God has been using my language learning experience to teach me more than just a new language, but also to help me understand my walk with Him better. Three examples particularly have stood out to me.
It Takes Time
Language learning…it ain’t no easy task, and while there’s lots of methods and programs out there, one thing must be in place to learn a language well…TIME. It takes time to learn a language, and I don’t mean time in a country, or a certain place, I mean actual language time. Time sitting in sessions painstakingly saying butchered sentences and then repeating it correctly after your helper has corrected you. It’s time hearing people talk, talking at the market, talking in language session, talking on the street, talking everywhere.
Few of us learn a word well just by hearing it once. Often I hear it for the first time, then have it explained, I review it, I might happen to come across it in reading, I notice it when we some people are having a conversation and then one day…I cobble together an understandable sentence using that word! It wasn’t any one of those times that made that word all of the sudden part of my vocabulary, it took each instance for it to settle in enough for me to actually be able to pull it back up and use it in my own sentence.
Like language learning, growing in my understanding of God takes time, not how many years have I racked up since I first believed, but time actually in His word, time in prayer, time in fellowship with others. The more I read my Bible, the more all the dots in the stories connect. The more impactful Hebrews 11:23-31 becomes, after reading about Moses in the Old Testament and how He stayed faithful to God despite the Israelite’s rebellion. When I’ve just read about the God who had power to defeat hard-hearted Pharaoh despite so many odds, even a sea didn’t stand in God’s way, then when we sing at church about God being the same yesterday and today hits me even harder as I think of this God being MY God today.
The More Exposure I Have, the More I See My True Level
I often come home from the market feeling pretty good about my Jula. I can greet the vendors, ask for a price and often understand the price. It makes me feel good! But then when I sit as two ladies discuss…well actually I’m not sure what they were discussing…I picked out a few words here and there and my brain frantically tried to play connect the dots to figure out what they must be saying. The more I’m around Jula, the more I see all the Jula words, phrases and grammar that I have no clue about. When I’m not around too much Jula, I don’t feel so bad about my level.
I’ve found it the same with my Bible, when I’m not reading it much, I feel like I know most of it, I know about God making everything, Jesus came as His Son, so on and so forth. But the more I read and reread my Bible the more I see all that I don’t really know, the more I see that I’m just like the Israelites, forgetting time and time again God’s mighty deeds and instead getting caught up with wanting meat in the desert, or wishing to be back in Egypt, or believing that some giants are too strong for God.
Nothing Can Replace The Real Thing
In language learning, I can read for hours about methods, tips and tricks. I can read other people’s language learning stories, those things can be good and all, but nothing at all can replace me just settling in and doing it. Plugging through hours of listening, talking, reading, being corrected. It’s the same with God’s Word, I can read every recommended devotional out there, look through commentaries and follow all the Christian mommy bloggers, but I can’t ever let that replace reading God’s Word. There’s nothing that can replace learning about God through His interactions with man that we see all throughout Scripture.