Do not say, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.Ecclesiastes 7:10
Liminal spaces are the places between what was and what will be. If we are engaged, we are no longer single, but not yet married. When we are learning to drive, we are no longer forbidden from using a car, but we’re not a fully licensed driver either.
Everyone passes through liminal spaces in their lives. They challenge us and can help us grow, but the first step is often grief. As we leave one phase of our life, there will be possessions, habits, even relationships we must leave behind to enter the next stage. If we hold tight to old hurts or try to keep repeating bygone days, we risk getting stuck.
The wilderness of Sinai (or Sin) was a liminal space for the ancient Israelites. They were no longer slaves in Egypt, but they had not yet inherited the promised land of Canaan. The unknown around them and ahead of them is overwhelming, and, in Exodus 16, some begin to long for their old life in Egypt. To eventually cross the Jordan, they must grieve the familiar patterns of that past and let them go.
- Read the story of the Israelites (Exodus 16)
- Compare it to how Jesus dealt with His time in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13)
- Reflect on what you from your past needs to be grieved and released.
- Is there any anger you harbor?
- Are there relationships that have ended?
- Do you have habits that no longer help you?
- Are you struggling with a change in your life?
- Write a letter or create an image of these things. Pray as dig a small hole and bury it. Ask God to help you grieve and let go.
- With children: Invite them to draw something or someone that they miss. Hold a small funeral for the drawing and pray together. Ask God to hold our sadness and help us try new things.