I really enjoy assignments that require real effort, hard work. After learning for 3 years with the same teacher he still knows how to make me go a bit farther each time. It's a great feeling when I know I've accomplished an assignment in Khmer and I gave it my very best. I can tell and so can my teacher. Those days make us both happy.
Yet, there I was last night chatting with my roommate, answering phone calls, scrolling through Facebook and only absent mindedly putting together Khmer sentences about HPC. At the end of the night I already knew that today's lesson wasn't going to go over very well. Going into a lesson and feeling like I don't know exactly what I'm going to say and how I'm going to say it feels really vulnerable to me. Some days are harder than others when I'm trying to communicate in someone else's language and I know I haven't mastered it yet. I want to feel adequate, competent, like I'm on top of things and oh my goodness do I learn so much from this whole speaking a second language thing! Most times I probably just need a little perspective... I work with 25 Khmer colleagues who speak English as their second language almost every day and I think they're so brave, so smart and amazing simply because they're not afraid to show and try to have conversations in English, so why I can't I see that for myself about Khmer? That's another post altogether, for now back to my unprepared for Khmer lesson...
"Yvonne, tell me honestly, how long did you spend preparing this?" was his first question after my teacher listened to me stammer through 25 minutes worth of very little about HPC. So I told him. Next question, "Are you satisfied with this?" to which I again honestly answered no. "Okay, so next week try again, I know you can do better" he said. I was frustrated. I like to move on, I don't enjoy feeling stuck. I would have much rather just bombed and quit, moved on to something else next week so I didn't have to do a better job. I did learn a few words and phrases today that I needed in order to better communicate about HPC and my heart. I also got a new memory verse (because I did manage to memorize Romans 10:17 in Khmer!) which is always fun, 2 Timothy 1:7 in Khmer, woohoo!!
I knew going into this morning that I wasn't going to do my best and I really considered just canceling the lesson. I'm glad I didn't. I chose to show up instead. I chose to beat my pride back with humility and fumble through a jumble of words that was my own fault for not investing in it the way I could have (and I really could have, it wasn't a week where I didn't have time, I just chose other things...). I showed up and was held accountable as I was forced to be honest. I showed up and was given grace as my teacher patiently listened to sentences he knows I could have said more accurately, quickly and with much more ease than I did. I showed up and heard words of mercy and encouragement as I was reminded that students are students so that they can learn not because they already know it all. I showed up and was challenged (which, once I've let go of my frustration and accepted things for what they are, is motivating for me!) to give it my all next time.
Brene Brown writes in her book, Daring Greatly, "Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgement and advice, we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. This is vulnerability. This is daring greatly." During today's Khmer lesson I was seen, it wasn't my best but I was seen. I was vulnerable and had the opportunity to be met with grace, patience, accountability, honesty and motivation to keep going!
And, this blog.... I didn't write when I wanted to this week but I'm writing now. I'm showing up. I can be seen. It's vulnerable, it's a risk. It motivates me because if I can do it tonight then I can do it next time, too. I'm choosing to see this morning's Khmer lesson as a victory because I really could have backed out, cancelled and gone to pick up a friend from the airport, but I didn't. And this writing, right now, is an even bigger victory!
Jesus showed up for me, He did not sit on the sidelines and judge where I was. He walked the earth, He died on the cross, He was vulnerable. And, I certainly see Him, I honor Him in the ways He has showed up and how He'll continue to show up. So, yeah, when He asks me to show up for a Khmer lesson in honesty instead of backing out and letting shame and pride win, I will. When He asks me to show up and start writing again, about things that matter to me, about vulnerable things, I will. I will continue to dare to show up because He continues to meet me every time.
What did you show up for? What will you show up for?