Wednesday, January 28, 2009

little i

The other night my husband and i were at an event where the words to the worship music were placed on a screen for all to see, as no doubt you have all seen done. But this night i noticed something: every time they used the word "I" on the screen, it wasn't capitalized. My editor's eye was drawn to this glaring error, and i spent much of the time that i was supposed to be singing trying to discern why they had done this. Oversight? Trying to be cute? It bugged me.

Then i felt God's whisper to my heart, causing me to go a bit deeper. "Why do you capitalize the i?" He asked me. "Who started that? Why? Is it because you all think that the almighty i is so important it needs to be capitalized? Maybe these folks recognize that "i" am not important-- but I AM is."

While I am not proposing a little i revolution-- shaking up tradition and causing a crisis in the grammar world--i am wondering, what does a little i life look like?
Slaying self?
Setting apart?
Seeking Him?
Serving others instead of doing what i want?

This little i thing could catch on. It should catch on, because it's the life Jesus called us to. We don't need to be capitalized. We need to be small, insignificant-- just a jot and a tittle, the littlest marks in the alphabet. Instead of a capital letter that announces our importance. At least, that's what i am learning these days-- and trying to live out. Sacrifice, surrender and servanthood are hard. But i know that's what God calls us to do, laying down our wants, needs and desires and straining towards His.
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sweettea said...

You know, i hadn't thought about that ;o). i have made the point to capitalize all words speaking of JESUS, but i hadn't thought to uncapitalize the "i"! i had to hit the delete key all but one time to do this! :o)

Julie W.

Rona said...

i agree wholeheartedly!!!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful. i have been finding myself disgusted at the "i" centered-ness of my prayers, my worship, and even in my searching of HIS Word. i am getting tired of "i" and am hungry for a renewed focus of HE who is so mu ch greater than "i". Thank for this MArybeth!! i will join you in being grammatically incorrect ;).
Amanda McEwen

Sandy in Holiday,FL said...

I was heading towards a pity party this morning until i read your blog. It will be a much better day keeping the I AM in the forethought of this day He made for me and the I out of it!

JenB said...

i like this! very thought-provoking.

Kara said...

Thanks so much for this message. It really convicted me about an issue I'm struggling with at church. I shared it with my husband, who said "That's the Holy Spirit talking to you - you need to listen!" So thank you for being an instrument of the Spirit today - you have made a difference in how I'm going to handle things.
And I think it's funny that God is speaking to me through this capitalization issue - I'm an English major and I really hate when things are written incorrectly! :)

Marybeth said...

Hi Kara-- I am an English major as well and think with an editor's mind and viewpoint-- sometimes that's not such a good thing as I tend to be critical. And yet, in this case it was the very thing God showed me.

Kathy said...

i love learning from you, Marybeth. God has blessed me so much over the years, just by knowing you.
Seeking to be surrendered,
Kathy Fletcher

momishome2 said...

Thank you so much for posting this! It REALLY bugs me at church to see all the grammatical errors up on the screen and in the bulletin, but the focus should be on The Person whom we are worshipping and about whom we are learning. My paying job is currently as an editor, but i need to learn not to edit every little thing sometimes and to focus on the larger picture. Do i dare admit it actually hurt not to capitalize those i's? The points you made were points with which i've been struggling in my personal life; it's good to hear/see these things from more than one source.

Laurie Ann said...

i never thought of it that way before. Great insight into this, Marybeth.

Christine said...

Love that little i idea!! WOnderful food for thought.

Karen said...

My 18yo son, who also writes, uses little 'i'. I think he may be way ahead of me in his thinking after reading your post.
(see you Friday!)

Anonymous said...

And i thought this was part of the texting grammar plague, thank you for changing the way i think!

MDearing said...

Love it!

Lutiemom said...

Beauitfully stated! i appreciate your insight.


Julie Coleman said...

LOVE this post. I am working on a retreat message about dying to self at this very moment. Our identification with Christ must start with our identification with His death (Rom 6:6). Only when we die to self can the treasure we have been given (new life in Christ) be revealed (2 Cor 4:11). But it is a process that will result in great reward: "We do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison." (2 Cor 4:16-17)

Kudos to you, Marybeth, for keeping the goal set before us!

Arlene said...

I never thought of it this way - i've always identified the "me" generation but not the "I" generation. Both are one and the same; we're so focused on ourselves we forget that Jesus taught us to serve others. That's where true JOY comes from: Serving (J)esus first, (O)thers second, and (Y)ourself last. Great post Marybeth, thanks for sharing.

Lori said...

I would have done the same thing - been totally distracted by the error. Now i will always think of this post when i see the "I." What a timely reminder that life is not all about me. Thanks, Marybeth!

Julie Coleman said...

Another thought-- I am on the worship team at church. The largest section of our songbooks is the "I" section. The vast majority of titles of worship songs begin with I. Kind of interesting.