Liminal Space


These two and a half weeks I’m spending at home before heading to Barcelona have seemed to be a liminal space for me.

What is liminal space? I’ve heard it described as “the time between the what was and the next.” The in-between, the transition.

I finished up my junior year of college in Des Moines, and now I’m here with my family in Colorado. I’m anxiously anticipating my summer in Barcelona, but it’s not quite here yet.

I’m reminded of a poem by Jonny Baker, one that a dear friend and mentor shared with me before my first year of college.

I’ll share it here with you – I hope it speaks to you, wherever you’re at!

We are creatures of comfort.
We like to be safe and secure
to be surrounded by what we know
to be in control
to order our lives in the way that suits us.

We want our journeys mapped out for us
itinerary decided, tickets booked
time of arrival guaranteed
refreshment breaks at regular intervals
and a credit card for unforeseen circumstances.

But Jesus said ‘follow me’ without saying where he was going
just promising transformation along the way.

The Israelites in the desert, reduced from slavery and oppression,
were tired and homeless, hungry and thirsty, insecure and unsettled.
And their minds went back to what they had known.
They yearned for the structure of predictable slavery rather than the broken walls of unknown freedom.

Liminal space is the place of in-betweenness, of insecurity.
It is the Israelites in the wilderness,
it is Paul blind in Damascus waiting for Ananias.
Liminal space is emptiness and nowhere,
it is uncertainty and chaos,
it is a place of discomfort and unrest.
Liminality is a place of dying and rebirth, of metamorphosis, the place where the caterpillar spins its cocoon and disappears from view.

Nothing good or creative emerges from business as usual. Much of the work of God is to get people into liminal space and the keep them there long enough so they can learn something essential.

This is the invitation of God, to move
from comfort to insecurity
from what we know to what we have yet to discover
from what we are good at to what we might fail at
from safety to a place of risk.

Jonny Baker

My own heart resonates with so many of his observations.

I have one more week before leaving for Spain.

Though I see this grouping of days as the “in-between,” the Author of time Himself values them. And, knowing what I know about my God, He is going to use this time.

My prayer is that I would shift my focus from the to-do lists and other distractions that can so easily consume me to the Everlasting God who has a purpose for each and every day.



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