Liminality – The Space Between


The Space Between

Change often incites the polar emotions of excitement and dread.   What is being changed is critical to the dominant emotion.  Is there something that will be lost?  You can be assured of that!  Is there something new and different to be gained?  You can be certain of that, too!  The term “liminality” indicates the uncomfortable ambiguity that develops when we are standing in the middle of a juncture of significant change.  Liminality—the word for transition that means between two worlds:  one foot in one and one foot in a different place.  You can both see behind you and before you to some degree.

What is lost is often a sense of control and identity.   This is never comfortable.   Most people like to know what is ahead and be able to predict with some sense of accuracy how the day, the week, the month, the year, and even the ‘season’ will play out.  No surprises please!

You are entering a very exciting time of life.  You will either leave SFOT for your first appointment or leave as a first year cadet to enter a new ministry experience for the summer.  What do you need to shed in order to take on your new assignment?  What do you need to embrace to become the person God is creating in the image of His Son?  Liminality is necessary to adjust, to transition from one place to the next and from one season to the next.   You will be making transitions all of your ministry life.   Liminality doesn’t have to be ‘all-inclusive.’  It can relate to one area of your life but seem to dominate the whole of your life.

Scripture records that God goes before His people and is their rearguard.  Our anxieties and angst can be given to Him and our excitement is legitimate because, while liminality occurs for a season, God is always in the process of making all things new and is with us in the change process.    He invites us to participate with Him.  Sooner or later we learn that our being in control is an illusion and our identity in Christ is fixed!  Our circumstances, good or bad, do not determine our identity, our worth, our value and the only control we have in our circumstances is self-control.  We look to Him, whether our days are going well and are relatively settled or whether they are in flux.  Let’s affirm together the words of Anna Laetitia Waring:

“In heavenly love abiding, no change my heart shall fear;

                And safe is such confiding, for nothing changes here.

                The storm may roar without me, my heart may low be laid;

                But God is round about me, and can I be dismayed?

                Wherever he may guide me, no want shall turn me back;

                My shepherd is beside me, and nothing can I lack.

                His wisdom ever waketh, His sight is never dim;

                He knows the way he taketh, and I will walk with him.

                Green pastures are before me which yet I have not seen;

                Bright skies will soon be o’er me, where the dark clouds have been.

                My hope I cannot measure, my path to life is free;

                My Savior has my treasure and he will walk with me!”


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