Today’s GMBA Camp-in blog post comes to you from the Student Support Program Chair Sister Sabrina Liberto.
I can safely say this past year has been an absolute rollercoaster. From entering a pandemic, it has presented us with many trials, opportunities, and lessons. One of the many trials we have faced within this past year is learning how to stay connected while ultimately being isolated…quite literally.
As you all know, for the past year we were unable to meet up with friends and family, unable to go to work or go to school, and most importantly, we were unable to go to church with the saints. By the grace of God, He had blessed us with technology. From going to meetings and events in person, it shifted to meetings being held via Zoom calls. We had to learn and adjust to our surroundings.
Due to our circumstances, it led us to feel lonely at times, really showing the impact our surroundings can have on us. Despite all the things surrounding us in the world, God was there surrounding us and protecting us through it all. His love shone through the darkness. He was always there.
However, even though you know this, and I know this, I would be in denial if I didn’t say that, at times, I still felt lonely and isolated. As God’s children, He created us to be joyous and free. It clearly proclaims that in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. We must “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” God’s will for us is to be joyous always, and because of the disheartening things surrounding us, it is making us feel the opposite. I don’t know about you, but I see that as a major problem!
You may ask then, “Well, if God is surrounding us, and I know He is there, then how can I stop feeling the way I do?”
One of the things I have learned is to simply listen to God. This is something so simple, yet so profound, because if you’re like me I thought listening to God meant to sit in absolute silence and see if He yells something at me from the sky. In reality, God speaks to us in so many different ways that we just have to know the right way to listen. For some, that is listening to music, going out into nature, reading scripture, and for others maybe it is hearing an audible voice. The only way you know is if you are continually talking and communicating to God in prayer.
Surround yourself with things from Him. I didn’t know this until I started to personally change my surroundings and how and what I was talking to God about. I learned He is always talking to us—we just need to learn how to listen. In order to fully listen, we must continually pray to God and surround ourselves with things that are pleasing to Him, even if the world is surrounding us with unpleasant things.
If I may share part of my testimony, a couple months ago I myself did not know how to fully listen to God. Being born and raised in the church and being baptized for almost five years now, I was still a little lost on how to truly listen to God when He is speaking to me. If I’m being honest, I’m still learning how to listen to Him.
But a couple months ago, I was going through a season in which I felt pretty isolated. I knew that I needed to do something about it, so I decided to start reading scripture more. I downloaded a daily devotional app, put on Christian music in the background, and read the scriptures. I would do this every day. I’d wake up, do a devotional in the morning, and then do another one right before I went to bed.
I did this for months, and I praise God that I was able to receive such a blessing from it. I felt so connected to God, and I could feel His presence and love. One day in March, while doing the same schedule I had done for weeks, I woke up that day to do my devotional and went about my day. When night came, I started to be consumed by so many different thoughts. I was consumed with anxiety and worry, basically filling my head with lies. I decided it is probably time for my nightly devotional, I know that will help. So I put on my music, opened up my devotional app, and studied the scriptures. By the end of my devotional reading, I was still consumed by the anxiety that had taken over, so I decided to pray.
I put my hand over my heart and was so overwhelmed, I didn’t know what else to say or do. All I could say was “Dear God…” but as soon as I said those two words (not knowing what I was going to say next), the next song that played in the background was “Glorious Unfolding” by Steven Curtis Champan. And the words that were sung, before I could even finish my prayer were, “Lay your head down tonight, take a rest from the fight. Don’t try to figure it out. Just listen to what I’m whispering to your heart.”
And in that moment I knew it was God speaking to me. Not only was He speaking to me through the song on what I should do, but the song was confirmation of what I had already studied in my nightly devotional, which went over Psalms 3-4. It talked about how the Lord is my shield, my glory, and the lifter of my head. If you cry unto the Lord, He will sustain you. If I lay down in peace and sleep, the Lord will make me dwell in safety.
Not realizing God was already speaking His truth through scripture, He went and confirmed it through song. This showed me that God is always communicating with us, even when we don’t realize it. We again just need to really listen to what He has to say because He holds the truth. And by knowing His truth, and surrounding ourselves in that truth, we will be joyous.
Links for GMBA Camp-in
GMBA Camp home page (the hub for all things camp)
GMBA YouTube channel (where you can find all recorded video content)
Flocknote (where you can find information for the live Zoom meetings within the GMBA subgroup)
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.