rebelling against low expectations

Understanding Do Hard Things


The motto of The Rebelution is – Do Hard Things. I understand it now.

The first time I went to the site and read that, I didn’t really know what to think. It was a cool blog and all, but didn’t quite know what to do about ‘hard things’. I had a good life. God was changing me. I was learning. Sure, life wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t bad. I was pretty good with where I was. And I was confident that if God wanted me to do something hard, He would tell me in His time.

I didn’t understand the motto. I thought it was all just ‘nice.’ Pleasing to the ears. But then last week, I started understanding it. Finally.

I had gone to a youth conference down in Portland. I had to struggle with being judgmental there, as I saw girls and guys interacting with each other in ways I considered inappropriate—girls from youth groups primping in the bathroom for the teenage boys who would invade my personal space and flirt with all the pretty girls.

Oh yes, my first thoughts were not humble. Arrogance spun around in my mind as I “thanked God” that the people in my youth group would not ever act like this.

In the midst of that, I started to see a glimmer of something. “Wait a second!” I thought. “This must be what the Rebelution talks about when they say to rebel against low expectations!” Nobody in my youth group had these kind of low standards. We must be at the top! We must have finished! Success was in sight!

God suddenly spoke to my heart: “But that’s not all.”

“What? We’re doing pretty good!”

“Just because you may have higher standards than the youth groups
standing next to you doesn’t mean that there’s not more.”

“There’s more?”

“Don’t be satisfied with where you are at. Keep going further.”

In reality, it does no good to compare ourselves to our peers, Christian or no. If we try to compare ourselves to other people, all that will happen is that our standards will sink lower and lower, and our pride will rise higher and higher. Comparing ourselves to others is worthless. We will become discouraged or arrogant.

Poncho Lowder once said that “you can’t leave here [from an experience with God] and go back living the same [lifestyle] expecting a different result. You have to live different.” C.S. Lewis wrote, “We’re like eggs at present, and you can’t go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”

Quit comparing yourself to others. Go after God. And Do Hard Things.

About The Authoress: Elisabeth is a sixteen-year-old artist, God Chaser, and musician. She is currently involved in driver’s ed, youth group leadership, and sings on the worship team at her church. She is taking British Literature, Algebra 1 & 2, Rosetta Stone Russian, and teaching her siblings science. On the side, she blogs, paints, draws, makes tapioca pudding, practices violin, piano, and whatever else needs practicing.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Excellent post. It hit the nail right on the head. It is so easy to fall into measuring ourselves against our neighbors instead of striving to be more like Christ. And to feel prideful when we see the splinters in others’ eyes, forgetting the planks that are in our own.

  • This was a wonderful post! 🙂 So often, I fall into something just like Elisabeth wrote and it is hard to get out of that type of attitude, but by God’s grace, we can overcome that pride. 🙂 Mary Mohr: You said my words almost exactly.

  • Thanks so much, sister!!!! This was a much needed “digging in” to the heart behind the Rebelution and its motto, and a much needed reminder for me not to compare myself with others! Love you, Abigail =)

  • Great job Elizabeth!

    There have been many times when I’ve been tempted to think of others that way…kind-of look down my nose at them because they are doing stuff that me and my friends would *never* do…and I begin to think, “Maybe I’m better than they are.” or “Maybe I’ve ‘got’ something that they don’t.”

    But, in reality, that’s just pride.

    Thank-you for presenting an insightful look into that subject.

    ~Lady Tai

  • I used to receive a publication titled the King’s Daughter by Lara and Lisa Bode (don’t know if anyone is familiar with them or their magazine which unfortunately is now no longer in print). When I would receive this bi-monthly publication, more often than not it would seem as if they had found a secret passageway to my brain and had come especially to encourage me in the areas in which I was struggling.

    I said all that to say this, I REALLY appreciated your post. I can so relate. I needed to read what you had to say.

    I have been thinking of this passage of scripture recently,

    “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” – Malachi 3:16-17

    Thank you Elisabeth for sharing and encouraging us with your words and thank you Brett and Alex for being faithful to encourage others in their walk with the Lord.


  • Very true and very applicable reminder.

    Thank you, Elizabeth.

    I once read a story about how a young boy saw a sheep and found it so white and pure against the dirt and grass. The boy then went to sleep and woke up after some snow. This time around, the sheep looked entirely filthy against the background of the truly white and pure snow.

    As “sheep,” may we never be content to be merely whiter than the world’s dirt but learn to see God’s pure snow as the standard for our strivings 🙂

  • That hit the spot. Even in the modesty survey, I have to be so careful not to mentally judge others and lift myself up. O Lord, humble us and give us fire for you.

  • Great post, Elisabeth.
    I’m now a college student and a ‘good guy’, but the struggle of complacency and arrogance that comes from judging other people is one I have everyday, and Do Hard Things really challenges that complacency.

  • I have often felt God saying to me ” Go further, try harder”. I think what is very much needed among our youth today is perserverence, and the want to go farther. Great post! May God bless you

  • Wow. Very true—especially that part about pride. The more prideful we are, usually the farther we find ourselves off course. And you said that and incorporated it wonderfully. This challenged me a lot. Thanks!

  • Wow! You hit the bullseye with that one. That is one thing God has been teaching me for a while- about comparing yourself with others. It’s a huge mountain that I’m still climbing over. This totally helps! Thank you!
    Keep up the great writing!

  • “Quit comparing yourself to others. Go after God. And Do Hard Things.”

    Very, very good. I am afraid I have been comparing myself to the people around me and thinking, “Wow. Your really are doing good.” Wrong. Compared to the people I know, maybe, but to God, NO WAY!!!

    Thanks Elizabeth!

    God bless!

    Sarah. 🙂

  • I am reading the book with my youth group. The moment i started reading it, i was hooked. i never realized how much truth and impact one book could contain! i had a hard time putting it down. I never before had realized that we had such low expectations set for our generation.

    I couldn’t believe how much truth their really was in it. Not letting people get you down because you are young. and the way that teens have the bar set so low and only do wat is expected of them, but some, if the bar is set higher, we reach and try to exceed the expectations.

    I am one of the teens that have so many things to say but never find a way to say it. I realized about 4 weeks ago how important God is in our lives. I went to a youth camp for a weekend with out youth group, and from there on i have been speading more time in church praising God. I try to help those around me that dont understand. And the way this book puts everything, just helps it easier to understand.

    Now that i no there are others out there that are Christians my age, i feel alot better. i look around and hear people saying things and doing things that arent the best. i have even been told that their is no God and that it is all a bunch of hype. And the way i replied was sorta simple. I said that i would rather die knowing God as my Savior, and find out that their isnt one, and all my beliefs never hurt ne thing, than die and see that there is one a God, and get damned to hell. but since then i have been praying for that person and i hope that if ne one ever has that happen to them that they are NOT afraid to speak your mind and tell them what u believe in right!

  • That article was good, Elisabeth. It gave us more initiative to do hard things, and it taught us to not compare ourselves to our peers, tha we should just be who we are. Thanks a lot.

  • Thank you so much! I think this is something I truly needed to hear, and a trap of mindset I think a lot of people fall into.

  • wow that was awesome!! i really never thought of it that way but that makes so much sense. I will try from now on not to compare myself to others! =) thanks

  • I have just read your book in Slovak translation. It is truly amazing! 🙂

    Thank you for the inspiration you gave me your book. 🙂

  • Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is fundamental and all. Nevertheless imagine if you added some great images or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and videos, this website could undeniably be one of the greatest in its niche. Awesome blog!

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →