GIFTS – An acronym for the joy you carry

Taken from my e-book “Finding Joy During the Holidays When You’re in Your Thirties & Feel Broke” the following excerpt is still relevant all times of the year. We all experience brokenness in this life. It can look like feeling broken over painful world events, financial brokenness, relational brokenness, brokenness within our goals and dreams that don’t seem to be panning out and we’re already at an age where it seems like “will it ever change”, loss of loved ones, and feeling physically broken with illness pain.

When I wrote the short e-book, it was with a specific season, “The Holiday” season, in mind. With the holidays, it seems like everything should be pleasant and joyful! It’s the holidays! So there is an added level of buzz around our feelings when they really don’t align with the season. But the truth is that brokenness and the pain of the here and now seem to follow us when we don’t have the strength and power of joy.

And with that, I hope the following excerpt brings a sense of joy to you. (To get the full context- download your copy now.)

I’ve come up with an acronym to help you remember all that you truly have at your disposal this Holiday season that can help you tap into true joy (historical definition: calm delight and inner gladness). GIFTS stands for Giving, Inspiration, Forgiveness, Thankfulness, and Spark. The GIFTS acronym will help to reassure you that joy is attainable, it doesn’t have to live far away from who you are and what you carry, and you have more gifts in you this Holiday season than you may realize.

Giving

Though it may not seem like you have extra to spare, you can still still choose to give. Giving is one way to choose joy. Some examples of giving during times of (financial) struggle are to give of your time (volunteer, babysit for free); give of your talent (if you’re a photographer, you can take photos of a friend or co-worker as a gift); give of your home (like inviting a neighbor over for dinner one night).

Inspiration

Joy is inspirational, and so are YOU. You can choose joy by inspiring others with kind words and actions. These don’t have to cost anything. Sending your supervisor an appreciative email or helping someone with their groceries next time you see someone with a loaded cart at the store are examples of how you can inspire others.

Forgiveness

Joy can’t thrive if you have bitterness in your heart against others; it’s time to forgive. Are you holding onto anything that you need to let go of that’s hurting you? Joy will immediately start to flow in and through you when you let go of that which no longer serves you or is yours to carry. It’s time to forgive and let the past be in the past. Joy lives right on the heels of forgiveness.

Thankfulness

It’s almost impossible to not feel joy when you are truly thankful! Keeping a list of people, events, and things you are thankful for nearby, especially in the midst of troubles can bring that inner calm that we talked about before. Thankfulness is a value that joy is partnered with. Despite problems around you, recognizing what do have and are thankful for will initiate joy.

Spark

Lastly, joy sometimes starts as a little spark that can turn into a sustainable fire. We all have a spark in us. We all can tap into that place that no one else can and see joy. Think about the spark that you alone have and can spread. By choosing to seize the unique, beautiful gifts and personality traits that you have intrinsically, joy can arise out of what you see as ashes and fan into something big, warm, and sustainable. Joy is the spark that sustains us through the bad, even when [we feel broken down when we see devastating world events.] Once again, joy lets us face our circumstances with strength.

I will add that though joy is strength and does bring a sense of calm when things in the world and our personal lives go wrong, it’s okay to NOT be strong. It’s okay when joy seems illusive to the circumstances of our lives and things we are going through. It’s okay to feel devastated when we hear devastating news. It’s okay to allow others to help you carry the burdens of life that you can’t carry alone. Joy is one of many dynamic lenses we put on (with or without trying) to view the world around us.

GIFTS speak to the joy that we can choose. The joy we can tap into. The joy that gives us strength and can help us keep going. And GIFTS is a way to get there WHEN WE ARE READY. In the meantime, allow yourself to feel grief, sadness, anger and the whole spectrum of emotions during trying, upsetting, broken times.

Are You Trying to Find Joy During the Holiday Season, When You’re in Your Thirties and Feeling Broke?

This post, and the book and journal options that are available, are for you. The following excerpt is from a short book I recently wrote in my own season of feeling broken in many ways, including financially, not long ago. I decided to actually sit down and study joy: what is it and how do I get more of it when I just don’t feel it? After getting clarity and breakthrough, I decided to write and package my book in a way that others can find joy too!

You can purchase the book and Reflective Journal for yourself! The journal includes access to an online community to get support, quotes, guided questions, and action steps to really put joy into action this season, just where and how you are now. To get the book and journal click on the photos below or these links: FINDING JOY BOOK || FINDING JOY JOURNAL


Part 1 – What is Joy Really?

Finding joy in a “season of joy” when you don’t feel it, but instead all you feel is broke. Wow. That’s a tough one. And something that I wrestled with too long before sitting down and deciding that I was going to understand this joy word: what it is and how do I find it. Three little letters that pack a huge punch J-O-Y. And to feel the full weight of the word and really understand it, it’s almost like you need to know the opposite: Misery, Trials, Tribulation, and Brokenness. If you’re reading this now, you’re probably fully aware of one tribulation: feeling broke in a season of giving and… joy.

In this short book, we’ll look at a couple of exact definitions of joy, but first we have to understand something super important: Joy is not happiness, it supersedes our circumstances, and it actually brings strength to the person who chooses to grasp it. This is
why I bring up knowing the opposite of joy. Because sometimes it is through the very things we hate in life the brokenness, misery, trials, and walking through tribulations- that joy can show its face and have lasting impact in the moment and carry us beyond the moment.

By definition joy is, “joy, calm delight, or inner gladness.” This definition comes from the ancient Greek word “chara.”* There are many other definitions such as: gladness, mirth, or as dictionary.com defines it, “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” Joy sounds happy and light! It sounds like a great thing. So why does this great, happy thing seem so hard to grasp, especially with the Holiday season? Gifts, parties, dinners, Secret-Santas, things to do, people to see, and EVERYTHING COSTS SOMETHING! From first-hand experience, when you feel broke all the good can twist up quickly and become a point of anxiety and fear. But if we understand that joy is available to us DESPITE the trials and tribulations in life, we can approach the season with openness and even joy. So let’s unpack and understand the definitions of joy by looking at where we can see it in day-to-day life…

Do not wait to experience joy this season! Get your book and journal today. It will be worth it.

The book offers insight and clarity from someone (myself) with first hand experience in finding freedom from feeling broke, experiencing joy instead.

The journal includes:

  • Guided questions to help get to the heart of the matter
  • Extra pages to journal
  • Quotes to turn back to when you need hope
  • Action steps that you can take now
  • AND the opportunity to join an online community for support in this season

*Audry, “Words of Faith Hope and Love,” https://www.wordsoffaithhopelove.com/what-is-joy-inthe-bible/

Emotional Energy: What Joy Does For You

We’re taking another look at Joy this month! Joy is an emotion that goes beyond the surface, it reaches your soul level. And we’re going to walk through the energy that joy brings—how it can work for you, if you let it!

First, let’s start with energy. Energy can be positive or negative in that as you spend energy in life, you connect emotions to the things you go through in your day. Some things are positive and are perceived with the emotions of “happy” or “cheerful.” Some things we experience are negative and are perceived with the emotions of “sadness” or “anger.”

“The word emotion comes from the Latin ‘energy in motion’”.

When you think about all the things you spend energy on, and the root of emotions being energy in motion, what could that do for your health if you are in a constant state of “negative?” Negative emotion will take away and deplete you. And there is scientific proof that negative people are sicker and have more diseases than positive people.

According to an article by Johns Hopkins Medicine, “…There is definitely a strong link between ‘positivity’ and health. Additional studies have found that a positive attitude improves outcomes and life satisfaction across a spectrum of conditions—including traumatic brain injury, stroke and brain tumors.”

We must be careful with how we think, what we put our energy on, where we focus our emotion. Emotions don’t just happen to us; we do have the power to change and shift our emotions. They are not static (clearly, by definition and experience, we ALL know this). So, what can more positive emotion, specifically joy, do for you?

  • Joy brings a sense of gratitude
  • Joy physically helps your body feel more relaxed and boosts your immune system
  • Joy allows you to stand strong, even as other things in life try to push you down

Picture tuning a radio to the station you want to listen to, and think about that the same way you would think about emotions. Let’s tune our emotional energy frequencies to be joy-filled, and joyful. Let joy be the dominant emotion in your day and ride that wave over other, negative emotions.

Genuine joyfulness is a healthy, good, and even Biblical emotion that brings positive energy to you. It lifts you up in every sense, rather than pulling you down…


This post was originally written by myself (Juliandra Jackson) for Essence of Pure Living a holistic wellness company with resources and services that can help you find healing and begin to manifest more joy in your life physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

A link to the original article can be found here.

How to Handle Embarrassment With Class

We ALL have embarrassing moments in life, times we may think we’ll keel over in shame or embarrassment. Even writing this, I can feel what embarrassment brings… my face warming up, heart starts to race, red splotches taking over my neck. It seems a little crazy, the impact of missing social cues, messing up with family or friends, saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. But this physical reaction and the mental-emotional impact of those times are more of a gauge for how to walk through life well, bringing joy to people around me. Embarrassment can lead to new ways of engaging with and relating to others better next time.

After a number of embarrassing moments in life recently, I have a few tips for how to get over embarrassment swiftly and with class.

  1. Apologize.

If you were in the wrong at all in a situation, and that’s where the embarrassment stemmed from, staying humble and apologizing in the moment, or after the fact, will go a long way. And it’s a classy move that other people will recognize and look up to, rather than down on you.

2. Reset.

There is no reason to replay or live in something embarrassing that happened. Life is life, and honestly that moment may turn into a great story later on. More than likely, whatever you did that you think is so embarrassing will be forgotten soon after it happens. Hit the reset button and move on from the situation.

3. Let Go

I’m a firm believer that the only opinions that truly matter about me are the Lord’s and my own… and maybe my husband’s opinion matters too. But whose opinion of me doesn’t matter are that of my co-workers, friends, and strangers that most embarrassing things happen with. If we live up to everyone else’s standards in life, I’m sure we could be embarrassed easily. Let go of opinions and thoughts of other people, and live with assurance that you are doing GREAT in life despite embarrassing things that you might say, do, or that happen to you. You are in process and allowed to live life, goof up, and handle awkward social messes as they come—despite embarrassment.

Handling embarrassment with class can be done. And we can learn from embarrassing situations. We can learn how to relate better with people next time and how to be more prepared for when something embarrassing happens. Don’t let those embarrassing moments trip you up longer than they already have, and stay humble in the process.

Symbolic Attire

I can’t think of too many things more symbolic than wearing a team jersey or uniform and knowing you belong to something bigger than yourself. I’ve recently been accepted to a women’s racing team (road, gravel, and mountain biking) and when one of my teammates and friends gave me this year’s jersey, I simply felt like I belonged. Perhaps for the first time in years, I belonged to something bigger than “me.”

There is symbolism in things we wear and put on every day. Wedding rings and bands are symbolic to a deep relationship between two people and whether those people are physically together or not, a bond exists. Men’s ties and other jewelry for men and women often symbolize high status in work or society. Wedding attire- the dress, suit, and tux- is symbolic to a huge life event in many people’s lives. Even the logos that represent the brands and companies that we give our money to say something about us.

There are many examples of symbolism in material things in daily life.

But for me, something clicked just a few days ago and I had a deep recognition of who I am and what I stand for because of that team jersey that was handed to me last month. And with that recognition came a deep sense of responsibility too.

By putting on a team jersey or work uniform you represent that organization, group, team, brand or company. When you wear your uniform or jersey, you’re proud. You’re making a statement to the world that these moments aren’t just about you as an individual, but they are about your team or organization beyond you. (I have to chuckle because maybe this is by default… you need a job and you have to wear a certain uniform for work, even if you hate it. I remember this being the case at times in my life as well.)

When I race, I get to wear my team’s name. When I ride for training, more people will see our logo and colors. I’m one part of a greater whole that matters and is making a difference for women cyclists in my area. One example of how this changes me is that I’m going to go out of my way to follow road rules and practice good bike etiquette, especially when I’m in my team jersey.

So too, the importance of the jersey I get to wear for my team doesn’t end when I take off that shirt at the end of the day. I’m still “me” and I still belong to that group, with or without the name and logo on my back for all to see. I should be practicing those road rules and etiquette always, not just when in uniform.

This idea of belonging AND representing my team well really struck home a few days ago. Whether I’m wearing my jersey or not, I’m still a part of a team and group. And I want to bring honor to the group at all times, not just when I’m riding with the colors and logo of the team.

Whether we recognize it every day or not, we all represent something bigger than us. Our families, schools, churches, teams, places of work all make up pieces of our lives and groups that we belong to. And my realization the other day was this: I belong and don’t want to misrepresent the team that is important to me. I want to build the team up at ALL times.

A side note, I think this is why social media can bring so many problems to people’s lives and why supervisors and companies care about following their staff on social media. The online world matters as much as the behind closed doors, private, offline world.

Awareness of belonging to a team and how to represent that well comes with a growth in responsibility and character. It lasts beyond taking the uniform off at the end of the day. Day-to-day, we need to be aware of how individual actions and attitudes reflect outward on those groups and organizations that we belong to, and to not let wearing a jersey or uniform change how we should be behaving and acting as representatives of our groups and teams. Even our families’ names matter… and to bring honor to our family means acting with wisdom and making daily, healthy choices that help and not hurt our families.

In the end, reflecting on belonging and who I represent matters. I don’t want any organization to be brought down because of me; I only want those I work for and with to be lifted up. As individuals a part of teams, our actions really do matter for the greater good, or downfall if we aren’t careful.

What groups are you a part of? Have you ever thought of how you represent where you work, or the teams you are a part of even when you’re not in uniform? Does this change your perspective on how you move through the world on a day-to-day basis?