When We Parallel Play with God

Anne Rulo When We Parallel Play with God

My children are three and a half years apart. At ages four and almost eight they have turned into quite the buddies. Their play is filled with great detail, an alarming amount of calamity (something is always flooding), and almost constant communication. “Pretend this” “Do this” “Come on, try this”. Every sentence is filled with direction or collaboration.

I suspect my son is grateful for this change. I remember the early years of my daughter’s life when he wanted to play with her but she was just too little. She was still in the developmental stage of “parallel play”. While she was content to play beside him or around him, she had little to no interest in playing with him. She had no interest because she was just a baby and babies aren’t developed enough to interact, they just play in their own little world.

To that end, you know what I just figured out? Sometimes I am a great big baby.

After any of us have been doing something for a while, including walking with Jesus, it can be tempting to turn on cruise control. I write and speak about Him for a “living” (I’ll be excited when I can take the quotes off that one!) teach my children about Him, lead a community group where we study His word, and generally hold a reputation for being a Jesus following gal. However, recently I’ve been convicted about the amount of times I get to the end of an article, the start of a talk or the completion of a task and realize that while I was working for Him I had totally forgotten to work with Him.

Like a baby, I have been parallel playing with Jesus instead of interacting like a big girl.

A lot of factors play into our tendency to try to do Jesus’ work on our own motor. The very core of our nature is a rebellious one. Eve didn’t eat the apple because she was hungry, she ate it because a sneaky little snake convinced her it would make her like God and she wouldn’t need his input anymore. Add to that a culture of American individualism, busyness and strong introversion and I am on the fast track to forgetting to involve Him. The allure of independence that tempted Eve is the same we face today. We have to work very hard not to let that same sneaky little snake trick us into thinking we can do it on our own.

And so, today’s simple call is to reengage with Him in whatever areas we may be lacking. I wander around in the Bible fairly often but usually for the purpose of work. I need to just be in it sometimes. I pray before leading studies, before meals, and as intercession with people in counsel. However, I suspect great benefit will come if, before any of that, I have been engaging in conversation with Him throughout the day. I need to remember what it is like to be with Him, not just for Him.

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5 NIV)

We are not babies my friends, knowing only how to only play on our own.

We are big kids now.

Let’s get back to playing with Him.


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