I’m really hard on myself most of the time. I’m trying to learn to love that about myself. It’s a weakness that makes me feel pretty bad pretty often. It’s repulsive. It’s frustrating. I hate it. But…it’s one of the most effective ways to bring me back to the Lord. It always knocks my pride down a peg or ten and opens my eyes to a bigger world outside my little life. It’s because of my dang pride that I think I can do everything well and perfectly and am devastated when I find even a hint of proof otherwise. I live in minor fear of someone finding me deficient in some way.
A major area that makes me feel this way is in my proficiency with the French language. Most of the time I don’t have to face my own linguistic limitations but I’m usually a little afraid of people really knowing that I don’t quite measure up. It’s something that kept me from speaking when I was in France and still keeps me from putting myself in French speaking positions. Those are pretty few and far between here in North Dakota (other than speaking to my students who are just beginners).
I’ve been trying to decide what to do with my summer. I’m in a great position now to travel and Tom and I have talked a little bit about it. My thoughts are turning now towards some French language program or a more extended stay in France…somehow. My motivations are somewhat mixed though. I feel compelled to ameliorate* my French (*thanks to the French language for teaching me that fancy English word) more out of a semi-desperate motivation to be finally satisfied with my French speaking and comprehension abilities. I am sometimes so disstisfied with my abilities that I cannot appreciate how much I actually do know.
I keep thinking about how now that I’m married I can’t really do the whole “live in France for a year or two” kind of life. The Husband doesn’t know French and we’re a package deal now. The thing is, though, that I deep down don’t really want this anyways. I’ve thought that it’s the only way to finally be satisfied with my French abilities but I really don’t want to do it! It’s hard to be a foreigner, at least in the beginning, and I’m not sure I really want to put myself through that again. (Including all the visa junk. Hated that.) It’s hard to be a lady and feel safe somewhere foreign too. (I know this isn’t a big deal for many but, this is me! I’m a worrier.) I’m happy with my life and love where I live and it’s exactly where God wants me to be right now.
But there’s this nagging question of “Am I good enough at French yet?” Which probably boils down to the essential question that most (if not everyone) asks themselves in the innermost room of their heart: “Am I good enough yet?” This is not one of those situations where BOOM: you receive an answer. It’s one that fluctuates day to day, I think. Today I’ve slid backwards a bit. Other days I feel more secure in the merciful heart of Jesus and stand firm in my answer.
I think the best conclusion to these thoughts is with pictures since they are worth at least 1,000 words. Here are some of the blessings of imperfect French and the people who have been patiently receptive to my varying French abilities: