My name is Joy Jadin, and I am a middle school advisor at LUOA! I wrote these five life lessons for YOU because I care deeply about children and young adults, and I hope that parts of my story inspire yours.
People do not think about you as much as you think they think about you.
I wish someone would have told me this in the seventh grade. It was the year I suddenly became so aware of myself—what I was wearing, what I said, what my hair looked like, and the list goes on and on! It took me a long time to realize that I was holding myself back from so much because I was convinced all eyes were always on me, constantly judging and noticing every flaw. Instead of jumping into new friendships, hobbies, and opportunities, I was staying in the shadows.
Be the friend you want.
I spent so much time feeling sorry for myself because amazing friends did not fall from the sky and take me on cool adventures. I was seventeen when I decided to be the friend that I desired to find. I decided I would be the one to start the conversation, send the invite, and I would be the girl who plans the adventure. God allowed my friend groups and social life to blossom when I took the focus off of myself and started loving others the way I wanted to be loved and accepted.
It is easier to maintain a good reputation than it is to fix a bad one.
What you’re known for tends to stick with you for a long time. At age fourteen, God helped me focus on what I wanted to be known for—I wanted to be the girl known for knowing Jesus! He helped me see that it was a far better goal to try to radiate Christ and His beauty than to spend time trying to impress everyone around me. You are going to be known for something, so make sure it is something worth knowing about!
Maturity is a choice.
I woke up on my fifteenth birthday and whispered to myself, “you are an adult now.” Looking back, that was a tad dramatic, but God used that moment to help shape my life. That was the year I began taking ownership of my mistakes and apologizing with sincerity all the time! You would think realizing that I can do whatever I want would be a freeing thought, but for me it was sobering! God helped me see that I had a lot of control over my choices, and the way my character developed. Surrendering to God’s ways and listening to his wisdom now will ensure you’re ready for each new season as your responsibilities and independence grow.
You are who you think you are.
This is both true and false. From my senior year in high school to present day, I am very careful with the words I speak over myself. Thoughts concerning ability, “I’m not that smart”, “I can’t do that”, “It’s too hard”; and thoughts concerning self-esteem, “I’m just not that pretty”, “Nobody likes me”, “My laugh is too weird”, “I’m so awkward” have tremendous power over the direction our lives take every day. Thankfully for the believer, there is another voice we can listen to! He speaks only truth. When God says we are valuable, holy, not condemned, loved, invited, his child, under grace, a friend of Jesus, redeemed, accepted, a temple of the Holy Spirit, a new creation (and so much more) we know that those things are true whether or not we think they are. Praise God the truth about God and ourselves are not impacted by our perspective and feelings!
Joy is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Green Bay, and is currently pursuing a Master of Elementary Education through Liberty University. She cares for all 6th-grade students as an academic advisor for Liberty University Online Academy. Joy loves to cook, exercise, and stay busy!