Intimacy with Jesus requires “floortime” and facetime with the Lord. Renowned child psychologist and bestselling author Dr. Daniel Goleman encourages parents to spend “floortime” with their children. Goleman has a significant, simple way of inspiring parents to help their children develop emotional intelligence through play and quality time. Parents don’t have to plan anything or study anything; rather, they just have to play with their children and impart love and wisdom through their relationship of unconditional positive regard.

Floortime with God might be described as spontaneous times of devotional leisure in the presence of the Lord. Floortime with God could be anything that brings you joy in his presence—rest, reading, dancing, praising, teaching, art, etc. I think the way the character of Eric Liddell, the great early 20th century Scottish Olympian and missionary, explains running in the movie Chariots of Fire describes floortime with God. When pressed by his sister in the movie about the tension she perceives between pursuing his running versus full-time missionary work, Liddell quiets her anxieties with the following statement, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” This statement written by Colin Welland for the script to the movie affirms the early Church Father Irenaeus’ famous assertion, “The glory of God is man fully alive.”

Floortime is true free time—not being on one’s own but with the One who is love and who protects from harm. Children’s psychologist Madeline Levine writes, “Over the last 20 years, kids have lost close to two hours of play every day, most of that unstructured play. And it is unstructured play that provides opportunities for kids to be curious, creative, spontaneous, and collaborative.” I believe the church in the West has lost a similar amount of time in unstructured communion with the Lord; therefore, it has lost similar spiritual, Christ-like attributes. Floortime with God represents the unstructured intimacy with God that inspires his children to act like their Father, as his Spirit inhabits them.

Like any good parent, God engages in facetime as well as floortime. I’m not talking about what we do with an iPhone. I’m referring to literally being face-to-face with another person.

For any person to be fully alive as a human, facetime with the Lord is required. God tells us, “Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you.” (Deuteronomy 8:5) Floortime consists in fun and feeling God’s pleasure. Facetime, on the other hand, may include discipline and feeling the force of God’s holiness and the fervency of his loving desire to conform us to Christ. All that God does flows from and includes the expression of his love. He may sometimes “get in our face” to get our attention. These times of confrontation or even rebuke are not signs of his anger or punishment but of his Fatherly love. God’s wrath is reserved for those at enmity with him and not his children in Christ.

God commands us to seek his face. The Psalmist writes, “You have said, ‘Seek my face.’ My heart says to you, ‘Your face, LORD, do I seek.’” (Psalm 27:8) We are eager to enjoy the fun of floortime with the Lord; God is eager for us to seek the presence and favor of his face. The Lord graciously reveals his face to us and brings us into the light of his countenance.