Playdates with God: Childlike

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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.

Laura Boggess

A Guest Post for Anita at Dreaming Beneath the Spires

Last night after dinner the electricity went off. A white sky illuminated the night outside, silhouetting our usual, and I stared at my laptop in the dark…no internet connection… the screen an island of light in the room. Our two boys clamored—wound up by darkness, and excitement pulsed as their daddy lit candles and checked the weather on his iPhone.

We sat in the hush and listened to the wind blow the deck furniture around.

I am over at my beautiful friend Anita Mathias’s place today–Dreaming Beneath the Spires. Will you join me over there to read the rest of this story?

Why You Oughta Get Your Eyes Examined

On Saturday morning Jeffrey and I go down the street to the neighbor’s to let their dogs out. They are out of town and he is their “go-to” guy when they need a pet sitter. Sometimes he likes to talk as we walk and right before we get to their house he opens up.
Have you ever woken up in the morning and just thought that all the possibilities of things to do are endless?
He opens the garage door with the remote and ducks inside but I am standing on the driveway…speechless.
What did you say?
I hurry in after him and he is opening the door and there are wet noses waiting for our hands and as we sink fingers into quivering fur he asks it again.
Have you ever woken up in the morning and realized that it’s a new day and anything can happen? I mean, you can do anything?
I follow him through the kitchen and he opens the back door to let the dogs out in the yard. They want us to come with them and Tucker, the male Cocker, grabs his toy for me to throw. We spill into the back yard and I’m still thinking about it.
Have I ever. Every morning I wake up and think about the endless list of things to do that day. But the way he asked the question? He makes it sound like a good thing.
Anything can happen.
You can do anything.
Each morning I wake up and that to-do list feels like a chain around my leg. When last have I looked at the day with a sense of wonder and possibility?
I can’t remember.
He doesn’t seem to expect an answer and he is all over the dewy yard now…throwing, chasing, praising dogs. As I watch my son, it feels like scales fall from my eyes. I can learn a lot from this boy who approaches each day—each moment—with enthusiastic optimism.
As I watch, he climbs on the neighbor’s trampoline. They said it was okay for him to use it…but what about me? He looks over his shoulder.
Hey, mom, you wanna jump?
There’s a slight taunt in his voice, a bit of tease. He knows the trampoline story.
But for some reason, I feel scared.
 
I don’t know, I say. The grass is all wet.
You have to take off your shoes anyway.
I move slowly over to the thing. Three sets of canine eyes follow me.
I know, I know, my eyes tell theirs. I’m too old for this.
But I can’t seem to stop myself and soon we are jumping together. I feel the exhilaration of feet catching air and I start to giggle. Our jumping gets all messed up and he’s going down when I’m going up and it messes with the flight and I can’t stop laughing. I lay down in the middle of the thing, collapse into giggles and he keeps jumping—doing the popcorn thing to me.
Mom, get up!
I can’t…I can’t stop laughing.
He starts laughing too and I slide off, into my shoes. The earth feels good.
And I just had my vision checked.
We leave the dogs and continue our walk. We go down by the creek and the morning sun makes shine on the water. The frogs jump in our wake and make slappy splashes. I laugh more. There are two ducks swimming in the deep pool and they lift their heads cautiously as we walk by. I smell lilac and fresh cut grass and I hear birdsong.
Everything is new. Everything is new.

Playdates with God: Sunrise

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You shatter the sky with the light of your face and it catches me unawares—the dark of the past few days having settled deep into the center of me. We rise into shadow now, move from room to room blind in the mornings. We feel our way through the motions of preparing for the day, in silence, sleepwalking; groping our way through the murk. And when the rain comes, it leeches out every ounce of light, bringing a gray sky and draping all the earth in this cold dampness.

But this morning, as I return from dropping the boys at school…you gather the dark at its edges and—like a sheet—shake it free of dim remnants. The gray is broken into shards of silver and golden light gilds the heavens. With this sweet chariot of light comes the return of joy and I can understand how the ancients would be so dazzled that they would confuse this glory with the One who made it. But the Psalms tell me what this sky is speaking. The heavens declare the glory of God…day after day they pour forth speech, I read. And, yes, I think, this is what Madame Sun is doing—stepping up to the podium to deliver a speech. And Eugene Peterson says in the Message that the morning sun’s a new husband leaping from his honeymoon bed…(Psalm 19) And I am a bride again, naked joy leaping in my heart.

The sun rises every morning and makes that slow walk across the sky to sink deep into an inky bed. Every day, the same thing. Why should it instill in me such a dizzying response…still? It never ceases to delight and I think about my favorite quote from G.K. Chesterton and I know this monotony of sunrise to sunset is so much more than a demonstration of my Beloved’s faithfulness. It is a gift of beauty…a token of love left on the pillow.

This sunrise is the love letter that I often leave unopened each morning.

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” –G.K. Chesterton

Over at The High Calling, we are continuing our discussion of David Platt’s Follow Me. Join us?

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:

Indian Red

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On the way to work this morning, the sky is Indian red. I drive underneath a cloud of starlings—thousands of silhouettes whirling out of the trees on the hillside. The light is coming earlier, the dark dispersing like spilled ink thinning on paper.
And I am right here.
Here in this minivan motoring along I-64 on my way to Charleston—covered with an Indian red sky. Here in this forty-ish body that is softening in the middle and graying on top. Here. In this particular place, at this particular time.
The earth lifts up to meet the sky and the red fades yellow and my eyes are full—my heart is full—with right now.
How many minutes have I lived in this space my body takes up—wishing I was somewhere else? How many hours have I frittered away, longing? And what would happen if I gave this moment its due? If I stayed right here?
It’s a tiny glimpse of kairos, this way my eyes are seeing and I—I am peeking into heaven.
I lean over to turn off the radio. And I watch the light come.