Friday, January 13, 2017

Best of the Archives: Liminal Space

( 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? 

Since I first sold, I have regularly experienced periods where I have real difficulties in understanding where I should be on this writing journey. Those times when my compass is swirling, I'm overwhelmed and I don't know which path to follow. 

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 the 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 that space of change, and embrace it, waiting on the threshold-- waiting for your life to meet you?

Maybe, like me, it's time that 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?

You can download a preview of Jeff Goin's book here.

Happy New Year, Seekerville. I hope this post gives you pause as you enter the New Year. Comments are closed on Fridays to give us all time to reflect, read and write.

Tina Radcliffe writes humorous and inspirational romance from her home in Arizona. Sign up for her monthly newsletter at her website, for giveaways, news and fun!

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