You watch your child as they try to play a game with everyone else. They are the only one that doesn’t know how to play, and it’s easy to see they are frustrated. They’re annoyed that everyone else understands the rules and no matter how hard they try to mimic what they see, they keep making mistakes.
You sit down to help explain the rules, and they throw up their hands. “This isn’t fair! I don’t want to play anymore.”
Sound familiar? We may or may not have gone through this scenario in our family once or twice. To be honest though, this pretty accurately describes my experience with adjusting to a different language and culture sometimes. It’s like a game that everyone around knows the rules to. Except in my scenario, I’m not the helpful adult trying to give counsel. I’m the child, who doesn’t know how to play and at times wants to quit.
It can be difficult, not knowing. In my life in the US, I knew the rules. I knew the generally acceptable ways to act, social cues etc. Here, I am still trying to figure out the rules. For me, there is a temptation to want to hide away at times, because at least then I’m not bumbling awkwardly through the “game.”
I was thinking about the game analogy today again, and as I was thinking, it hit me, that I don’t necessarily have to have all of the rules worked out yet. The reality is, I have a Father who knows the rules of the game and all of the other players. If I would just listen to His directions, and follow His leading, rather than pull away saying, “I do it!!” like my four year old is so fond of saying these days, I’d be ok. At times I may still make mistakes, but if I kept listening I could learn through them. It still might not feel natural until I’m more familiar with the rules, but I could do it with a lot less stress than trying on my own.
So I’m daily learning to place my hand in my Father’s and say, “Please, show me how to do this.” He is. One step at a time.