lessons from being a lifeguard

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I work as a lifeguard during the summers at a faith-based retreat center. My job there has taught me A LOT about just life in general but especially about children. I love children, hence my major being elementary education. I love their innocence and sense of wonder. They look at the world with an open mind and with hearts that haven’t been hardened by life’s sometimes harsh reality. They aren’t as quick to judge as we “adults” are and they love and trust more openly. They are refreshing to be around because they don’t take life so seriously. They know how to find enjoyment out of the simplest things. Children are always excited about everything and it’s inspiring.

However, I’ve also seen another side of children. I’ve seen the child that doesn’t want to stop running along the pool’s edge even though they’ve been told to stop already. I’ve seen the child that doesn’t understand why they can’t dive in a 3 feet deep section of water and does it anyways. My least favorite child to see is the one that tries to brave the 5 feet deep waters only to realize that they can’t swim as well as they thought they could alone. The problem with these children is that they don’t understand the dangers of their actions. No matter how many times they’re warned, they keep running back to the things that might hurt them. Even though they may have been warned plenty enough times, they still think their way is the best way and proceed to do what they want.

I’ve been that child. The one that doesn’t see the danger ahead and does what she wants anyways. The one that maybe recognizes God’s warnings but pretends not to notice. The one that thinks she’s strong enough to go at it alone only to realize that she isn’t strong at all without God by her side.

The purpose of God intervening in our life is similar to the lifeguard’s purpose. The lifeguard enforces rules so the children can spend the time they have in the pool safely. God places rules and guidelines in our lives (also known as the Holy Bible) so that we can spend the time we have on Earth doing the right things and doing them without causing harm to ourselves or anyone else.

No matter how many times God shows us a better and safer way, we keep returning to the things, actions, or even people that cause us harm. God reveals his will to us for us to follow it, not to ignore it and go on about our hazardous ways. Sometimes for the kids at the pool, it takes a scraped knee or a scare in deep water to make them listen to my warnings. Sometimes for us, it takes a ruined friendship, a broken to heart, or a wasted opportunity to listen to God’s. God isn’t there to ruin our “fun” like the kids at the pool think I’m there to ruin theirs. He guides us to follow his will and to show us a better way to live. The things that God has in store for us when we listen to his warnings our far greater than any “fun” this world can offer us. I would much rather trade my desires and dangerous actions for God’s blessings. The only way we can better glorify God is to give up our desires and follow His.

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