Liminal Space

Business man on threshold of a successful venture

Lately I have been oddly intrigued by the idea of liminal space.

Liminal space is a place where boundaries dissolve and we stand on a threshold, getting ourselves ready to move across the limits of what we were into what we are to becoming.

It seems like there should be a finite moment between here and there.

But it is quite impossible to pin down. With no clear beginning. And with no clear end.

Sometimes I lay in bed and try to decipher when the threshold first appeared. Was it when life in Nashville began to get alarmingly comfortable? Was it my first trip out to California when God began planting seeds of friendship? Was it the conversations at Q that made me start questioning my purpose and His plan? Was it the coaching group that forced me week-after-week to revisit my restlessness? Or was it this summer when I decided to pack up and head to California to work with Project 7? When exactly did I start transitioning?

And sometimes I lay in bed and try to decipher when the threshold will be crossed, when I will have “arrived.” Because although I am physically here, I still can’t begin fathom who I will become, or what life might look like, in this next chapter.

Yet these questions are futile.

Surely I will slip across this threshold one day. Just as surely as another threshold will appear.

“We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.” ― Richard Rohr

Are you in a period of transition? Can you pin down when it began or when it might end?  

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Lindsey has a sincere love for her precious dog Molly, a good red wine and the Delta Sky Club. She spends her days (and some nights) laboring to end childhood hunger at Feed the Children and to gather, equip and unleash women at IF:Gathering.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://twitter.com/tamaracorine Tamara Taylor

    I’m transitioning into the idea of staying put for a few years. I always anticipated leaving, and then leaving again… always ready to move on. This time God’s called me to stay.
    That’s a big transition.

    • Lindsey Nobles

      That’s kind of cool.. :)

      • http://twitter.com/tamaracorine Tamara Taylor

        It is very cool! It means I need to learn to keep my bags unpacked… for now at least.

  • http://www.esauproject.com Julie Shreve

    “Surely I will slip across this threshold one day. Just as surely as another threshold will appear.”

    I think this sums it up for me.  I think I’m always transitioning.  Just different parts, if that makes sense.  Jobs have changes, I’ve moved, jobs have changed again, taking on new responsibilities.  It kind of seems like I’m in constant motion.  Where it began?  I think the moment we get the fact that God is moving in our lives, then we can always choose to transition closer and closer to Him.  I pray that’s what all my transitioning is doing, just drawing me closer to God.  Sounds like it’s where He’s leading you, too :)

    • Lindsey Nobles

      Yup. Me too.

  • Anonymous

    “Yet those questions are futile”.  We are all constantly in a state of change.  I am thinking it is impossible to “arrive”.  I am also thinking that God wants us to be all about change, to understand that we grow when life is uncertain, and to be flexible enough to embrace so called “interruptions” in life…

    • Lindsey Nobles

      Arrival definitely feels impossible…

  • http://jaybenfield.com/ Jay Benfield

    “Sometimes I lay in bed and try to decipher when the threshold first appeared.” This is quite a foreign concept to me. I’d like to say that I have meaningful life-thoughts while in bed. Instead, depending on the time of day, my brain grunts one of two things: “Sleep.” or “Coffee.” My best thinking is done in the shower (along with my best singing). But I digress… 

    Change seems to be the only constant in my life. While I have an abundance to be thankful for, there’s usually at least one area of my life that demands brain-time and keeps me in a state of restlessness. It’s not that I’ve arrived in all of the other areas, as the longer I’ve lived I’ve become increasingly aware that there is no such thing. 

    The truth of the matter is, we are in continual transition. Everything. All the time. I just don’t think we’re always aware of it. I believe the transition that we are aware of from day-to-day has a lot to do with how we’re wired, the circumstances we encounter, and our goals or aspirations in different areas. 

    Arrival is a myth in this life of ours. It’s all about the journey. (Not Journey the band, even though they’re awesome.) Just don’t stop believin’. The wheel in the sky *will* keep turning, whether we stress out about it or not.

    • Lindsey Nobles

      Really?? Your wheels don’t start turning sometimes late at night before you drift off? I’m a little jealous. 

      I concur. Continual transition. Thanks for the morning Journey reference. Now I have a soundtrack for today. :)

      • http://jaybenfield.com/ Jay Benfield

        Occasionally I have RBS (Restless Brain Syndrome) right before bed. But more often than not, by the time my head hits the pillow I’m full-on zombie-mode from the day’s events. If not a zombie, I’ll usually grab a book and read for a bit – which may result in RBS or gently lull me to sleep (depending on the subject matter). 

        I’m happy I could have a positive influence on today’s soundtrack! Anything I can do to keep Counting Crows off the playlist… :-) 

  • http://www.sarahmarkley.com Sarah Markley

    i love you. you are amazing.

    • Lindsey Nobles

      Thanks Sarah!

  • http://thequirkyredhead.com redheadkate

    In transition? Yes.
    Do I have it all figured out? Not at all.
    Some days that is exciting. Others just overwhelming. Right now, it is just confusing because I don’t know what the next step is.

  • http://www.undertransformation.wordpress.com Aurora

    Beautifully thoughtful post.  I can identify the moment this current season of change started to the moment…it was Thanksgiving morning, 2009. I got a phone call that my grandmother had collapsed and it kicked off a round of changes that continue to unfold. Everything in my life except my address is different now than it was on that morning.  It’s been rough and wonderful, painful and fabulous, sometimes all at once.  But I can also see the stages of change that the Lord worked me through to get ready for what started two years ago.  Almost like I needed surgery but needed to be well enough, strong enough, to endure it.  The healing that needed to take place in order for me to be ready for what really needed to be done took place 3 years and and 5 years ago and 10 years ago…and now, I’m working on getting comfortable with the new me, my new world, my new purpose…thanks again, Lindsey, for putting words to this season of change so many of us are experiencing…

  • suzy

    Hello Lindsey,
    I love your walk through this so-guided transition.  As we, too, have lifted and left, followed and heeded, I often have the sense of anticipation … that some would call restlessness.  But I call it simply being open to whatever God’s plans invite! I get excited inside when I think about how much more fabulous the NEXT threshold will be; whether it’s growth through pain or challenge through opportunity… or a season of quiet that I have to accept, too. God has given my family [what feels like] a decade of fast-pitches.  I’ve come to delight in the next threshold.  As long as I am safe in God’s presence.   I know there’s more to come and all at once I’m learning to be intensely present to fully absorb THIS, while I lay myself open to the idea that there’s going to be something new …soon

  • Anonymous

    “Liminal space is a place where boundaries dissolve and we stand on a threshold, getting ourselves ready to move across the limits of what we were into what we are to becoming.” 
    I LOVE THIS! What we were into what we are becoming…standing at that threshold, knowing that God is moving us into yet another state of transformation is both exhilarating and uncomfortable. Fear and excitement mingle together at the threshold. I’m there. I’m in a total state of transition, moving into a new role at work – one that I know will stretch me far beyond my comfort zone. So often that is where the most growth occurs. Looking forward to see where the journey takes us both!

  • thrivephoto

    Feeling like I’m always in a period of transition. Last week messed with my head. As I went back to a place marking a massive transition, out of California and away from some of the most solid relationships I had ever established, and onto to a place that I had once transitioned from a few years prior. Back and forth and back again.

    It’s made me question these very same things all over again, only with a little more intention. Even Chad felt it this time. A rare moment of introspection for him. I suppose we shall talk about these things tomorrow night :)

    Great thought provoking words. I could learn something from your brevity ;)

    • lindseyrnobles

      I can’t wait to hear more! I hear we get to hang Friday too. Love it how our schedules line up on some weeks!