneath it. It’s all kinds of prepositions around the plant, except with it. So… I yank it out.
Grammar nerd or not, you can’t argue about the importance of prepositions here. The need for life with God, not over or under or anything else, was just the reminder I needed today.