I have a new word, which I learned from my friend Andrew Arnold: Liminality.
We are familiar with the word subliminal, which means “below the threshold of sensation or consciousness; perceived by or affecting someone’s mind without their being aware of it.” The word for when we are fully conscious of something is supraliminal. But in between these two places is liminality, where we are at the threshold. Here is a discussion from Wikipedia:
In anthropology, liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold”) is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a rite of passage, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the rite is complete. During a rite’s liminal stage, participants “stand at the threshold” between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which completing the rite establishes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liminality
For the last year, the theme passage of my life has been from Gen 12:1-4:
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. ”
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.
Before God disrupted his life with this new direction and promise, things were pretty stable in Abram’s life. But in this encounter, God invited Abram into a world of exciting possibilities. God would give him the greatest possible honor He could bestow on a person: become the Father of Nations.
All Abram had was a promise, nothing else. But the father of our faith believed the promise. When most men of his age were settling into retirement, he set out on a brand new adventure, full of hope and possibilities and tremendous blessings.
Abram was at a liminal stage. Where was he going? It was ambiguous. What was his role and mission? This was not clear, therefore, I imagine he was feeling a lot of disorientation, for he left the old but the new had not yet come. He had to leave the familiar in order to make room for the new, but the new had not yet come. In this stage, he was at the threshold of change. It was not comfortable, but it was vital as he allowed God to transform his life.