My personal struggle – my liminal space

 

Asphalt road in an autumn fog

Yep…the above picture pretty much sum’s up my life right now.

I am living through a major struggle in my life. At the moment life is foggy and it is difficult to see the future

I am living in a liminal space

I was raised in a religious tradition that is still very much a part of me, but that I do not fit into neatly.

Because of my life experience I see the world differently – I think that’s good because it shows growth (some would call it walking down the slippery slope). I am thankful for this journey, but for the past several years of my life it has led me in and out of liminal spaces. Sometimes they have been short times (a few weeks), but oftentimes they have taken months…right now I feel right smack dab in the middle of a long one!

One website says the following:

The word “liminal” comes from the Latin word limens, meaning literally, “threshold.”

A liminal space, the place of transition, waiting, and not knowing…

Seems to be the story of my life.

From my understanding a liminal space is the space where the old doesn’t work and the new is not yet known – it’s sort of an in between space (like dawn – not completely dark, but not light enough to see well). It is a time of uncertainty, unknowing, frustration – where one cannot see clearly what lies ahead and to be honest…

…this is difficult!

As I mentioned, for one reason or another, I seem to be drawn to walk in liminal spaces.  While I’m not sure why, I can say that I cannot stay where I used to be. Something is calling me forward into the unknown and I know deep within I must answer this call.

While it can sound romantic, let me tell you it is not at all.

While I cannot stay where I used to be, when I look around I often find I don’t fit into the openings I see.

I grew up evangelical, but have been involved in mainline churches for the past several years. While I am theologically progressive or mainline, I am culturally evangelical and this seems to be something I cannot shake.

I sense a call to be a spiritual leader, a sense a stirring and passion to be a pastor in the local church, and yet simultaneously I find church very constricting – mostly due to rigid structures and often dogmatic beliefs, but also the subcultures and foreign language patterns they often use.

I chafe against anything that seems dogmatic because it sucks the life and joy out of me – ironic that I want to work in religious institutions that are often the most dogmatic of all places.

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As my bio also speaks about I have been and continue to be shaped by different traditions, including those outside of Christianity. I love this, but it does at times result in loneliness as I search for a home. Sometimes I am grateful for this journey and sometimes I resent it – sometimes I wish life was so much more simpler like it used to be.

I am very much still a Christian, and yet when most people define or think of a Christian I cannot help but ask why I do not seem to fit this. I am evangelical, progressive, mainline, liturgical, contemplative and yet I am not defined singularly by any one of these labels. In fact, I actually get annoyed when these labels are used because I feel like an obscure hexagon trying to be shoved into a square whole….it almost works…almost.

This has caused me to seek a spiritual director…I will let you know how that goes soon.

But for now I feel this is a process, a frustrating part of the journey I am taking. I know I will likely look back at this time in my life and be thankful for what it produced in me, but for now all I desperately want it to get past it, to have clarity, to have a clear vision and to feel like I have some certainty.

Do you ever feel like this?

 

4 thoughts on “My personal struggle – my liminal space”

  1. We should talk. I went through something much like this many years ago. Did I end up where i should have? I don’t know. There are no easy answers. Even the questions aren’t easy. But keep looking. Keep searching. Keep asking. God is the God of fog, too.

  2. hey dude, i don’t got any easy answers for you. all i can say is that you are exactly where you need to be asking the all the right questions. i am pretty sure you (nor I) will ever find the “right” answer to ease that tension, but I don’t even think that is the point. somehow in the history of our faith, we have prioritized “intellect” as “certainity”- memorizing verses, coming up with a rebuttal for a debate (and calling it apologetics), challenging science – while arguing with just about everyone along the way. I am convinced our faith needs to be about experiencing God in the unknown and mysterious, and I think it is exciting you are experiencing God in fresh and new ways. you are all aces bro…grace & peace, b

    1. Brian,
      Yes…I couldn’t agree more! Thanks for the encouragement. It’s paradoxical how I chafe against easy pat answers, and yet I squirm while in a foggy, or uncertain place. It’s like I want clarity, but yet I’m pretty sure your right on when it isn’t always about having clarity. I love how you said it is about experience God in the unknown and mystery – this has been my experience and longing.
      I just met with a spiritual director for the first time and they echoed much of what you said. Sometimes it’s helpful to have those on the outside affirm the journey, thanks for being one of those people!
      Cheers,
      Aaron

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