You’d think that knowing how to speak Spanish and speaking Spanish would be the same thing. For me, however, the sole ability and the ability to apply are completely different matters. I’ve already demonstrated that I am a person of inaction. Moving requires feelings of competency. Similarly, knowing another language is much different than practicing and using another language.
Before I completely tear myself down, I do have a pretty good command of the written Spanish language. I could read cell phone instructions or how to measure baby formula correctly in Spanish with very little problems. In fact, in college I tested out of my last semester of Spanish II in order to graduate fairly on time. My professor, luckily, did not make me speak any of the language. It was all written and I remember doing well enough. Enough to pass and graduate, that is.
Now it is seven years later. I’ve had plenty of opportunity to use the language. I’ve worked with native speakers when I was a legal assistant, taught ESL students, and now work alongside native speakers again. The most I’ve been able to say is “gracias,” and quite meekly, as usual.
The only explanation of my fear, I can weakly try to attribute to my innate shyness. I’m a person who, how shall I say this, is diffident. Did I mention that I observe things also?
In all actuality, the native speaker I attempt to converse with would probably be flattered that I was trying to use his or her language instead of assuming he or she would love to struggle through a conversation in English with me. I have a strong feeling, however, that the only way to overcome my fear is full immersion. I need to be given no option to rely on English. I need to put mi los pies forward and march in la direción of the nearest tienda o supermercado o país de español.
After reading David Platt’s Radical: [etcetera], I realized mucho gusto ir a la pais de español y ofrecio la palabra de Jesuchristo. Why else would I still be able to remember simple conjugations from my high school Spanish classes? This task has been on my heart for a month or so, but I’ve always wanted to use my Spanish. If I can find the money, and childcare, to make it a possibility, I will drop my net and go.
We are not given gifts to squander. God plants in us skills to utilize for his glory. I may be muy tímida, pero “todo lo puedo en Cristo que me fortalice” Philippians 4:13.