Finding Joy

I knew I was meant for something better, something more significant. I was struggling to see my future possibilities because of my current situation. It was a tough time and allowing frustration in made me only see in the short term. Short term sight in your life will oftentimes lead you to an undesirable situation, or perhaps, one you even strongly dislike. I was struggling, and in turn, I wasn’t happy. I had no joy and did not open my eyes to see where my joy truly came from.

It was the summer of 2012, I recently left a ministry position I felt was going to be long term opportunity. I loved the job and, without bragging, I had a knack for it. The situation was not right and I tried to force it. But it became clear to me I needed to move on. Leaving this job was terribly difficult, for many reasons. I was going to get married in a couple months and I had about a year and a half left until I completed my bachelors degree.

That summer, I was in school full time, a newly wed and had a job delivering furniture. I wasn’t crazy about school, but I was close to finishing. Being a newly wed was amazing, but it came with a learning curve. And delivering furniture was not ideal. That summer, it was incredibly hot, we didn’t get much rain, 2 of our delivery trucks did not have working AC and I had a tough time relating to the people I was working with and under. True recipe for frustration.

I knew I was called to work in a church and I felt a very strong call to ministry. But here I was, not in a situation where I could fully commit to ministry. I would come home and complain about how awful my job was to my new wife almost daily. I was bitter (not sure at who) and was unpleasant to be around. I was involved in activities at churches and in ministry, but I was not at a place where I had “my break” or “my opportunity”.

I was a part of a men’s accountability group that met weekly. I was leading it, but I needed to receive from the group much more than what I could offer them. One night during prayer and worship, I was deeply convicted by the Holy Spirit, and then reaffirmed by my fellow leader. Oftentimes in that group, we would share with each other what we felt God was sharing with us. And that night changed me forever because I learned I was not truly joyful, and it was for a scary reason.

My joy and happiness prior to this experience was solely dependent on my current situation and what I experienced throughout the day. No wonder I was frustrated! If things didn’t go as I thought they should have, I would get impatient with God and allow my frustrations to dictate my attitude in everything I was doing: work, school, marriage and my personal relationship with Jesus.

Back to this significant night, I heard clearly from the Holy Spirit during our worship time and received a word from a trusted friend about trusting God’s timing and going to Him for joy and rest. I wanted so much more for my job. I knew I was called into ministry, and I thought I was ready for it. My timeline allowed me to get frustrated because it wasn’t God’s timeline for me. God drew me close to Him that night by telling me, so clearly, “If you can’t find joy, contentment and happiness during the ‘in between’ times when your dreams aren’t being fulfilled, you will not have joy, contentment and happiness when you get what you desire.”

In short, if I couldn’t find the true joy offered by a relationship with Christ when I had little, I wouldn’t find joy when I had everything I wanted.

God, and God alone, is our joy! That night I started on a path of drawing nearer to Him, without any restrictions put up on my part. I gave myself fully to Him and I began the transformation of finding joy, finding Jesus, in the daily workings of my life. Jesus is the only One who can sustain us and give us the opportunity to live in complete joy.

It should be noted, once I made this mindset change, I did not immediately see all of dreams and desires come true, but it set me on a path of preparation for when my time came.

If you feel called to something great, have amazing dreams, or want more for your life, make sure you do a couple things: 1. submit to God’s timing by allowing yourself to trust in Him and 2. continue preparing yourself for your opportunity. If you are called into a ministry role, you don’t start doing ministry when you have a title or position or opportunity. You start doing it now with God. If you have a desire to become a supervisor or boss at your job, you don’t one day get there by accident. You get there by proving yourself to be a great and trustworthy employee. Act like a supervisor now by being someone worthy of trust and responsibility and developing a great reputation.

Remember, God’s timing is perfect and, often, quite different than our time frame. Commit to Him and allow Him to be your joy, and then partner with Him in the meantime to prepare yourself for the greater things in store for your future. Finding joy in your current situation is the key to get you out of where you don’t want to be into where God has called you and prepared you for. He alone will sustain you and be your joy. Trust in Him and His unfailing love, and He will prove Himself faithful.

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