Liminal Space: The Act of Observation

I recently had a session with a friend who started out by saying “Everything in my world is spinning.  I can’t get any peace about anything that is happening in my world.”  (It might be important for me to say that this lady has everything in the world to be content.  She has an amazing husband, lives a very successful lifestyle, a beautiful career in a field she is gifted in, and two beautiful children (and this is not an exhaustive list of her blessings).  I was surprised to hear her say how frustrated she was, and I was intrigued as to what we were about to explore.

As it unfolded, she is in a place that I have had the privilege (lol) of being in for going on five years.  This place is called “liminal space.”  Liminal comes from a Latin word, limen, which means “threshold.”  I have heard it referred to as “the space in between the ‘after’ and the ‘before.’  (Go ahead and shake your head and read that again).

I believe there comes a time (or times) in a person’s life where they stop and assess everything they have built.  Whether “successful” or not, there comes a time of reflection, followed by a deep feeling of dissatisfaction, discomfort, and (as she described) irritability.  After we paint the living room, trade in the car, buy another dog, etc. we realize it is not external.  Eventually (if we choose to look inward) we will acknowledge it is inside of us.

What are we doing?  Who are we doing it with?  Am I living my best self?  Am I satisfying God with all of my time, gifts, service, and talents?  Or am I just living day to day, paycheck to paycheck, with no real meaning in my life?  If you look at that truth long enough, you’ll eventually come to a place where you have to (as we say in the country) “fish or cut bait.”  We will decide, I am not going to go through the motions of life anymore.

Christian Inner Healing
Photo by KT at Unsplash

I probably need to clarify that if you don’t know God, or if you know Him but choose not to walk with Him (there is a difference between Jesus being our Savior and Jesus being our Lord), then you might not delve any further into the self-discussion other than to take another drink and shrug it off, or take another puff, buy another house, etc.

But if you really want to live your best life, you’ll pull out all of the stops and wrestle intimately, with the reality that you have spent your entire life pursuing something that is not acquirable:  The “American Dream.”  The wife/hubs, two kids, puppies, and a minivan are not your best self.

After a series of ugly cries, you realize you’ve got work to do.  This is what that looks like.  Begin asking yourself,  Who am I?  What did God create me for?  Am I living my best life?  Is this all there is?  If you survive those questions, you may move on to,  Who do I need to purge? What do I need to purge?  Who can help me with myself?  What makes me smile?  How can I make a difference?  And then, you put it into action.

Wake up each day and ask God what He wants you to do.  Right now, and for the day.  Don’t allow your phone, calendar, or others to dictate your day.  Honor God.  Honor others.  And honor yourself.  Invest in those that are in your peripheral that are worthy of your resources (not the ones that perpetually suck the life out of you but those that you can pour into that will “bear good fruit”).

Change.  Change what hinders you.  Take inventory of yourself.  Find a community that speaks truth and life in you, and invest!  Stay fully present in the work of your heart and soul.  Do the hard stuff.  Speak life.  Rest.  Breathe.  Enjoy the sabbath.

And once you’ve purged (your purse, your car, your closet, your friend list, your activity list, etc.) then practice Presence.  Be still.  Observe.

Study God, study His Word.  Study others.  And when you observe the discontent in others, ask God how you can contribute to their peace.  Do you speak, act, or just pray?  Or maybe all three.  You never know until you ask.

When I ended the session with my beautiful friend, she was at peace.  More importantly, she was excited that “transition” is a beautiful thing.  It means she loves herself, her family.  All of that is enough to do the work to be her best self.  She doesn’t have to measure up or perform any longer.  She can let go and let God have His way with her.

And He will.  The beauty of our “liminal space” was God asking her if He could have it.  All of it.  The beautiful life that she is frustrated with.  He wants it.  He gave it to her to enjoy, and now He wants to teach her how to do so.  So cool.  So God.

 

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