I needed a summer job. She was planning to be a lifeguard.

It sounded perfect, the two of us up there on that tower, getting tan and getting paid, red buoys announcing that we mattered.

If she could ascend that ladder, then surely I could, too.

Passing the written test was easy, and I CPRed the hell out of that doll. The only thing left to do was prove I could swim.

I knew I couldn’t keep up with her, but you better believe I tried. She may have been a 4-time All American sprint freestyle swimmer headed to UCLA on a full scholarship, but I was scrappy, athletic and fueled by a fear of failure so intense you could smell it over the chlorine.

She was out of the pool a full two minutes before me, but I hustled enough to pass the test. Before leaving with certifications in hand, we decided to mark the occasion with a celebratory jump off the lifeguard tower.

And that’s when I heard it, right there in the free fall.

“Stop. You don’t need to save lives. Not like her, not like this.”


I never became a lifeguard. Turns out, I was built for land, not water.

Just because the job was perfect for her didn’t mean it was meant for me, so I didn’t force it. God didn’t need me to be someone else; he needed me to be somewhere else. Somewhere only I could be.

This hasn’t changed. The only difference is that now I don’t believe Him like I used to; at least not with any degree of consistency.

I don’t know about you, but the fight of my life has always been for contentment. The serpent of old is relentless in luring me to want more/be more/do more than God ever intends for my days.

Satan dots the map with other people’s towers and scoffs at the sight of my feet on this sand.

What’s worse is that I let him. I look at what she’s publishing and where they’re traveling and who he’s reaching, and I lose my footing, slipping and struggling in the temptation to flee the ground of my right-now life.

Because right now feels small, the daily work of obedience ever hidden in places only God can see.

I rush from the discomfort of doing the next, small thing by living like I have something to prove, a fool’s errand to be sure.

I dash for the ladder. His voice hems me in.

“Stop. Not like her, not like this.”

Then I remember.

Hustle cannot save me. Envy will not serve me. Contentment will only be mine when I call His name.

So I unfollow and unsubscribe, each click a shield from the splash; the one I’m not making because I’m not supposed to be her.

Instead, I’m called to walk with Him on the ground of my very own life.

Red buoy across my lap?

Red notifications on my screen?

Neither announce that I matter.

Only He can do that.

Turns out, when He jumped from His tower, He was coming after me.


Some days I feel small. On other days, my world feels small. Neither feeling is true.

We are infinite creatures living in an infinite cosmos, and we are seen.

We are known. We are never forgotten or so lost that we cannot be found.

{Christie Purifoy, Roots & Sky}