I have recently been doing a bit of reading about something called liminal space or liminality. It isn’t as spooky as it sounds. It is essentially a kind of threshold period. It is the sense of no longer belonging to the old and not quite belonging to the new. It is when life has moved us ahead of our plans and we are in what can feel like a free-fall state. It can be vocational, personal, relational, or logistical but it is always unsettling to be between the now and the not yet, especially when it isn’t by our design.
In this season of liminality we can experience a great deal of angst, fear, and even depression. This is the season when our comforts zones have disappeared and we are looking at what feels like nothing but loose ends.
Sometimes we aren’t even aware that we’ve entered that space until we begin to experience the emotional fallout. As mystic Richard Rohr describes, it is when we have left one room but not quite entered another. It is the doorway we must walk through after life’s most defining moments. It is the space in which we find ourselves after things like divorces, deaths, job changes, sudden losses, and living post traumatically. It isn’t always such drastic events either. It can be when we find ourselves in a shift in our belief systems or ideology that we haven’t settled. Regardless, it is the space from which we have to address what life will look like from here.
The great thing about liminal spaces is that it is always where God begins doing a new thing. We are no longer on autopilot and we can begin to anticipate something completely new. We can finally begin to see ourselves outside of the box we’ve been in for years or we begin to sense a wave of God rolling us forward away from old ways of thinking and being that we might have never left behind on our own. For all the angst and worry that accompanies being in liminal space there is a great deal to be celebrated and anticipated.
There are multiple examples in scripture of God leading people into such places and it was always a time of teaching and preparing. It is an excellent season to expect the fruit of deeper insights, wisdom and compassion to follow.
Liminality doesn’t last forever so we can be certain that we will eventually turn a corner of some kind soon enough. Whether we face it with fear or anticipation is up to us.