Saturday, 30 April 2016

When Living Right Way Up is to Pass By - FMF

by Kath

The word 'pass' brings two immediate responses for me. 
The first is the phrase 'pass, thanks!' which is one of my cynical responses to an invitation to do something that I've tried hard at and has not been terribly successful, but rather painful.   That comment usually means I have no intention of trying to do again, nor to explain why I'm not, so please back off.  So, I'll leave that rather cynical response be - in fact, I'll pass on it.
But the other pass reminds of me of our exploration into learning German with my older girls when they were much younger.     
Könnten Sie mir bitte das Salz reichen?   That was how our German exchange student taught us to ask for the salt.   Literally, it translates as 'can you me please the salt pass?'.
Now, that's a little back to front, don't you think?   Well, I certainly thought so when I first heard it but it was perfectly normal to her.   In fact, she was still struggling with our English way of speaking, even after years of studying English, including the immersion method - studying many lessons in the target language.  She was a very clever girl, and yet she was struggling with our way of speaking.    She taught us normal, natural German and tried to teach us formal German and German grammar - now there's a challenge.  I found it challenging and the girls certainly did but we soldiered on and learn to speak it a bit and had a bit of fun along the way.   Today, we can speak it a bit and occasionally burst into German when certain things prompt us. 
But, it was all foreign to us.   We spent years learning it and speaking it in various settings, but really we only ever mastered the basics, because we were always drawn to English, drawn to our own culture, our own normal.  She was the foreigner in our English setting and wasn't with us for very long.  Perhaps if we had lived in a German culture, it would have taken more root in our lives.  
It reminds me that often God's ways seem so back to front, so wrong, so foreign to us, and we struggle to learn them and live them.   Perhaps we're just too grounded in our own culture, and don't want to live in His, for His ways to become normal to us.
Perhaps we need to pass more on this culture, and dive more fully into His, to live in His culture, to be uprooted from our own and planted into His. 

So, I'll pass thanks, not in cynicism, but I'll pass on those things that seem normal to me, but that He asks me to lay down so that His ways become mine.  
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

P.S. If you would like to read more about our German Adventure, you can click here

 Linking up at Five Minute Friday


  1. Many languages are so different from English. When I learned sign language, it was similar. I've often called what you're talking about "opposite world" This world is so opposite of God's way...Have a great Saturday! In the #30 and #32 spot this week

  2. I love the link you make between the different sentence structures in different languages and the fact that our ways are different from God's. It's true that we come with fixed ideas about how things should be and we need to let go of those and immerse ourselves in his ways. Visiting from FMF (#46)

  3. Thanks for your feedback, Christy. God's ways really are so opposite to ours, aren't they, often even our 'good' ways.

  4. Thanks for your reply, Carly. I think the word immerse is key here. How much do we dive into God's ways and His culture instead of trying to live in both? I'm challenged to remember that even my 'good' ways are often opposite to God's.