Lifeguarding Our Relationships

Every kid I rescued thought for sure they were OK until they weren’t.

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While in college, I worked during the summer as a lifeguard at a large city pool. I also taught swimming and trained future lifeguards. When not teaching or training, we lifeguards would sit for hours in a lifeguard tower watching over hundreds of kids splashing, swimming, and screaming in the pool. The noise of those many young voices was frequently interrupted by the shrill of our whistles telling kids to stop running or playing too rough.

Occasionally, I would notice a kid disappear underwater and stay under longer than normal. I would have to dive in the pool to retrieve a boy or girl who if left without the hope of rescue would have drowned.  The noisy, turbulent, and potentially dangerous swimming pool environment reminds me of our world. This is a socially noisy, relationally turbulent, and spiritually dangerous time. The potential for danger surrounds us like a crammed city swimming pool filled with kids at the height of summer use. People are going under without notice in the noisy waters of our current uncertainty.

Every kid I rescued thought for sure they were OK until they weren’t. The other kids only thought the screaming and thrashing of a potential victim was someone just having fun. I was trained to look past those faulty interpretations to discern the indicators of a facial expression in panic or the unnatural movements of a non-swimmer.

Today, we all need to take inventory of those whom God has placed in our lives. Look at them and ask the Lord for discernment to see if they are being overwhelmed by the unusual emotional pressure present at this moment in history.

People are drowning all around us. Our culture is drowning. People are silently disappearing off social media and from places of normal fellowship. They are slipping off our radar and into places of great emotional and spiritual jeopardy. We can’t wait for someone else to do something. If you see something, don’t just say something. Do something. All of us are called to be relational lifeguards demonstrating our love in tangible ways rescuing people who have found themselves in places of great jeopardy and need our help to survive.


This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Garris Elkins

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About the Author

Garris Elkins is a Kingdom Winds Contributor. He and his wife, Jan, serve the global Church through writing, speaking, and mentoring. They live in southern Oregon, tucked away in the foothills of the Rogue Valley. Their shared desire is to have each person learn how to hear the heart of God and become a transforming voice in their culture.