Playdates with God: Time Sickness

My shins are peeling—one sunburned layer after another shedding itself of my body. This, the only thing that remains of our holiday at the beach. Why is it that when we get away, life lies in wait and ambushes us when we return? Even in my dreams I seek stillness.
It has rained in stops and starts since our return and though this is one of God’s love languages to me, I am saturated. This perpetual sogginess has added to the claustrophobia—trapping us inside of ourselves. Yesterday, I ran into the eye of a storm, letting the rain lash at my skin and wash away this cramped feeling that has been building for days.
In her book The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time, Judith Shulevitz talks about time deepening.
…Erwin Scheuch, a German sociologist who had conducted a time-diary study in twelve countries, noticed that the more industrialized the country, the more likely a person was to crowd more activities into the same twenty-four hours. Scheuch called this “time-deepening,” by analogy to the economic concept of “capital deepening”—getting the same output from a production process at a lower cost.
Scheuch made his observations in the 70s but here in 2013 Shulevitz says the phrase time-deepeningis misleading.
…stuffing life with more things and distractions makes time feel shallower, not deeper. “Time-stretching” may be a better term…
We are stretched thin—to the point of translucence. Hold me up to the light and I will disappear. All you will see are the things I do.
My Playdates with God have become moments grabbed in time lately: a run in the rain, a chapter read on the back deck, listening to rain fall on the roof in Sunday service. It feels like I’m stealing time.
I’ve been thinking more about Sabbath and what it means—what it could mean to me. Over at The High Calling, we’re reading Judith Shulevitz’s book The Sabbath World. Today, Shelly Miller shares part of her Sabbath story. Will you join us over there? It’s such a needful conversation.  And tell me…what does Sabbath mean to you?
How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:

The Playdates button:


  1. says

    I still can’t get Sabbath properly integrated into my life. 🙁 But I am quite familiar with time-stretching, unfortunately. Thanks for the encouragement to not give up on seeking it. There is such freedom in resting in God.

  2. Shelly Miller says

    Hold me to the light and I will disappear and all you will see are the things I do . . .such a thought provoking line Laura. Love it. Glad to be sojourning with you toward Sabbath. You’re good company. (And that photo is breathtaking btw, what a capture.)

  3. OutnumberedMom says

    Oh, my…I’d better get over there and read and I’d better get a copy of this book, and…. Time-stretching is such a danger for me. These internal bells go off, but not until things are really thin. “All you will see is the things I do” — wow, that makes me think, Laura. Thanks.

  4. Kelly Hausknecht Chripczuk says

    “We are stretched thin—to the point of translucence. Hold me up to the light and I will disappear. All you will see are the things I do.”
    I’ve been thinking, trying to write a little about this. what exactly remains when the things we do disappear as they all eventually do? Is this thing that remains the soul? Or as Nouwen might say, the Beloved? And how do we live in such a way as to nurture and develop that which will remain when all else is stripped away?

  5. says

    I fear our church culture has pushed us into a sabbath that never was meant to be. Worshipping with a little group of believers on Saturday night has cleared Sunday and opened it wide to rest and puttering and peace and moments of simple enjoyments and the best of conversations. I am so thankful to be experiencing this new way of sabbath after a half a century of non-stop Sunday insanity, jammed with services, meetings, gatherings, and running like crazy people.

  6. says

    I hadn’t heard of this book and will read it. I love what Shelly has been provoking within me concerning Sabbath. well, “love” isn’t quite the word – inviting within me probably is better. I agree with the quote though. time deepening isn’t quite the right word, Time shattering or Time fragmenting might work too. Good thought here today, Laura

  7. JViola79 says

    I loved that you wrote about the Sabbath & rest as I have been revisiting Mark Batterson’s, The Rest of God. I was struck with this thought from his book…”We best cultivate the capacity to hear in times of stillness and quietness. God is always speaking. But we’re not always listening. Here’s the paradox: If we don’t listen, we never enter his rest. Yet if we don’t enter his rest, we never listen.” (pages 187-188). May we enter & listen.

    Thanks for this reminder!

  8. says

    Summer is such a challenging time to guard and create those Sabbath rests. I know it seems like every day is up for grabs among my friends, family and community. I’ve worked hard to guard my quiet times, my rest times but feel like I constantly need reminders like this, Laura. Thanks so much for a relevant and meaningful post.

  9. Alicia Bruxvoort says

    I love the idea of time deepening! And, having arrived home just hours ago from a mountain retreat, I am wondering how to prevent the ambush. Your words are exactly what I needed before I tackle the suitcases filled with dirty laundry!

  10. Mia says

    Dear Laura
    Since I have been diagnosed with Fm/CFS, I have not much choice but to take life slowly! I started to live again in the sense that I am not able to chase the elusive dream of business and performance anymore! Sabbath to me is Jesus. Truly living in Him, is living in the eternal Sabbath/ Rest of God every moment of every day.

  11. says

    Laura, I’m always amazed at how God speaks a recurring theme to others–the Spirit leading the body of Christ in one direction. Your description of returning from rest only to find that life has sabotaged is a great description of what happens after we find a place of rest. And the peeling skin being the only reminder of your time away. May you find Sabbath rest in the little moments of the day–the love of God in His rain.

    I, too, posted about His rest. I will have to hop over (later this week) to soak in the words of this book.

  12. amyscanderson says

    “To the point of translucence.” yes, that resonates. I read that book last summer during our sabbatical trip to the northwest. I’m going to go peruse the notes I took—hoping to contribute to the conversation. We’ll see how time goes:)
    As far as playdates, I’ve noticed my tendency to feel guilty for having them. I know that’s certainly not from God! My spiritual director is helping guide me, and I’m finding myself strangely encouraged just to see the situation for what it is. Gives me hope to have an awareness. I like the perspective you have of these moments, such as reading on the deck. Accepting the modification helps greatly. As does reading your words!

  13. says

    You are so right…we no longer have the depth but have become so shallow, so “translucent”, in our ‘to do” lists, our busy schedules; our walk with God has even become so shallow due to all the “stuff” in our lives, relationships, even church! I will meander over to “The High Calling” to read more. Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  14. says

    “Why is it that when we get away, life lies in wait and ambushes us when we return?” Exactly. I have at times dreaded a vacation because I knew of the ambush that lurked afterward.

    My husband and I know the stretched feeling you describe. We usually appropriate Bilbo Baggins’s words, “too little butter over too much bread.” Twisting the context, of course. Still, that image and experience and the way the bread tears if you persist in trying to thin the butter out (especially if it’s cold butter) just captures the nature of the discomfort for us.

    If “stealing” those playdates is the only way to find them right now, keep pressing on. If God is nudging you towards change, may He guide and direct. The peace of Christ to you this week, dear Laura.

  15. bluecottonmemory says

    If I took out the media and the sports – I would have much time on my hands – but I am very possessive about “stop” time where we just live at home with a pausing place mentality. I think some people hide behind busyness so they don’t have to face truth – or the quiet. However, this weekend, I planned things – things that made me feel like I was living, like picking blueberries and movies with my boys and husband – and I dont want working away from home to take away from my family:)

  16. kingfisher says

    I’m happy for you that you got to enjoy time at the beach. Yes, may you learn how to obtain His rest in the midst of your daily routine! Please let me know if/when you can find time for us to pray together. I do miss that. But be of good cheer, you’re very blessed to be capable of doing so many activities and then being able to put them down in poignant, shimmering words.

    Love ya!

  17. Megan Willome says

    I think rain is one of God’s love languages to me, too. We’ve been waiting for it all day. It keeps getting pushed off, pushed farther away. I don’t think it’s coming after all.

  18. Leanne says

    I shared my blog because I’ve come to a similar place. How many God-moments can be crowded into a day? How much better to be just present and in each God-moment instead of looking ahead for the next one?

  19. kingfisher says

    I’ve reposted my Playdates with God link to my site, Kingfisher Crossing. The first try didn’t work properly.

  20. says

    Well, the moment we crossed over the county line and saw the cornfields and open spaces, my soul did a dance of joy! I understand something of this crowding and stretching. City life isn’t for me. It’s in this air, I can fill my lungs again.

  21. lorihatcher says

    “Hold me
    up to the light and I will disappear. All you will see are the things I do.” This is why, I believe, that God called us human BEings, not human DOings. Thank you for this beautiful reminder.

  22. soulstops says

    Oh, you caught the bee in your photo/lovely 🙂 …sorry to hear you’re feeling time-stretched, Laura…glad you were able to get a run in 🙂 Being outside almost always lifts my spirits…love and hugs to you 🙂

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