Sunday, December 11, 2011

Language Learning and Idols

Our Language Helpers.  The girl on the left is our nurturer for phase 1, and the girl on the right is the Tardy's phase 2 nurturer.

In my last post, I shared the "facts" of our language learning.  In this post, I want to vulnerably share some of my "emotions" of language/culture  learning.

Everyone knows that situations that break us out of our comfort zones cause both stress and growth.  Stressful growth..not my favorite thing.  Many of the things I am learning about myself are not pretty, they are in fact sinful and ugly...please don't judge me  :)    God has been showing me places of my heart that he wants to change (and Ryan has been used in that process as in we had a small intervention after I cried multiple days in a row).

These are a couple things I am learning:

1.  I hate the word dumb.  I don't want to say dumb things, I don't want people to think I am dumb, I don't want to look dumb, I don't want my language teachers to think I am dumb, I don't want the other Americans in my class to think I am dumb, pretty much I don't want my name and the word dumb anywhere in the same sentence.

The root of this is definitely pride and in my own culture and language I could nicely hide this ugly pride, but not putting myself into situations where I had to face the fact that I might look dumb.  However, pretty much everytime I try to speak Hindi, I appear dumb.  So I am face to face with my gross pride.

2.  I want people to like me.  I need people to like me.  If people don't like me it deeply disturbs me and makes my stomach hurt.  This is pretty problematic here because although I usually think I can read people pretty well, being in a new culture with a totally different language kinda throws that reading people stuff out the window.  Sometimes you smile at someone and they glare back at you, or sometimes you smile at someone and then they smile back...but wait maybe they are laughting at you.  At this point there is really no way for me to know if someone likes me or not, and it drives me a little crazy.

After about 2 weeks of all these things bubbling at the surface of my emotions and Ryan bearing the brundt of my stress.  I hate how we take our stress out on the people who deserve it the least!  Ryan and I had a long talk(well I cried/talked he listened/talked and came to the heart of it all.

The truth is I have approval issues.  I want man's approval.  I think I need man's approval to make me feel okay.  Tim Keller (one of my favorite pastor/teachers) has written a book called "Counterfiet Gods" and he talks about things that become idols in our lives.  These idols consume us and we do everything we can to satisfy them.  I have the idol of approval.  At the loss of other things like reading my bible, praying, being nice to Ryan...I had to study!  I had to make sure I was doing good with language because that is how I was finding approval.  Yeah, really gross.

Thankfully, the good news is the gospel!  GOD actually approves of me(really God the all knowing, all powerful) he approves of me, not if I do well at language or if a lot of people like me or if I do not appear dumb.  He appproves of me because Jesus covered me with his sacrifice.  Jesus took all the disapproval, hate, consequences of not being good enough...he took all that and he took the punishment for it.  God looks at me and he approves of me.  That is pretty world shaking and I was totally not meditating on that truth.  Instead, I was trying to satisfy some stupid approval idol and it was killing me. (and Ryan!)

It was bad, but God's patience and refining is good.

It is not all gone, even as I write this I think about how I should be studying(even thought I already studied for the amount of time I said I was going to study today).....If only my eyes stayed continually focused on Jesus.

PS  I think studying is good and important.  But, it is good and important so I can learn to speak Hindi and learn this culture, NOT so that I will not appear dumb or so that people will like me.  There is a big different in these two.  One is totally about me, and one is about other people.

Well, this is really long.  I hope somehow my craziness can encourage someone out there  :)


  1. Thank you for sharing your heart Kristin. When you are vulnerable and openly share, you are a teacher to many. What you see as ugly and gross has become a beautiful reminder to all of us to check our own "idols" against the Truth in God's Word.

  2. Thank you Kristin for sharing this.

  3. Kristin this beautiful. Such an encouragement like "Mike and Vicki" said. Its encouraging and challenging to know that even on the field God is still sanctifying and molding His children.
    Hope all is well. Love and Miss yall!

  4. you are doing a great job with studying. i know its hard now but i think u are doing good! may He be glorified in your weaknesses

  5. great job on your blogs kristin. when we first came to greece i used to blog and write and it got to be so much in light of everything else i did and i had to eventually change the way i communicated with my world. it is fun to read about your experiences though. they are so much like mine in the earlier years. different country . . . . same issues ;p hahahahaha. we are praying for your adventure.