This summer I traveled to North Carolina to serve on Summer Staff with Young Life where I served three different groups of campers for three weeks alongside other college students from all over the country. I had been preparing for this trip for months both mentally and spiritually through prayer, taking time to think about my reason for serving, and how God was going to work through me
What I didn’t prepare for was the extent that God was going to work through me. On the third day of my second week at camp, I was hit with a ton of past and current insecurities that I had and still struggle with. At the beginning of our session at camp, one of our coordinators (adults in charge) said to us that because we are serving at this camp and doing work for the kingdom of God, it is very likely that we could experience spiritual warfare and attacks from the devil. I understood what spiritual warfare meant, but I had never experienced it before or at least had never recognized it until the third day of my second week at camp. Because there were some lies that I hadn’t thought about for a long time that suddenly popped into my mind, I knew that this was no coincidence. I wrote them all down and prayed over each one and for peace over the lies that I still struggle with and the ones that I had struggled with
The next morning I awoke restless, still thinking about all of the insecurities from the day before so my first thought was ‘I need some worship music.’ At this time, our coordinators had taken our phones so I was on my way to find a coordinator to ask for my phone when I passed the camp’s clubroom where they hold club for campers and where the staff would worship sometimes. The campers were all gone on a hike so I knew I could be completely alone for a while. I thought to myself, ‘Or, I could go worship by myself in the clubroom, sing some songs, and pray.’ So that’s exactly what I did
The song that was on my heart was O Come to the Altar by Elevation Worship so that’s what I started singing and then I began to sing a song my dad wrote called Breath of Grace and the verse that impacted me was “Undeserving, so unworthy, we are desperate for your love, needing your love.” I sang this verse a few times while I was on my knees worshipping and then I started crying. A lot. And I thought to myself, ‘Hey God, what’s going on here?’ As I begin to think about why I’m crying and what’s actually going on inside me, it hits me like a thousand bricks. For the last year, I have been struggling with wanting to be chosen. Whether it was friends, family, or even boys, the root of my struggle was that I did not feel chosen by God. I also felt like I was not good enough to be chosen by God and that I had let Him down by not reading my Bible enough, not allowing myself time to hear His voice, and not pursuing the relationship I ultimately wanted with Him. I felt that it was my fault that I didn’t feel good enough for God to choose someone like me. Suddenly I felt the weight of one thousand bricks lifted off me and I heard God call me by the name He has chosen for me: Redeemed. It was an extremely humbling and vulnerable experience that I had with God in that clubroom during camp; one that I will never forget
This experience impacted the remainder of my time at camp with a new heart and mind for worship, being able to hear God’s voice more clearly, and seeing Jesus more and more throughout my day because I was aware and looking for Him in the little things.
New Day’s banners say “Live out of Being Loved by God” and when I first saw them, I thought, ‘Well that probably means to love others like God loves us (my thought came from 1 John 4:7-8 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”) The banners could very well mean what I originally thought, but after experiencing God’s love in an entirely new way, I saw new meaning to our banners. To live out of being loved by God is to experience God’s love in a way that is personal to you and then share how God changed, impacted, or spoke to you. For me, that was humbling myself before God, singing songs of praise and worshipping on my knees, asking for forgiveness for not believing that God chose me, and then sharing my amazing ‘God moment’ with anyone and everyone who was willing to listen.
I’ve had a few ‘God moments’ in my life, but what made this one different than the others was that for the first time, I realized that our relationship with the Lord is much more like a rollercoaster than a plateau. Our relationship with God can always grow; there will be spiritual highs in our lives (God moments) and there will be spiritual lows (attacks in the form of lies and deep insecurities). I also realized that it’s okay to not hear from the Lord. Just like our relationship, there will times where we are closer to God and times we are not, and that is okay.
Moving forward into my sophomore year of college, I am fully aware that there will be many challenges that I will have to face and there will be times when I’ll have the choice to trust in God or myself. My hope for this next year is that I will hold onto this God moment when situations are difficult or when I feel distant from God because this is an amazing reminder of how God can work through us and how we can live out of being loved by God.