My family and I have two dogs. Of course, their personalities are completely different. Belle is adventurous, ornery, playful, and tenacious. Tessa is laid back, kind, affectionate, and a homebody. Somehow, both of these dogs LOVE the space underneath the shallow staircase at the rear of our large backyard. When they are running, playing, and wrestling outdoors, they disappear for awhile. One time, I stood at the backdoor downstairs in our split-foyer home and watched. Where did they go? Did they break out of the gate and run down the street? Oh no! Where are they? A few seconds later, I see both dogs crawling out from under the shallow staircase — that in-between space — playing and chasing one another. A few weeks later, as I was walking around in our backyard, I went up to that shallow staircase to see what all the fuss was about! I bent down to inspect the dogs’ play space — this in-between space. It was small. It was tight. It looked cramped. But, that same space was also fun for the dogs. The space provided temporary shelter. The space was a place of comfort.
I often think about my dogs’ tight space in the backyard as I sit, figuratively, in an in-between space in my life. Some transitions are on the horizon that have caused me to call into question my productivity, my effectiveness, my purpose and my position. Have you ever had those moments? The questions are never ending in in-between spaces, the liminal seasons of our lives: What am I supposed to be doing? Who am I right now? How effective can I be? What will people think of me? Did I make the right decisions? The questions can cause us — have caused me — to think and believe that WE are, somehow, not enough and worth less because we are in transition. And, as Maury Povich often says on his show when reading paternity test results, THAT IS A LIE.
The lie is, actually, many lies: These changes aren’t supposed to be happening to me. I’m not enough because I’m going through. I am worth less because of this in-between time I’m in. I’m not supposed to need help. Friends, ALL THESE THINGS are lies. Uncertainty in this life happens! Change happens! Transitions happen! And yes, in-between spaces and liminal seasons are the results of the change that happens in this life! So, how have I been navigating my own liminal season? Well, the following certainly is not a step-by-step process for everyone but serves as a “tips list:”
- Resist the temptation to move, shift, or get out of your liminal season to satisfy the certainty you or others need. “I don’t know” is an answer.
- Have fun in your liminal season. What is one of your favorite things to do to nourish your spirit and soul? Do that daily.
- Check in with family, friends, and colleagues in your “village.” Be honest and transparent about where you are and the fact that you are in a liminal season. The more transparent you are, the more clarity will come in your discernment process.
- Be courageous! Name evil for what it is. Serve God however and wherever you are until your change comes. Seek to do good with and for others.
- Daily trust in the One who holds all things together, the One who is unchanging, Jehovah Shammah (The Lord God is Here). Wherever God is leading and guiding you, God goes with you, will be there when you get to wherever your “there” is, and is the Lord of it all — especially liminal seasons.
Friends, be well. Take good care of yourselves and each other.