Closed doors and Open Windows- Liminal Space

ACFW Authors and writing, Encouragement, Friends of ACFW Leave a Comment

by Tina Radcliffe

January is the time of year when I am reminded of liminal space. I love to talk about this topic. It relates so clearly to our writing journey.

Photo by Anne Penaz

Photo by Anne Penaz

Liminal comes from the Latin, limina, meaning threshold. So think of liminal space as the threshold. It’s that place after you leave one room and have not yet entered another. The space between. Or the space between the closed door and the open window.

So, why is liminal space so important? Because it allows us to arrive at the place of transformation and you cannot experience transformation unless you let go.

To let go you need faith.

“I’m going to show the courage not to retreat back to what was and I’m going to be patient not to jump into what I think ought to be, but I’m going to stand in liminal space. I am going to trust that as I stand on the threshold it is pregnant with the possibilities of God.”- David Jensen.

“Nothing good or creative emerges from business as usual. This is why much of the work of God is to get people into liminal space, and to keep them there long enough so they can learn something essential. It is the ultimate teachable space…maybe the only one. Most spiritual giants try to live lives of “chronic liminality” in some sense. They know it is the only position that insures ongoing wisdom, broader perspective and ever-deeper compassion.”-Richard Rohr.

Standing in liminal space isn’t about jumping off the cliff into the unknown, it’s about embracing the cliff. Embracing that threshold and uncertain time of transformation.

Can you hang in that space of change, and embrace it, waiting on the threshold – waiting for your future writing life to meet you? Can you let go of the comfortable and familiar and be willing to embrace the uncomfortable and the unfamiliar…the possibilities?

I’m ready.

I’ve stopped trying to make my old journey fit my new destination; instead I’m sitting on the cliff peacefully waiting for what’s to come.

“For we which have believed do enter into rest.” Hebrews 4:3

TINA Radcliffe cup Tina Russo Radcliffe writes romantic comedy as Tina Russo and inspirational romance as Tina Radcliffe. From Western New York, she’s lived in Massachusetts, Alabama, Germany, Oklahoma, and Colorado. She now lives in a cave in Phoenix, Arizona and comes out for coffee and writing supplies. A former Specialist 4th Class in the U.S .Army, Tina has been a registered nurse, a library cataloger, a pharmacy clerk and now writes full-time at home. You can reach her or

Comments 0

  1. Liminal…Threshold…Yes, that feels like the space we’re in right now as we decide what retirement means for us. I’m not yet comfortable as I learn to trust God’s plan for us, but I believe I’m ready to embrace the possibilities. Writing? Travel? Serving?Moving? Staying? Yes, waiting quietly is needed right now.

    Behind your turquoise door, I can imagine beautiful possibilities.

    Thanks for leading me there, Tina!

  2. “I?ve stopped trying to make my old journey fit my new destination; instead I?m sitting on the cliff peacefully waiting for what?s to come.”

    It gives me goose bumps how God brings us all to the same place at the same time. I knew I was at a door, waiting on Him to lead the way, but I didn’t fully realize the significance of that threshold until now.

    Thanks, Tina, for a beautiful — and anointed — post.

    And lovely pic by Anne!


  3. Liminal space sounds very similar to the “Neutral Zone” William Bridges describes in “Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes.” I’ve used his transition model for years with my psychotherapy clients. Transitions start with an Ending, followed by the Neutral Zone, and then a New Beginning: all essential steps in an effective transition. In the original edition I read, Bridges called the Neutral Zone the “fertile fallow empty time.” An apt description for a stage that might be boring, uncertain, uncomfortable, a time of gathering -liminal. If you don’t pass through the liminal space, you don’t go anywhere.

    Thanks, Tina, for the post. Where’s the door? Beautiful photo.

  4. Wow, when did you crawl into my head and find out excactly what I needed to hear?
    I spend a large part of my life on that cliff, usually getting annoyed by it.
    I’m also impatient to send my book out into the world and become a #1 bestseller. Yes, my head knows that’s not going to happen right now, but try telling that to my racing heart.
    Thanks for the encouragement. I’m going to just sit down and relax on this cliff and wait for God.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *