You may never have heard of liminal spaces, but you’ve experienced plenty of them in life.
Literally it means a threshold between two places, thus to be in a liminal space is to be neither in one place or the other.
Dawn and dusk are a liminal time between day and night. The teen years are a liminal space – a threshold – between childhood and adulthood. The process of moving cities, moving jobs, going to a new school, waiting for a child to be born or for a loved one to pass away are all liminal spaces.
In these times we can find ourselves either fixed on what is coming, or longing for the past but not enjoying the process of change itself. This ‘in between’ time is one we’d rather avoid or skip. But liminal spaces are necessary.
Often we draw our comfort from familiarity. Habits and life’s routines make us feel safe and in control. But life is full of change and what we could rely on previously is no longer certain, and the future is shrouded in mystery, thus our source of comfort is disrupted. This is the power and necessity of liminal spaces. They create tension within us to enable us to either let go of the past so the future can be faced free of baggage, or a tension that gives us necessary courage to step into a difficult future. Without liminal space, we would be unprepared as God moves us on in spiritual maturity.
Liminal spaces reveal our reliance on things that are passing as an invitation again to rely solely on the one who was, and is and is to come.