God asked for me to share this with you tonight. One of my biggest fears is learning and speaking Spanish. If you are John my boss, you probably know this better than anyone. If you are not John, you may not be aware of this.
It has kind of been a fear that I’ve tried to figure out over the years. I have thought a lot that maybe it is because I am such a perfectionist, and I think there is some truth to this. I easily become overwhelmed when listening to someone speak Spanish because I didn’t understand a word or two that they said, and then I can’t focus on the rest because I’m so upset. This happens in almost every conversation I have in Spanish. I’m not sure I’ve ever admitted that to anyone before. My vocabulary is terrible, and I have virtually no confidence. I’ve been told that I’m not that bad at the language and I speak it quite well…but I know that it needs a ton of improvement.
The thing that’s hard for me too is that there are so many different dialects. The Spanish that I am most familiar with (South American and Dominican) is not really spoken a lot in Kansas. My boss Eduardo and his wife are from South America and I can understand them better than anyone else I talk to. You’d think with all the constant practice I get speaking with people from Mexico that I would get pretty good at that dialect too, but I still stink at it. I’m so frustrated at myself for being such a slow learner. I guess I need to think that I’m smart but Spanish makes me feel so stupid.
And it seems that no matter how much I try to get away from the language and maybe even the more I try to get away from it, it calls me back to itself. The other day I had to translate a pretty difficult conversation for a business I don’t even work for because their Spanish speaker could not quite understand what was happening. It was only by the grace of God that turned out well. I was so nervous. Translating to me is like fingernails on a chalkboard. The worst thing ever. I know I need to get over that, especially since I do it A LOT. You’d think doing it a lot would help me get over the fear, but it sure hasn’t. That really bothers me.
It has also been a conviction from God that I have been fighting since day one of learning the language, clear back in high school. I never wanted to do it. So, you ask, how does someone who never wanted to learn Spanish end up living in two Spanish-speaking countries, getting a degree in the language, and working for a Hispanic pastor? That is a great question. Here’s my answer: I HAVE NO IDEA. It just happened. I guess that means it was God, because I sure had NOTHING to do with that. Like Jonah, I keep running away…except unlike Jonah, I must be on chance number 1,459…I never learn. God is trying to teach me the difficult lesson that following Him does not always mean doing something that I want to do. Often it means doing the one thing that I don’t want to do. It makes the question: are you all in? a more difficult one to answer.
I need help and accountability to be able to say “yes” to God on this one. He could ask me to do about anything else and I wouldn’t hesitate. What about this makes me so afraid? Sometimes I wonder if the fact that I am tremendously afraid of this means that it is exactly God’s will for my life. My heart knows the seriousness of what it is that God is asking of me. I desire to serve God with all my life. I know that I must serve Him in this, and especially this. Will you help me pray for the strength to wholeheartedly follow God through whatever this means, however difficult this may be? I want to be ALL IN for Him.