Everyday Grace, God's Deep Love

The Danger of the Third Person

I noticed a bad habit in myself the other day.

Though it is Lenten time and a therefore a time of reflection of behaviors and things Spiritual, this wasn’t that kind of habit.

This isn’t a chocolate/internet kind of habit to be broken.

It’s a habit of thought revealed by a habit of word.

You see, I noticed that I’ve recently started speaking a lot in the third person. Not using ‘You’ and ‘we’ but ‘He’ and ‘they’.

This isn’t me speaking in the royal we. “She is going to take the kids for a walk” sort of crazyness that would signify to my husband that a night off was in order.

No, what I noticed was that for a long time I’d been referring to God in the third person.

This isn’t normally a bad thing. It’s good to speak about God, to speak his praises, to bring him into conversation. That wasn’t my problem.

My problem was I was talking more about God than to God.

The realization sank deep. There was a sneaking and growing sense of detachment as I spoke more and more about God in the context of conversation than with God in conversation. He was becoming the object of my words rather than the object of my focus.

I wasn’t seeking God.

I wasn’t seeking time with him. I knew him, could speak of him, could argue for him, but wasn’t seeking him.

I wasn’t trying to look him in the face; I was talking about him like he wasn’t there.

How sad. How sad that at a time when I should be focused on him, focused on the multitudinous answers to prayer that had just been answered, falling on my face in worship of his goodness, I was loosening my grip on my solid rock.

Have you ever been in that place? Realizing that the most important relationship to you in the world has started to stagnate because of your unintentional neglect?

That the person in the world you should be most grateful for and to, is the one you haven’t thought of all day?

Been there.

And it shamed me.

He didn’t shame me, my neglect shamed me. 

And I knew the cure. I knew that though I felt shame, the Father of the Prodigal was looking for me. Looking to run towards me the instant he saw me turn my head.

That he’s always been there, waiting through the ebb and flow of my devotion. Waiting in the stillness and the chaos. Ever present, all seeing, gracious love and overflowing mercy.

He will not, should not, could not forever be ignored.

As I lifted my eyes to him after lowering them to his Word, I knew my welcome was absolute. That no matter the distance I drift, a hairbreadth whisper or a league, he’s always within reach. That though I may wander and forget, he never has and never will.

Psalm 121

A song of ascents.

 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
 My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

 He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
 indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
 the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore

2 thoughts on “The Danger of the Third Person

  1. This is a state in which I have also frequently found myself. For me, it is usually that I spend time in the Word, but only for writing about God, not for feeding myself. It makes my writing sound very spiritual, but my soul dry. Why do we avoid that which satisfies the soul?
    Thank you for sharing your soul – reading this was a good way to start my day!

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