I Want To Be a River. You Might Want To Be One, Too.

Last year I spent a lot of time working through what Peter meant when he wrote the words, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

I loved the truth that inner beauty mattered and outer beauty not so much, but I found myself kicking a little at his definition of inner beauty, mostly the words “gentle and quiet.” 

Over the past few months I’ve been chewing those words like cud, pulling them back up every so often. 

A few weeks ago my husband, girls and I hiked down to a little river that runs through the heart of Austin. London and Eve threw rocks. Justin tried not to get hit. 

I waded into the middle and sat, hair pulled downstream. As I watched the water rush my way— not too-hurried, not too-bossy—I pulled my words back out for consideration. I thought, “This river is gentle and quiet.”

And suddenly, like never before, I wanted to be gentle and quiet. Because I wanted to be like the river: Determined. Driven. Sure. And yet… Peaceful. Tender. Submissive.

Leaning into my culture’s love of the antithetical, I sometimes think quiet and certain are enemies—that gentle and powerful share no common ground. When I think that, I am an idiot. 

In my mind, beside the words “gentle and quiet” I now have a picture and the picture helps me make sense of the truth.

I want to be a river.