( A version of this post first appeared in Seekerville on July 10, 2010.)
Have you ever gone through a period in life where the same theme, the same message keeps slapping you in the face? After six or seven slaps you finally realize, "Hey, someone is trying to tell me something."
What about the theme of closed doors and open windows? Are you facing challenges in deciding what your next step will be?
That's when I remember the concept of liminal space.
Psychologists call "liminal space," a place where boundaries dissolve a little and we stand there, on the threshold, getting ourselves ready to move across the limits of what we were into what we are to be. (definition from parole)
Think of liminal space as the place where you arrive after you leave one room and have not yet entered another. The space between the closed door and open window.
The concept of liminal space and thresholds isn't simply scary. It's terrifying.
So, why is liminal space so important? Because it allows us to arrive at the place of transformation and you cannot experience transformation unless you let go.
To let go you need faith.
Pastor David Jensen says this in a sermon on liminal space:
"I'm going to show the courage not to retreat back to what was and I'm going to be patient not to jump into what I think ought to be, but I'm going to stand in liminal space. I am going to trust that as I stand on the threshold it is pregnant with the possibilities of God."
Let go of the comfortable and familiar and be willing to embrace the uncomfortable and the unfamiliar...the possibilities.
Jeff Goin's book, The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing (released three years after this post) says this about liminality:
Life is waiting. Not just waiting in line at the grocery store or waiting to renew your driver’s license, but waiting to love and commit and find the work you were meant to do. Our lives are full of inconvenient setbacks, not due to some great cosmic mistake but because of some divine purpose we don’t comprehend. In the waiting, we become.
Standing in liminal space isn't about jumping off the cliff into the unknown, it's about embracing the cliff.
Can you hang in the that space of change, and embrace it, waiting on the threshold-- waiting for your life to meet you?
Maybe, like me, it's time you stopped trying to make your old journey fit your new destination, instead let's sit on the cliff peacefully waiting for what's to come.
"For we which have believed do enter into rest.." Hebrews 4:3
What do you think?
Comment today for an opportunity to win a 10 page critique for a writer and for a reader, a Kindle or print edition of Safe in the Fireman's Arms and /or a Kindle version of With This Kiss Contemporary Novella Collection, that includes my novella, No Time For Love. And for one more winner, a copy of Mary Connealy's Now & Forever.
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You can download a preview of Jeff Goin's book here.
Happy Holiday, Seekerville!