The concept of sleeping and waking up is a biblical metaphor that refers to spiritual renewal. Eph. says, "Awake, you who are sleeping, and Christ shall shine upon you." Rev. 3 says, "Wake up and strengthen what remains and is about to die." Here are 5 of 10 signs that a soul is waking up.
A RENEWED HUNGER FOR SPIRITUALITY. For reasons you can't explain, there is this inner spark of fresh interest in spiritual practices, whether it's prayer, meditation, scriptures. My advice? Just let it be! Let your soul feed. Because your soul is expanding, growing, it needs intentional spiritual nourishment and intake.Because when that longing is strong, something beautiful is being awakened within-and that is your soul. Recognize it. Allow your soul to get the nourishment it needs.
HUMBLE OPPENESS. Before, there is this posture of jadedness to people who are different from you. Now, there is a gentleness, or an openness, or at least a willingness to listen. I did not say weakness, or a false compromise of your convictions. But a willingness to respect opposing views. I believe this is a genuine manifestation of a reawakening soul. Because a dormant soul is closed-minded. A reawakening soul is open heart, open mind, open doors. .
A YEARNING FOR AUTHENTICITY. Or a longing to give attention to what really matters in life, and a growing indifference to things superficial. When our souls are waking up, we just wants to let go of unnecessary burdens--particularly the burden of who we are not. "Who are you?"--may we know how to answer that question. To affirm our authentic self, the self that is made in the design and image of God. St. Augustine prayed, "Grant Lord that I may know my true self that I may know thee."
AN ATTENTIVE PRESENCE. An awakening soul will begin to be more attentive to the present moment. Rather than being pulled back by the regrets of yesterday, or consumed of thoughts of tomorrow, there is a newly developing contentment rising from within. Or an increasing awareness of the blessings we have now. Also awakening souls will learn this intentional practice of being fully present when they are with someone. We will start to realize that the greatest gift we can give to someone is our undivided attention, when our heart and mind are fully and genuinely present when we are with family and friends.
ACTIVE COMPASSION. This is a point that I will continue next week. But let me just say this: here is the reason why I am proud to be a United Methodist--because we have learned to live a life of compassion as a denomination. Whether it is supporting the Syrian refugees; or helping those who are recovering from the wildfire here in North Cen WA; or through our very own Bounty Food Bank. I believe that spiritual awakening is alive in the UMC because it is manifesting through our deeds of compassion and service.
CLOSING STORY. While I was praying for our city the other day, I saw this vision of a dry and hard soil. I don't know what it means. It can be a culture of apathy, or discouragement. Or it can be that spirit that is preventing people from waking up. But in that vision, there was a seed from beneath the ground that was pushing the dirt. One seed. It was pushing the dirt so it can grow, reach out, and awaken. I believe that we are that seed.
I believe that the greatest thing we can give to our world are not things, but our awakened self, through our presence, our compassion, our witness of Jesus Christ our Lord.