Lord of the Practicing

I just got off the phone with my dear dear dear friend. Whilst we were having this conversation this very strange analogy popped in my head.

I took Spanish in high school. I became pretty good at it. I continued in college. I became even better. Fall semester of my freshman year I decided to be completely random and take a new language course WSU decided to offer, Japanese.

I was actually taking an upper level of Spanish while I took Japanese 101. I never knew what effect this would have. Previous to taking Spanish classes I had not learned any other foriegn language (besides the required Latin classes in elementry school in Ohio.) So when I went to speak Spanish in high school I had no problem.

But now (2003) there was a problem. My brain had two banks. It had a regular conversation bank, and a foriegn conversation bank. When I attended the Japanese class my first semester taking it, my brain would, understandably, draw from the foriegn bank. The problem was, there was only Spanish in that bank.  As hard as I tried to speak Japanese my brain kept throwing out Spanish!

I was, by no means, -trying- to speak Spanish. It was just in me. So, it came out! Eventually it became very frustrating! I was discouraged. I had to think of the word in English, then my brain would translate it to Spanish, then I would have to try and find the Japanese word! It was so much work!

By this time I had fallen in love with the beautiful language and culture. I had tested it out; and it was something I knew was good for me. I needed to make a decision. The following semester I would stop taking Spanish classes. I did that.

It didn’t immediately fix the problem, though. I still had a problem with mixing my Spanish in. However, allowing myself to focus on Japanese alone allowed my brain to reorganize my mind’s filing system. I had to seperate myself from my Spanish pattern, and zoom in on Japanese. The more Japanese I poured into me, the more I could return it back out. Soon enough no Spanish made exodus from these lips, unless I wanted it to. My mind could discern one from the other foriegn languages.

So, what does this mean? It’s similar to our spiritual / emotional lives as we try and transform, grow, renew our minds, gain experience, and “level up”. We walk into Japanese class (God’s presence) with this other foriegn language (our bad habits, and experiences) we have nearly perfected, and rehearsed. It’s a part of who we are. It flows out of us just as easy as a native tongue. We have just practiced it so much.

And even when we have every intention of changing it, it comes flying out unannounced. It’s just much easier to produce! Perhaps we have old, bad, experiences with church, past hurts, abuses, or what have you. We store those experiences in an emotional Ziploc bag. When something dealing with God, Church, love, relationships, or spirituality comes up, the experiences that we have practiced for so long come flying out. It can be frusterating when you really are trying to speak the right language, experience its beauty, but you cannot. All you seem to know is what you have practiced for the longest time.

At this point it’s time to make a choice. You’re trying your best to get it right,but there is just so much “Spanish” inside of you you can’t focus. You need to let something go.This is the simple action of sancitification. Don’t worry, I’m going intense Christianese on you without a definition. All that means is that you are seperating yourself from the old patterns. The bible tells us to sanctify ourseves; and THEN God will sanctify us fully. So, I guess it’s your move.

God wants to give us the uninterrupted experience of his love language, just like my learning Japanese. The more I let pour in, and dug into Japanese, the less I experienced the Spanish leaking. The more love I experience from God, the less I hear negativity take over my thoughts, dreams, faith, and ability to receive love.

If I’ve gotten really good at disbelief, and it’s all I have in me, I should not be surprised when it leaks out –even when I decide to try to believe. What I need to do is:

1. Acknowledge that what I am feeling/saying/experiencing is not the language I intended to persue.
2. Re-think what my goal is. This may mean I need to redefine my situation with the right vocabulary, or in other words, be willing to change my mind!
3. Decide to seperate myself from any triggers or patterns that cause me to think, speak, act, or otherwise experience undesireable behavior / “language”.
4. Practice the language I desire / go after those experiences… remember the more I pour in, the more can be poured out the way it is intended.
5. Realize that this will take a little dedication. I must practice what I desire! It will pay off in the end. I will go from broken hearted to able to receive and give love. From cynical, surly, and silly to full of hope, kind, and wise.

Let Him be your teacher too. His office is always open.

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