I think 5 years ago, I had some pretty naive ideas about language learning. I know I thought that 5 years in I would be more proficient than I am. I still struggle to communicate at a heart level with nationals. Ok, let's be honest, sometimes I struggle to communicate on an informational level. I am pretty sure that this baby I am carrying right now is sucking all the Spanish out of me through the placenta. That's a thing, right?
In all seriousness, I am still a foreigner, still trying to pick up the broad strokes of the language at times. Anybody else there with me? I can get really discouraged by that fact. I am not where I want to be language wise. It's not for trying. We've done a year of language school, a couple of years of private tutoring and living away from other expats. It's just hard and probably will always be a challenge for me for a lot of reasons. I joke with my tutor that my problem is my mom never spoke to me in Spanish. Seriously though, I don't have the gift like my husband does. I also don't have as much interaction in Spanish like he does since I'm home with kids. I have some learning struggles that make language learning that much harder. I most likely will always speak with an accent.
God reminded me the other day though that it isn't about me. It's about Him. Huh. You would think I might have gotten that lesson by now, but apparently not quite yet.
No, this is about Him. Like Paul said to the Corinthians
When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words (yeah, maybe more like the vocab of a 4 year old!), but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
God chose, in His infinite wisdom to have me born to North American, English speaking parents. That was His plan. If He had wanted my primary language to be Spanish, He would have done it. He wants to work through me in my weakness to demonstrate the Spirit's power.
So for as frustrating as that is, it's comforting. It means that any good that comes of a conversation with someone, it's because of God, which actually is a pretty great place to be!
How about you? Do you feel discouraged by your language proficiency? How do you keep sharp in your second or third language?