I was scrolling Instagram this week and ran across this quote about Liminal Space:
"It is when we are betwixt and between, have left one room but not yet entered the next room, any hiatus between stages of life, stages of faith, jobs, loves, or relationships...it is the ultimate teaching space." - Richard Rohr.
These words stopped me in my tracks; I am in a liminal space. All my insides are rising to say, "Amen!" and "Ouch!" at the exact same time.
I have been in a liminal space for about 6 months now, and yes, I am learning, but some of the learning is painful.
This liminal space has been a mirror. Things I thought I had overcome came raging up from the deepest places in me. Fear, rejection, insecurity...they are all still in there.
It has also revealed deep courage, tenacity and faith despite all the self-doubt. So, yeah...it's a mixed bag.
Liminal is derived from a Latin word meaning "threshold." It is literally the space between rooms and spaces. It is the feeling of standing between what was and what will be.
Letting go is not easy; change is not easy. There are so many ways it could go wrong, but there are so many possibilities in the new space if we do it right.
12 years ago, we bought the house we live in now. We moved here from our first house, a cute, two-bedroom rancher with a tidy little backyard and a great floor plan. The problem was, it was too small. Coming in at 1050 sq. feet, there was no way to expand into that house once the kids started arriving. We bought a run-down house across town that was too big for us at the time. We renovated the whole house and rented out the basement. When our four kids arrived in rapid succession, our renters moved out, and we filled our whole space. This house did not make sense when we bought it; it was too big. Years later, we see that it was the exact space we needed, although we didn't know it at the time.
This is a great picture of how this season of life feels. We are under construction and taking on more space than we can imagine filling. But the space is big enough for us to dream. It is so exciting.
And it is terrifying.
We left a fully developed, well-known career with many of the blanks filled in for a new space that feels like a white canvas with a few stick figures in it. It is a total leap of faith.
I heard someone say once that big changes feel like jumping from one trapeze to another; the scariest part is letting go of one season and leaping into the next, hoping you don't miss the bar and plummet to your death. This sounds dramatic, but you might know how it feels if you have made a big change recently.
Two weeks ago, I hit a low point. I was so discouraged; old wounds had come up and were demanding an audience. At that moment, I had a choice to make: stuff them down and ignore them, or turn around and face them. I am in counselling as a part of my schooling, and my counsellor walked with me into that scary space, and I found healing and new tools to fight the fears and insecurity.
Today, I want to send encouragement to anyone who feels like they are in-between. Whether that is a relationship, a career, or one season in life has passed into another, and you are trying to get your bearings.
It is ok if you are out of sorts. It is ok if you are facing deep fears and trying to remember who you are. It is ok to take time to breathe and be gentle with yourself.
You are under construction; you will probably be tired.
You may be afraid that you are missing out; you aren't.
Fears and self-doubt may be tormenting you and keeping you up at night, Pray. Talk to someone who loves you, and keep moving forward.
You may need a friend or two to come in and remind you of who you are. Let them.
You may feel like the floor has dropped out beneath your feet, and you will never find your balance again. You will.
This is a season; it will pass.
Listen hard. Learn. Write down what you are learning.
Resist the temptation to go back to the familiar. This may be uncomfortable; let it be.
Laugh when you can, and take in beauty like you will never see it again. Let it restore your soul.
You are in the space between, and so am I.
I have lifted my foot, and I am getting ready to step into the next room. It is exhilarating. Somehow in the hurricane of changes that have happened globally and personally in the past 7-8 months, my life has been rebuilt, and good things are about to happen.
I say this to encourage you that you are not alone, and you have people cheering for you.
When the dust settles, you will be rebuilt, and others will look at you and wonder where you found that kind of strength. You and I will know that we found it in the space between.