Finding Joy in Christ Alone

When God confirmed for the um-teenth time that I was meant to be an entrepreneur, I was flooded with anticipation.  I had a countdown on my phone with the number of days I had left at the hospital and I couldn't wait to leave.  I longed to be a full-time entrepreneur instead of building my business on the side.  Building Humble and Whole on the side often meant it was pushed to the back burner to make time for the sleep I was sorely lacking.

I would daydream at work and write down my ideal routine. I began to make goals that I couldn't wait to achieve when I left my nursing job.  I didn't realize that I slowly began to idolize my freedom.  I started to say things like, "I can't wait to be happy after I leave." and "I'll have time to finally do what I want when I leave."  I was saying things like this so much that little by little, everything was starting to culminate around this one event of leaving my job.

Relying on circumstances and events for joy will leave you empty.  As believers, we can choose to dwell in the true, ever-lasting joy of Jesus Christ.  Click through to discover how I turned from relying on events to abiding in Jesus for joy.

When I left my job I was thrilled and in slight disbelief that I had actually taken the leap.  I read countless articles before about other entrepreneurs taking the leap and their descriptions of what freedom felt like. I was now living that reality.  

I had obeyed God's call to leap into entrepreneurship and I was amazed at my new found freedom. I didn't have to anxiously look at the clock anymore.  I didn't have to be a zombie who operated on multiple cups of coffee and little sleep.  I could finally be a morning person again.  I could actually develop a routine.  My ever-changing nursing schedule made it extremely hard to build a routine that I could stick to. 

The first few days after leaving my job, I didn't want to do anything.  I started sleeping again, and began to rebuild my social life.  Just days after taking the leap, Kleneice and I went to a conference in Atlanta that changed our lives.  However, when we returned home in early August, the reality of what we had done sank in.

Even though we were no longer bound by a defined, rotating schedule, the days were still passing us by quickly.  I wasn't as productive as I imagined I would be.  The mountain of tasks to do and the new changes I wanted to make had piled up so high that the little bit of progress I made each day felt as if I weren't accomplishing anything at all.  I had imagined for months that after taking the leap I would finally be happy.  The leap of freedom was supposed to be my saving grace.  This is an excerpt from a journal entry I wrote when I was still working.  I tried to picture what working from home would feel like:

I wake up at 6:00am because even though I've been working for myself, I'm just so excited about being a normal morning person again that I can't sleep in.  Not only am I excited about being a morning person, I am genuinely excited about life.  There is no dread when I wake up.  The feeling is similar to that of Christmas morning, and my present never gets old-my freedom.  There is so much to celebrate every day.

I placed so much hope and weight on the transition from full time to self employment that it backfired.  When I didn't instantly receive the joy, peace, and happiness that I was expecting, I started feeling defeated.  I thought maybe I had done something wrong.  I realized my mistake was trying to fill the void in me with the event of leaving my job.  

As I sat at the dining room table with worship music playing in my headphones and tears streaming down my face, I called out to God.  I wanted to know why I still felt so empty and dull, even with the most depressing year of my life now safely tucked away in my past.  He told me that all my life, instead of basking in the ever present joy of being accepted and loved by Christ, I tried to fill the space meant for Him with things and events.  For most of my life, it's been one thing after another. 

Things will get better when I graduate from nursing school.

I just need to get more sleep.

Maybe if I start running again and stick with it I'll feel better.

I'll feel better when I take care of myself.

I'll feel better when my business takes off.

I'll feel better when I quit my job.

I've had a bad habit of deferring my joy until I accomplish the next goal or experience the next life changing event.  Are you guilty of this too?  Are you trying to fill the space in your heart meant for Jesus with other things?

This experience of taking the leap has pushed me closer to Jesus in a way that I didn't imagine.  I've learned that true joy does not come from circumstances.  Circumstances are fleeting and can change in an instant.  True, ever-lasting joy comes from Jesus Christ.  

True Joy Comes From Jesus Christ

Joy comes from knowing that even though I deserve hell, I am saved.  I get to spend eternity with my Lord and Savior.  Joy comes from knowing that before I was even born, in my mother's womb, plans were being made for me.  Joy comes from knowing that when I am weak, Jesus is strong.  When I am confused and unsure, Jesus is wisdom.  Joy comes from knowing that in Christ I am free to have a relationship with God.  Joy comes from knowing that even when I fail Him, His mercy endures forever.

I just want to encourage you that you have joy on the inside of you right now.  You don’t have to wait for the next major event in life. You can rejoice that you woke up this morning.  You can rejoice that God has plans for you that are good.  You can rejoice that He is always with you.  There is nothing conditional about the joy from Jesus Christ, and I’ve learned that nothing makes me feel better than the good news of the Kingdom of God.

Will you strive to dwell in the joy of being a child of God?  How do you minimize your circumstances and magnify your joy?  We want you to tell us about it in the comments below.