This post is part of our Healthy and Whole series about embracing a healthy relationship with food. Since so much of that relationship connects to the we embrace life circumstances, navigating uncertain times fits here as well.
One Sunday night, we got an email marked Urgent. It was urgent because it had to do with a baby. A little girl who was born and waiting in the hospital. An adoptive family was needed to foster her for one week while conducting a paternity test to determine her eventual home. Depending on the results, she could be our forever daughter. Were we up for it?
Through tears, we agreed absolutely. This was the closest we had gotten to adoption after months of waiting. Since we’d started the process, we’d been matched with two birth mamas. Two times the adoptions fell through right after the baby’s birth. Both were crushing, but at the same time our hearts were full for those mamas, who couldn’t be faulted for parenting their sweet babies. So this time was the third time. Third time’s a charm, right?
After one glorious week with Baby Girl (the name on her birth certificate), we found out it wasn’t meant to be. It hit like a punch in the gut. We hid behind sunglasses to shade our red puffy eyes as we returned her to the adoption agency. Though our everyday was rocked, somehow life continued as usual. Today, we’re thrown back into the uncertainty of waiting, again.
Are you in a time of uncertainty? Is one season of your life ending, but the other has not yet begun? If it’s not waiting for a child, maybe it’s your job situation, resolution in a relationship, or an undiagnosed illness. If you feel stuck in a time of uncertainty, you are not alone. This time is normal, and guess what? It even has a name: liminal space.
What is liminal space? According to Google, liminality is the in-between moments, the space between an inciting incident in a story and a resolution. It is often a period of discomfort, of waiting, and of transformation.
That’s exactly where we are. And yes, it’s uncomfortable, but it’s also a season of transformation. If you’re there too, you know it’s difficult to trudge through the everyday. Here are a few survival tips we’ve used to make it through a season of uncertainty in style.
- Name it. Sometimes the most comforting thing during a season of uncertainty is to name it. You’re in the liminal space! And it’s absolutely normal. (After listening to this podcast about life seasons and the liminal space, I gave a sigh of relief. I learned a new word, and it was absolutely fitting to describe my present life phase.)
- Circle up. Community is so important, and we feel like we’re crowd surfing on a sea of friends and family during this journey. Texts, calls, and coffee dates have been truly life-giving. Seek out your trusted friends; even though it can be hard to take initiative when you’re hurting, it can be life-saving.
- Find a good outlet. Finding a “good” distraction has been an important survival tactic for us in this life stage. For us, it’s been pouring ourselves into healthy cooking and content for this blog and our podcast. For you, this may be cooking new recipes, reading a good novel, writing music or poetry, knitting, programming an app, running a race, or brainstorming a business venture. Things to avoid: tubs of ice cream, excessive alcohol or drugs. Just sayin’.
- Blinders: I like to say that I’ve put on a pair of figurative blinders. Instead of comparing my circumstances to other people’s, which appear to be smooth sailing, I remind myself that Alex and my journey is unique. Things will happen in their own timing, and faster is not better. This way, I can be genuinely excited for other people and their journeys. A mentality of abundance, not scarcity, helps to remind us that it’s not a competition!
- Have faith. Our faith is the number one thing that keeps us chugging along day by day. Alex and I believe God has a plan for our family, even though it’s taking longer than we thought it might have. Wherever you are in your faith journey, taking time to pause, meditate on what you believe, and examine what you are learning in the liminal space is key.
Are you in the liminal space? We’d love to hear about your story, either in the comments below or shoot us an email at acouplecooks at gmail.com. Whatever you’re facing, keep on trucking: we can do this together.
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.