Thursday, March 29, 2012

Did You Get Lost in Translation (Or Lack Thereof)?


Did You Get Lost in Translation (Or Lack Thereof)?

“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” Proverbs 18:1

An introvert is a person typically characterized by concern primarily with his or her own thoughts and feelings. One may also refer to this person as shy. Although this is true, at any particular moment in life an individual can turn inwardly, regarding only themselves, their feelings and their ambitions. There has never been an official poll, yet I can almost guarantee hands down that anyone who knows me personally would identify me as an extrovert, a person concerned primarily with physical or social environment. I would prefer to not be characterized by either. I pray I am not solely concerned with myself nor external things.

In college, I studied many languages. German was my chief language for meeting university requirements. I was however required as a vocal performance student to study diction and pronunciation additionally in French, Italian, and of course English. One of the key principles I learned early in my training was that other languages had a more distinct way of describing things with multiple words, whereas English may have had only one word. Thus, people are often confused about meaning and intent in the English language. Love may be expressed several ways in Italian depending on the context or purpose. However, when expressed in English, you are left to interpret whether it is love toward God or man. Does it mean erotic love or agape love? The interpretation of introvert as a personality trait rather than a choice brought on by circumstance or decision is often a point of contention in marriages, families, business relations and Christian maturity and fellowship.

Proverbs 18:1 English Standard Version declares “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” English Standard Version. The King James Bible (Cambridge Edition) expresses it this way: “Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.”

Therefore, a quiet spirit is not necessarily an introvert, but wise person, whereas an introvert can often be the very opposite. This is an important principle to highlight, for we must be certain of how we identify ourselves and what we allow others to define us by. If we consider ourselves to be introverts, we must count the cost of a life without sound judgment. However, if we consider ourselves to be more reserved and prudent, we take on wisdom and are known by many as considerate and wise.

Often, we are the afore mentioned, trapped by isolating circumstances, lacking genuine fellowship with God and others that can propel our life in the direction Christ designed for us to live. Let’s no longer mistake a quiet spirit for an introverted one!

Ecclesiastes 10:4 states “If your boss is angry at you, don't quit! A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes.” 1 Peter 3:4 “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” Yes, a quiet spirit is as a precious adornment and of great price to God. Jesus paid a great price by dieing for our sins so a quiet spirit is ours to embody.

Remember, just because there is not seemingly an adequate word that describes you in the English language does not mean you deserve to be termed incorrectly. You may have to find another language more suitable for your personality. (Just so you know, the words I use to describe myself just sound better when I say them in French anyway!)

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