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/

Six Easy Ways to Save

Money- dealing with it, making in, saving it, spending it – can seem overwhelming and just plain hard some days! Right now, I’m in a season of saving over spending extra money and I’ve come up with a list of ways to save with EASE. A simple post with simple solutions of things that I’ve both seen and done myself that may help you. What else would you add to this list?

  1. “Shop” your friends closet instead of buying a new dress for events – I used to do this in college and after a relative recently showed me an “old” dress of hers that she is wearing to a wedding coming up, it inspired me to write about it here. Instead of buying an entire new outfit for an event, see if you can borrow a new for you outfit that you can give back at the end. This will save you money and closet space!
  2. Meal plan through the week and stick to it – You’ll know exactly what you’re spending on groceries and avoid unnecessary spending at fast food and random purchases during the week.
  3. Buy in “Bulk” Online – There are so many products that you can buy online in sets of 2, 3, or 4 that are less expensive than in the store buying individually. For example, my husband found his favorite hair product on eBay in a set of three that was cheaper than buying it individually at the store.
  4. Date Night at the Park – Instead of going out for dinner or drinks where you’ll need to think about tip, paying for the meal or event, and maybe even parking, plan a “fancy” dinner date at a local park. Dress up, bring a candle, and have fun with a meal from home out in nature rather than just out.
  5. Outdoor Fun – Hiking, yoga outside, picnics, walk-and-talks, campfires, get dressed up and do a photo shoot with a friend for an afternoon… there are fun ways to connect with friends and loved ones that don’t involve spending money out.
  6. Sell Gift Cards – Have you ever gotten a gift card you haven’t used and probably won’t? Sell it to someone else! You can down-sell the gift card to someone who will use it and get cash quickly. I’ve seen posts online “Who wants a $50 gift card for $40? I’m not gonna use it!” This is a great way to give and get at the same time.

When Money Works For You

Photo Cred: Joanna Nix-Walkup

I don’t know if everyone who will put eyes on this post knows the feeling of getting caught in the rat race of money or not, but if you do, then this one may be for you. You see, there is a rat race I’ve been feeling stuck on for a while and I’m slowly becoming free. It’s a financial race to get ahead of taxes and bills, in order to have enough to save, invest, and give generously. (I will preface this post by saying please check out my other post “It’s Better to Give Than to Receive” so that you understand my views on giving no matter what. There are ways to give generously no matter our financial circumstances.) But as life stands now, I’d like to give financially, in more profound ways than ever before.

Recently, last month in December 2020, I read the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and it changed my life. Not in any outward way. My financial and living circumstances from an outsider’s perspective look the same this month as last month, but my thoughts and words around money have shifted. At some point in the book, I started believing I could be the “rich Dad” Kiyosaki talks about. I started believing I could be financially wealthy in order to get out of the rat race.

The idea that opened my eyes to this new way of thinking that has changed my perspective on money is this: Money works for ME.

Until last month when reading that book, my entire life I worked for money. I worked a job or gig and received money in return. Work, get paid. Work, get paid. Whether life guarding at pools through high school and college or becoming a sports video producer, I worked for money. But then Rich Dad, Poor Dad flipped my perspective completely on its head. In the middle of the chapter where I had this enormous “aha” I literally spoke out loud over and over, “money works for me, I don’t work for money,” till I believed it.

When money works for me, then I get to let go of pressure to perform for work. I get to let go of fear of the financial “what ifs” with taxes and bills. I get to take authority. Finances do not rule my life anymore, I rule my finances. I am in charge of how much I make, where I work, and why.

This was huge. Still is. It’s something I’ve been testing for the last few weeks and so far, fear/stress/worry has taken a backseat to the ownership I now have on a mental-emotional level with money. And it’s manifesting to the physical.

I choose where and how I spend the money I make. I’m not letting go of responsibility to things that must get taken care of financially, but I’m just way more cognizant that control is in my hands. I control when and how things get paid. I control how much enters and exits my account each month. Money works to my behalf in buying groceries. Money works to my behalf in paying bills. Money works to my behalf with creating the life I want. And it will continue to.

Taking ownership of this one concept has opened me up to now saying things like “I control my schedule; it doesn’t control me.” And “I control my time; time doesn’t control me.” These invisible entities that used to run me around and rule my life, don’t get to anymore. It’s up to me. And it has allowed me to breath a little easier the last three or so weeks since reading the book.

So, friend reading this post, let money work for you. Stop working for money. No one, and no-thing should own or control us.

No. You have skills, ideas, intelligence, interests, and accomplishments to offer the world. These are valuable first, before anyone decides what the value those things are worth on a per hour or per year basis.

You are valuable. And money is the thing that works to your favor- getting you the things you need and want in life, and perhaps out of the rat race one day soon.

Held Back By Money… or Not?

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I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time. For two years now, I’ve pondered the words my older brother said to me when I was considering grad school, but concerned about the cost, he said, “Don’t ever let money be the reason to do, or not do something.”

It was a statement of freedom. Of empowerment. That money doesn’t have to dictate my choices. He followed the comment with, “There is so much money in the world, and if God really wants you to do something, He’ll provide the money to make it happen.”

I did end up going to grad school, and just five months out of student life, back at work, it seems I’ve settled back into a mindset of “well I don’t have money, so I can’t” and “I’m living a poor person life right now, sorry” and “I wish I could take trips like them.”

Money is important, and we need to live within our means. The repercussion of spending what we do not have could wind us up in a position of vulnerability, debt, and destitution.

That said, living like a “poor person” is a mentality and lifestyle that goes beyond mere frugality. It’s the opposite of empowering and is a self-inflicted state of being that gets rid of choices, and puts you at the disposal of others.

I feel the crunch of getting out of debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and wanting to save up in order to move on to a new market where I can make a decent wage for my degrees and experience. But, I’m not going to get there by living as a victim to my circumstances and with the mentality that I’m poor.

I’ve yet to see a paycheck for my work, yet I’ve published a book that a whole slew of people have bought. I’ve gotten engaged, and used mileage built up via credit, to make the flights possible on my most recent trip to see my fiancé in his country. I can buy groceries every week, put gas in my car, and pay all the car bills that make it possible for me to get to work each week.

I’m not poor.

Nothing about what I do in my daily life depends on other’s charity.

And after paying another round of payments off with my last piddly squat paycheck, I know that as long as I continue to dream big, and however slow or fast make moves of living my best life, money has no authority over what I can and cannot do with my life.

God knows the plans He has for me. And I will continue to prosper under His hand, knowing full well He has all authority to give me more or take it all away, like Job, the wealthiest man of his day from the Bible, who at God’s allowance, lost EVERYTHING including his children. Imagine losing your home, money, job, and children, and health all in the same week. Job lived through it and came out more blessed on the other side as he trusted God during the process.

God’s perspective is higher than mine, and He sees what I need and how he’ll provide, before I do. So far, He’s been gracious to give me a job to at least be making something during this transition period after grad school, but I know this is not the end. It can’t be. I need more and I ask him every day to show me the jobs I should be applying for that pay in a way that I can be a blessing to people, instead of a burden.

On the flipside, when a high paying job presents itself to me, I don’t want money to be the sole purpose of taking it. As my brother said, “Don’t ever let money be the reason to do, or not do something.” I want to be passionate about my work, not just take a higher paying one for the paychecks.

Money shouldn’t be the reason (a reason, yes, but not the ultimate reason) for making any life changing decisions. DO YOUR LIFE. Think about what you want, then go for it!

Live the life you want, now.

Be happy, now.

Be debt free, now.

Give generously, now.

Set goals, and then achieve them, now.

Money isn’t the mindset and lifestyle that will allow you or I to live your best life. It is a part of it, but money never needs to hold us back.

Shopping.

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Photo Cred: Yuriy Trubitsyn

Nearly every girl I know loves the word. Shiny floors that you can practically see your reflection; displays of glittering chunky gold and silver jewelry; racks of sunglasses that are prefect for summer and make a perfect addition to your collection; textures that run through your fingers like silk, soft cotton, and denim that you can see yourself wearing and the comments your friends will make if you purchased this latest necessity. Let’s not forget, of course, the rows of flats for sundresses and jeans, the click clacking of trying on a new pair of heels, and the strappy sandals that make your feet look slimmer.

Oh, all of that and more rushes to me when I hear the word “shopping.” And it is the and more part that I want to write about today.

Amazingly, I never liked shopping growing up, or ever really. My friends in middle school would meet at the mall on a Friday or Saturday and spend the evening tossing around and trying on new clothes and dresses. I was too self-conscious about my body to ever really enjoy it. In high school, looking for a prom dress was the most disastrous $100 my mother and I would ever spend, the trauma of trying to fit a dress to my oddly proportioned, petite, somewhat athletic, yet still carrying a bit of baby fat body would ever experience. (I do not miss high school prom dress shopping one bit.)

To be honest, to this day I don’t really like shopping. But not because I’m too self aware to enjoy it, I just prefer to be outside, hiking, biking, or doing yoga than to brows aisles of clothes “just for fun.” Fun means so much more than being inside under blinding florescent lights looking at styles I want to buy and can’t afford or wishing I could pull off but never can.

So, it was to my surprise that for one of the first times in my life a few weeks ago, I felt a connection to the 3.5 billion other women who live in the world and care about this thing called shopping. Why had I been missing out, for nearly a quarter of a century, not appreciating this consumerist pastime?! Had I just crossed over to womanhood, as the world knows it?

Let me explain.

I walked into this one store that has a red and white logo and nearly every important thing to humanity inside. You know… Target! I ran in quickly to buy a card for a friends wedding, or birthday. I can’t even remember the event because after picking up the card, I meandered to the clothes section.

Instead of being overwhelmed with all the options and colors, I could barely pull myself away from the dresses, shirts, pants, shorts, more shirts, more dresses and more pants all waiting just for me. I took multiple trips back and fourth from the clothes to the dressing room and back again. And I’m sure that the sweet lady who gave me a new card with a number each time I walked in and out of the dressing room with armfuls of clothes, secretly hated the pile that built up of discarded options that someone (probably she) would have to put back in it’s home at the end of the day.

I tried to help out by putting one or two things that I remembered where I got them back on the rack, but let’s be real, I was too enamored with this thing called shopping to be of much use. I probably put those shirts on some pants rack somewhere.

I don’t remember how long I spent in Target that morning. But I ended up walking out of the store empty handed, save for the card I had run in to purchase originally.

I wanted sooo many things! Too many things. I wanted the leopard shoes that wouldn’t go with anything in my closet. And the dresses to add to my collection of dresses I rarely wear anymore. I wanted boots and purses and new workout clothes…

But I walked away from it all; even though I could have used the pretty, plastic card in my wallet with my name on it to make all those things I wanted, mine.

I don’t know if it was my conscience or what, but a thought hit me at the end of the clothing frenzy I found myself that morning: I have to be a good steward of what God has given me, with both time and money. In the end, I couldn’t justify purchasing new “stuff” when I didn’t have the money to actually pay for it, when I had been struggling for months already to pay off that pretty, plastic card with my name on it. I couldn’t justify buying all this stuff for myself when so many people live with so little and don’t have a choice. I couldn’t justify claiming these new things as mine when the point wasn’t for an event or purpose other than to satisfy my desire of compliments and wanting.

So I walked away.

I also realized that morning, that I will never get back the time that I spent at Target trying clothes on.

To me, there are more important things to do with my money and time than buy more stuff for myself. (That’s not to say I will never buy anything ever!) However, I realized that day in Target that I turned a corner with shopping. It is with purpose and intentionality that I will shop in the future, not out of a rush of simply wanting things.

So I encourage you to think about what is in your shopping cart or basket the next time you meander into a store, being honest with what you find yourself reaching for, and think about spending that time and money on things (friendships, family, talents, and dreams) that are truly important. Maybe it’s time to turn a corner and walk away.

Have you ever seen Confessions of a Shopaholic?

Funny clip of shopping at it’s finest.

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