In the grown-up world, if I am to believe God the way a little child does, it is implied that I must employ suspension of disbelief—a term first used by poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1817 in his work Biographia Literaria. In an attempt to recapture the imagination of a world held captive by the new science of the industrial revolution, Coleridge reintroduced fantastical elements into poetry—writing of visions and beings from the spiritual realm that had long been abandoned in favor of more practical imagery. Suspension of disbelief implies that to go along with a storyline, I should ignore certain aspects of the plot that are seemingly impossible. In this way, I look over what I know to be true—what my eye sees—into the greater narrative of the story … Maybe, [to have faith like a child] instead of suspending disbelief, we need to practice expansion of belief. Isn’t this the way of a little child? To open the mind wide enough that the huge presence of the impossible can fit inside? Children don’t suspend disbelief. They enter into belief with the whole of their being…” ~Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grown-up World
In our small group last night, we talked about the difference between being childish and childlike. We watched a video about recapturing wonder in our faith lives, and it fed my hungry heart.
We always start our small group with a check-in. We go around the room and everyone gives a little update about what’s going on in each of our lives. So before we entered into this conversation about being childish verses being childlike, we listened to stories about work and play, aging parents, dealing with teenage angst, new puppies, and adjusting to the almost-empty nest.
It’s a beautiful thing, a sharing that bonds, a great practical way of staying in touch with the big things going on in each other’s lives. But I couldn’t help noticing that the real checking-in happened later in the evening. After we watched the video and discussed its finer points, after we prayed and everyone piled their plates full with yummy food—that’s when the real connections were made. People huddled together in the living room sharing stories from every day, folks wandering out to the deck to watch the children jump on the trampoline, someone ruffling the hair of another one’s child.
We put our lives on hold and make a choice to enter into these holy moments, and in the end, these are the moments we will remember. These are the moments that expand our belief and wake us up to the knowledge that God is here. He walks among us.
In her book Deep Play, Diane Ackerman says, “There is usually a boundary or door at the edge of deep time.” We have to choose to cross the threshold. That is what planning a playdate with God does for me—invites me through the door into holy time. “What gives moments meaning is not the moments themselves,” says Emily P. Freeman in her book Simply Tuesday. “but the presence of Christ with us in the midst of them.”
Trouble is, too often I walk right by the doorway that will lead me into the kairos time—the holy time—because I’m too preoccupied with handling life on my own.
Last night, I wanted to ask my friends about the last time they let their belief expand. When last did they make room in their crowded lives to believe the impossible? When was the last time I did? When I make room in my life for time to wonder at the unlimitlessness of God, all my worries fall away.
And the impossible takes shape and form and is no longer unattainable.
Every Monday I share 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 God and know joy. Click on the button below to add your link. I try to visit a few of your stories every week, so if you are a new visitor, be sure to let me know in the comments so I can welcome you. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us.