I’m taking a class this semester in which we talk extensively about the concept of “liminality”. What is liminality, you ask? I’ll tell you.
http://sp.dictionary.com/dictstatic/d/g/speaker.swf [lim-uh-nal-i-tee] Show IPAnoun Anthropology .
the transitional period or phase of a rite of passage, during which the participant lacks
social status or rank, remains anonymous,shows obedience and humility, and follows
prescribed forms of conduct, dress, etc.
That’s liminality. The awkward in-between. I’ve been pondering this concept for a few months, not knowing there was a real term for it. I’ve been feeling the tension of being between roles, engagements, places, etc. since my senior year of high school. It’s not a place I thoroughly enjoy existing within, but regardless, here I stand…sit…hover…pace…remain. You may be thinking, “Well, I know your role! You’re a college student! You’re in college! That’s your place!” That’s what I expected to think, too. But I’m here, in college, but I still don’t feel still; I still feel as if I’m being rolled forward on life’s assembly line, being primed for the next milestone.
Last evening, the ever-suave David Noble paid me a visit, which was so nice…for me. The poor man had to listen to me ramble about how uncomfortable I feel through my sniffles and tears and blank stares into space. The conversation began with his asking about my mood, which felt an odd shade of purplish-gray, very hazy. Once the curtain was raised on the fact that I wasn’t my “normal, bubbly self” (a reputation I’m truly beginning to despise), the floodgates broke and my sobby rant began. I feel awkward. I don’t feel at home. Feel, feel feel. How often do we, as humans, run solely on feelings? Too often. Far too often, but this idea is entirely separate.
Here’s my thought. We, as humans living in a culture obsessed with time and reaching goals (which is by no means entirely bad), are constantly being pushed to strive for “the next big thing”, whether it’s graduating high school, or moving into college, or graduating college, or finding a job, or getting married, or having a family, or buying a house, or being promoted, or retiring, or putting your kids through school and seeing the cycle repeat itself in their lives as you wonder where to put your hope in next. Am I right? We’re never still, never satisfied, never comfortable because we’re told we can’t be…at least not until we’ve achieved x, y, and z. I hate that!
Here’s the good thing, the #silverlining as Sheila Chambers may say*, as Christians, this feeling of discomfort is good, really good. It means we’re recognizing our true citizenship. Philippians 3:20-21. We should feel uncomfortable. We should feel awkward, because we’re aliens (Hebrews 11:13-14). So I guess this is a normal feeling, I shouldn’t be satisfied. I should cry out to Christ, begging for His return like the author of Psalm 90 and 94. Amen?
We’re in limbo, Saints. We’re not in our death anymore, and hallelujah for that! But, as Colossians 3 explains, our true, glorified self will not be revealed until our Lord Jesus comes and brings us Home. We’re waiting, and waiting is awkward. But we’re called to do it (2 Peter 3). This is sort of a bummer, for me at least, because I’m so dang uncomfortable. But I’m going to rejoice in it, you know why? Because I’m being reminded and assured of my salvation by the infinitely sufficient blood of Jesus Christ! And that’s exciting, amen?
Today, in class, my professor said, “The place of the threshold is uncomfortable. But it’s the place in which one is taught and prepared for their upcoming role”. Isn’t that profound? We’re being taught and molded and prepared for our eventual (and eternal) role as cohabitants of Heaven, the dwelling place of our Creator. So let’s be proactive in this. Let’s be aware that we’re in limbo, but let’s not let all the beautiful wisdom and knowledge and meditation and worship that’s available pass us by, just because we’re so preoccupied with what’s to come. This time isn’t a waste! It’s so good!
That’s what on my mind today, friends.
* I love Sheila Chambers