I have been thinking a lot lately, mostly about my future. Because my life has been a whirlwind of a journey and the ending is nowhere in sight. In May, I went to Brazil, and while I was hiking the beautiful waterfalls, I was awestruck and reminded of something so simple yet so unimaginably profound. I was admiring these waterfalls while contemplating my life and all it has been and all I hope it will be. I was somewhere between stress, anger, joy, and contentment– and also all of those at once. I remembered that God created the waterfalls, and He also created me. Most importantly, He created my dreams to be like waterfalls. And sometimes, when I look at them or think about them, I get totally and completely overwhelmed.
If you look at waterfalls, you’ll notice that, right before the water barrels over the edge of the falls, it is inexplicably calm– like the water has no idea what beautiful, chaotic fate it will soon meet, it just goes along for the ride. It’s still. It seems almost out of place. But, then, it barrels over the boulders, forests, and anything else that dares to be in its way as it plummets down the falls– no longer still, but rather, awe- inspiring and chaotically beautiful. Suddenly, I turned to look back at the calm water before me as I heard the loud rushing of the waterfall behind me. And, it was in that moment, as I stood on top of some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, that I realized– you can’t have the awe-inspiring beauty of the chaos without the stillness that comes before. The one doesn’t work without the other. And it was then that I remembered God’s plan for my life, and my own dreams, are the exact same way.
You see, I have huge dreams. I have dreams that are so big, so beautiful, so chaotic, and so indescribable. I don’t even know for sure what my dreams are– that’s how big they are. And, at that moment in my life, I was stressed and confused because I had no idea what God had for my life, and I wanted so bad to figure it out. But, as I stood there, at the end of a trip that so often made my emotions feel like a waterfall, I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs. So, I screamed into my own head as loud as I could until I couldn’t hear my own thoughts over the sound of the water falling. All I could scream was “God!” Because that’s all I knew how to say.
Recently, I have had all these dreams. But they’ve been confusing, and I feel like sometimes, God has been sending me mixed signals. Because I have so many reasons for me to stop what I’m doing, drop everything, and run as far away from here as possible. Not to get away from anything, but rather, to start something– to start some of my waterfall sized dreams. But, I also have a million reasons to stay. I have so many reasons to stay and finish my waterfall sized dreams here so I can finish more waterfall sized dreams later.
As I screamed into my own mind, I remembered one of my favorite verses. Psalm 46:10: be still and know that I am God. And I remembered that God is the God of the stillness. That He sometimes comes to me in a loud voice with an obvious, shouting sign. But usually, He comes to me in a whisper– a quiet voice only heard if I’m intentional about listening. So, from that moment on, I began to listen to the stillness. To understand that my waterfall sized dreams can not happen unless I am first present in the stillness, listening for God in the peaceful.
You see, up until then, I had spent so much of my life trying to focus on the waterfall– on my hopes and dreams. And I was disappointed because, for a long time, I wasn’t sure I had any– or at least no waterfall sized dreams. Because I could never place words with them– they always seemed so simple. Until one day, they weren’t so simple. One day, they were everything and everywhere. Once I realized where my true gifts and passions were, my dreams became so clear yet so confusing– they became like waterfalls. But in that moment, I realized my dreams are beyond waterfall sized. They are God sized. They’re indescribable and unable to be completely understood by me– at least in this season of my life. Because, in this moment, I’m in the stillness. I’m the water before it barrels over the waterfall– quiet, still, waiting. Soon, I’ll reach the beginning of the waterfall. But for now, I’m following the path I’m on and listening to God’s still small voice amidst the calm before the chaos. Because someday, He’s going to take me to the edge of the waterfall and my dreams are going to barrel over the edge with a great ripple effect, and I won’t be able to stop until I reach the end where I can be still once again. Because God is the God of the stillness and in order for my waterfall to fall, I have to be willing to make it through and admire the stillness.