Liminal Spaces

In exactly one month we move, on the 12th of December — we’re outta here!

What this means is, I am oscillating between excited and terrified.

Our move is a safe move – it’s a wise move. It’s all of the good stuff, it’s something we have prayed about extensively, it’s something our family and friends have prayed about too.
But … and here we get to the focus for today.. I feel uneasy.

I’ve been contemplating a bit in the past 24 hours what exactly the purpose of our feelings is/are. Sometimes I know I can feel bad because it is my conscience speaking, others and this is where it gets a bit murky for me, it can be anxiety speaking.
Anxiety, for me – not sure if it’s true for you too – is something that feeds on how I feel rather than what I know to be true. Earlier this year I found myself feeling overwhelmed by the complexities of our life and our situation. The majority of the time it seemed to stem from a feeling rather than a truth or a reality, the feeling of being under threat, feeling out of control, feeling overwhelmed to name a few.
I can be very logical, when I’m worried I’m not.
So why am I uneasy? Not because I think we’ve made the wrong decision. The thing is that at the moment I’m in what someone described to me as a liminal space – I nodded at the time and made a mental note to work out later what that actually meant. It means to be in a transitionary place. This is where we are – our house has sold – it kind of isn’t home any more and our new house isn’t really ours either. And I’m a home body – it’s hard to be a home body when you’re not in your home.

I don’t feel settled but I guess this should be true of the Christian too. We aren’t home yet. That’s why there are days when this life doesn’t fit right, there are days when this pilgrim is searching, trekking, and longing to arrive. There is a verse in scripture that describes it, He has set eternity in our hearts…
This tells me that there is a longing within each one of us that cannot be met by purchasing a new house or new shoes or by entering into a new relationship or moving to a new location or going on holiday or beginning a “fresh” new year or finding a new job or getting a new hairstyle … there is within each of us a longing that will only be satisfied when we are in our eternal home.

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. Mr Lewis

There are days when I’m sure that you, as I do, feel this keenly. There are days when I look around at the challenges and I’m very happy that this is temporary. But then there are days when I don’t feel like this … it disturbs me a little how often I feel that way. There are days when I’m so very comfortable that I forget that this isn’t my forever home. I wonder how many of those days Jesus had in his 33 years. Well the truth is I don’t wonder at all, we know how he felt about his separation from his home. It worries me how often I’m happy, comfortable and satisfied with this life. There are days, like the past few days, when there is this palpable sense of uneasiness that as I addressed last week comes from the realisation that I’m not in control of my life. But I think there’s more to it, it comes from my forgetfulness. My soul’s forgetfulness.

The truth is – if we focus purely on our feelings all the time we miss out. The trick is to use those feelings to redirect ourselves back to the one who understands them. The one who is drawing us closer to him through them.
Even writing this this evening something has happened – I’ve possibly done what I was meant to do with the uneasiness, give it to God and let him use it, or eradicate it. As long as I’m using my brain to resolve my feelings the solution is going to be fleeting.

 So I guess It’s time to transition, our lives here are a liminal space really if you look at it in the right way…sometimes that makes me a little sad – am I allowed to say that? It isn’t terribly godly or spiritual of me. But I know that I feel sad because this is all I know, all I’ve experienced. It’s true of our upcoming move and it’s true of the big future move … and with that we come neatly back to my dear friend Mr Lewis once again…

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