When I was younger, I sometimes wished that I had grown up in a European country because then I would be able to speak at least two languages since so many Europeans learn a second language at a young age. I would know the language of my home country including English (I’m guessing this is what I would have chosen, and it seems that most young Europeans speak English). And if not English, then at least something else. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m pretty obsessed with the thought of knowing more than one language.
I realize now that having English be my native language isn’t as horrible of a thing as I used to make it out to be. I still like the idea of knowing it as a second language, but it’s helpful knowing it as a first.
I’ve mentioned before how when I was younger I wished my mom was from a more well-known European country like Italy, France, or Germany. When I told friends and classmates and teachers about Slovenia, none of them ever knew where it was. Some had never even heard of it. I once mentioned Slovenia to my eighth grade English teacher and she said, “What’s Slovenia?” This bothered me. Why does my mom have to be from a country that no one knows about? I also thought that if my mom had been from a more well-known country, there would have been more available language learning courses, and I could have started learning from a much younger age.
I don’t feel this way anymore. I like that my mom is from Slovenia. It’s much more unique and it’s fun being able to educate people on this lesser known country.
As you may know by now, pretty much my whole life I’ve been wrapped up in this idea of “if only, if only, if only.”
If only I was bilingual, if only I was a native speaker, if only I was taught from birth, if only I was fluent!” It’s been never-ending.
There are plenty of times when I don’t feel this way. I realize you cannot change the past and there will never be any use in ruminating about it. But my mind likes to latch onto things I cannot change and replay all the possibilities and hypothetical situations of what life would be like if things were different. And this goes for more than just knowing a second language. It’s also true for regrettable past decisions I’ve made as well as the missed opportunities.
This is unhealthy, and I try to not get stuck in a place where I do this. I try to let go of what I cannot change and what’s already happened. I try to focus on the present. It’s not always easy, but when I do this, I always come to this realization: God knows what He’s doing.
I can spend a lot of time wallowing in bitterness about my inabilities to speak a language, but if I did speak this language, would I be where I am today? Would I have met the same people and built the same friendships? Would I be having the experiences that are shaping me into who I am? Would I even be the person I am today? Probably not. These questions also apply for the things in life I’ve regretted doing and regretted not doing.
It’s so easy to look at the what-ifs and the negatives about our situations and choices. But something I’ve learned to do while here is to not only look at the positives of a situation, but to also understand that God can and will use it for something. I don’t know what my future holds, but I know who’s holding it. I don’t quite know what my calling is yet, but I trust that God will lead me in the right direction. Though I’ve made mistakes, I’ve learned an incredible amount from them. I’m often frustrated at my lack of fluency, but I trust that there is a reason God mapped out my life this way. A lot of times I would find comfort in the thought, maybe God just didn’t want me to be bilingual. I don’t know why, but I know that He is good and I trust that He knows best.
It is always such a relief to come to this realization time and time again. I don’t need to worry about my future because God is already at the end of my life. He knows what’s going to happen, and He goes both before and behind me. He reassures me that He will complete the good work He’s begun in me. He reminds me of his steadfast love and faithfulness. He fills my life with good things and I see hints of his grace in each day. I don’t need to question why my life is a certain way or why certain things go the way they do. I know that He is in control. This gives me the freedom to let go and live, and it is a beautiful thing!