Playdates with God: Like a Child

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As we say goodbye to summer and step into fall, I am also saying goodbye to my role as editor for The High Calling. I’ve decided to share some of the posts I wrote over there as a way through this long goodbye. This post was edited by Ann Kroeker and was part of the theme The Work of Play and really is a tiny glimpse of the ideas in my book. I hope you enjoy it.

When I was small, I would run as fast as I could with arms outstretched, letting the wind collect under makeshift wings. I was an airplane, a bird, or a dragon, flying over vast kingdoms. When the moon peeked through the dark at night, these wings would take me from my bed up into the sky, through stardust and past fiery comets—the curtains of the heavens opening wide to receive me. And I would meet with God—fly straight into his arms and let him rock me to sleep in his great lap.

As I grew up, I learned the limits of our natural world. The world grew smaller, and God seemed light years away. I came to understood that faith is being certain of what we do not see (Heb. 11:1), and my childhood nighttime meetings with an unseen God faded to a sweet memory. More and more, my knowledge increased and my faith grew; yet, more and more, I longed for that close communion of long ago.

A few years ago, I went walking with my two young sons on a snowy evening. I remember how they ran ahead, lost in the tumbling play that only brothers know, leaving me in a wake of laughter. I stood alone under that white sky and looked up. Was it true that I once flew through these same heavens; cheeks flushed and eyes pools of starlight?

When did I stop believing that with God all things are possible? Or, rather, when did my imagination become so small that I stopped expecting the seemingly impossible? When did my feet become so rooted to the crust of the earth that I let gravity weigh down my idea of who God is?

It could have been when I turned seven or eight years old. At least, that’s what Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development would suggest. He claimed that the preoperational stage of thinking, which spans approximately ages 2-7, is characterized by the development of symbolic thinking, memory and imagination—all of which allow engagement in rich make-believe play.

This thinking, based on intuition instead of logic, makes it difficult to grasp cause and effect, time, and comparison. Experts view this as a limitation, but my dictionary defines intuition as an insight into truth that is not perceived by the conscious mind. That sounds to me like the place where the Holy Spirit touches my consciousness—steering me this way or that. The world may view that as a limitation, but I wonder…

When our brains reach that stage when they are capable of logic, do the wonder structures in our brains have to shrink to make room? If so, how can we expand them again? How can we grown-ups, long past Piaget’s preoperational stage, recover the wild joy of wonder? How can I revisit that place where the Holy Spirit begins to touch my conscious and steer me again, offering his intuition and insight?

Jesus tells us in Matthew 18 that unless we become like little children we will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, he said. What might that look like? How do I come to Jesus like a child?

One answer came that cold day in February—lifted with laughter on the snow.

Play.

But what would play look like in my grown-up world? In his book Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, Dr. Stuart Brown says when we engage in true play, our sense of self-consciousness diminishes and we lose track of time. Play allows us to live fully in each moment.

I start to practice play, losing myself completely standing at the window, watching a goldfinch peel a sunflower seed. Hours spent pulling weeds in the vegetable garden pass like seconds—the scent of the tomato plant leaves intoxicates. And when the sun shines on water, leaving a rosy trail behind her, I’m drawn into the passage of light through water.

Play reminds me how it feels to be a child—innocent, everything new. God is inviting me to play each time he points my heart to beauty.

That evening in the snow, my sons’ laughter echoing through the streets, I felt the internal prompting. I felt the invitation. Once again, I lifted my arms up to my sides—stretched out my wings. This forty-ish mama let herself glide in circles, let the wind collect under makeshift wings.

And I flew. Straight into the arms of God.

This post originally appeared at The High Calling and is reprinted here under a Creative Commons license.

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.

Laura Boggess

Playdates with God: Sharing the Story

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In the past couple weeks I’ve been grateful to participate in two book signings. I learned something new from each one of them—about myself, about God. I don’t know quite how to articulate those lessons, except to say how humbling it’s been to lift my art before these people. I told one friend that I feel like a beggar, holding out my bowl for a few lifegiving coins.

I’ve discovered that the local Christian Book Stores are carrying Playdates with God, but mostly I’ve had to call around to ask other stores to stock it. Some of the local shops agree to carry it on consignment, but the larger stores, like Books-a-Million will order it from the publisher.

It’s been surprising to see which stores share in my excitement and offer help generously. Some have never returned my phone calls, though I have followed up repeatedly. I think it has something more to do with the quality of the staff more than any company policy. I’ve found that in those places where books are dearly treasured and the staff themselves dip into writing, I am made to feel more welcome. One young clerk at the BAM in the Barboursville Mall said to me, “We love writers!” Her eagerness to help after many telephone calls that yielded cold rejection made me want to weep in gratitude. It’s hard not to take these things personally and let discouragement crowd out joy. The experience has made me resolve to help others as much as I am able. How tenderly we hold the works of our hands and hearts.

Last weekend, I was at Empire Books in Huntington and I was grateful for something that happened while there. My husband had set me up with one of his smaller amps and a microphone so that I could read excerpts from Playdates with God.

For the most part, everyone continued shopping and milling about the store as I read. A few people came by and sat down to listen, some stood nearby and I could tell they were paying attention by the way hands would still over the stacks. One young man approached me after I read the trampoline story and introduced himself. He shook my hand and told me he loved jumping on trampolines—naked. I assured him that I was fully clothed when I had my adventure.

But my favorite? Two little children who were shopping with their mother. This little boy and girl were standing in the checkout line behind mom when I began reading. It was almost like a magnet drew them over to my little table. They both left their mother’s side and floated to me, stood right in front of me, keeping their eyes fixed intently on my face as I read. They were my best listeners all afternoon. I’ve never seen such concentration. I was reading from the chapter on Sabbath and the little girl was especially enthralled. Their mother finished making her purchases and stood by the door watching her children watch me. When the children realized it was time to go, the little boy nudged his sister and ran off to mother’s side. But the little girl? She lingered. Finally, she backed away from me, toward her mom, never taking her eyes off of my face until she reached the door and left.

I saw so much of myself in that sweet child’s face. Her presence was a gift. God used her to remind me the beauty he has entrusted me with—the loveliness of sharing a story.

I’ll not forget that any time soon. But if I do, I know I can trust God to send a sweet reminder once again.

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:

Laura Boggess

A Chat with Dena Dyer

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here I am with one of my favorite people 🙂

My friend Dena Dyer is hosting a little interview with me at her blog today. Dena and I have been friends for several years after meeting through our work for The High Calling. She has one of the kindest hearts I’ve ever known and the sweetest voices. She recently finished reading Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grown-up World and tells me she enjoyed it tremendously. Over at her place she’s asking me about things like my favorite playdate and how I handle discouragement. I’d love if you’d join us and chimed in on the conversation. Go ahead, ask me anything!

What Children Know: What it Means to Truly Live

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A few frail drops of rain fall and I sit at the breakfast table, wondering.

My New Testament reading this morning is on the Year of Jubilee and I am thinking of freedom. I am thinking of a broken figure in a hospital bed—one of the patients in the hospital where I work—held prisoner by a body that once was taken for granted.

I am thinking of brave words uttered from cracked lips, of a story telling long torment in an able body, of abuse and addiction, and how his eyes are opened now. I am thinking about what it takes to realize the gifts we are given each day of our life.

Do you feel like giving up?

It is something I have to ask, part of my job as a therapist.

Do you want to live?

I stare out my window and I ask myself this question:

What does it mean to truly live?

I’m over at Anita Mathias’s blog today, sharing some thoughts on freedom and having a childlike faith. Will you join me? 

ppst…did you catch all the goings on yesterday? My book, Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grown-up World is officially launched! My friend Diana is hosting a giveaway at her blog. Head on over there for a chance to win a copy!

I’m taking the time every day, to invite God into my ordinary, to notice how life responds to his presence when my heart is open to him. It’s a practice that inspired a book. And I’m sharing in community with the 31 dayers.

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West Virginia Morning: 31 Days of Playdates with God

“Every moment is sacred, when we pay attention to it.”–me, Playdates with God
This morning I re-read these words from the book I’ve written—the book that has stolen so many minutes, which can easily steal the sacred if I allow it.  So I am re-reading the book, letting my own words preach to my heart.
October has arrived and the tips of the trees are tinted in reds and yellows and tawny orange hues. The minutes are so much wine poured into the glass, sloshed over the rim, spilled onto the table. And so when the 31 days challenge presented itself to me this year, I knew it would be a chance to practice what I preach.
And this morning’s playdate was so simple, so sweet. A pause in the yard as I took Bonnie out this morning became an invitation. This tiny creature became my host. I marveled at his swollen abdomen, the intricacies of his handiwork, and the way the morning brimmed in a droplet of water.
As I watched my little friend, I began to wonder. Do you know how a spider makes a spider web? Did you know they have different glands to produce different kinds of threads? For example, some threads are sticky for catching prey and some are not so the spider can easily traverse his web. Did you know that producing the silky threads to make the web requires a lot of protein? And that spiders will sometimes eat their webs to recoup some of the energy they put into the spinning?

I spent my morning lost in wonder, in the company of the One who created it all. Watch this and wonder with me at the boundless beauty of God’s creation.

31 Days of Playdates: All the Playdates:

Day 1
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8
Day 9
Day 10
Day 11
Day 12
Day 13
Day 14
Day 15
Day 16
Day 17
Day 18