Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Aim of Language Learning

I just came across an excellent post on "A Life Overseas", a blog written by missionaries around the world. The blog does a great job of tackling the tough questions surrounding missions, and it's writers are wonderfully and brutally honest.

In this particular post, the author wrestles with the reality that she has been in country for over 10 years and is still working on the language. To an outsider, this may seem like a long time. But in reality, this is a common story. It can take a lifetime to reach fluency and when there are other factors slowing things down, like stress, family, and multiple languages to learn, the journey is long.

When the language learning journey is extended, it can be difficult to deal with our own and others' expectations. Personally, as I enter German language learning, I am hoping to feel pretty fluent in a couple of years. But this may not happen, and I need to be prepared for that. Afterall, the aim of language learning, the blog writer says, is not just language fluency. "The point, the aim, is not fluency. The aim is to honor God, to be used by him, to become more like Jesus, to love well." 

I love what she says about the questions we should be asking ourselves:

"How does God want to change me and use me while I learn this language? How does God want to accomplish his purposes through me while I learn this language? How can I love people while I learn this language?"

I would encourage you to read the rest of the article here. It really paints a realistic portrait of the language learning journey, it's challenges, and how God uses it to mold and shape those of us who are on it.

What is the journey that God has you on, challenging you to be humble and dependent on Him?

Photo credit: ardelfin from

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