This morning I was reading a post I made earlier this year about 17-year-old Jaime Colman, who collected over 4,200 pairs of shoes for the people of Karogoto. If you haven’t read it, go read it now — and even if you have, it won’t hurt to read it again.
Brett and I love coming across young people with stories like Jaime’s. We love sharing them because they inspire and challenge us. Nothing is better proof of the truth of the Rebelution than when ordinary young people live out its message. But we also love the opportunity that real-life stories provide to learn about how God wants to use each of us to do hard things for Him. Jaime’s story is no different.
Dream Big or Start Small?
The main lesson I want us to learn from Jaime is that she didn’t set out to collect 4,200 pairs of shoes, travel to Africa, or be invited to the White House. Her desire was to participate in the work of her local church. Her goal was small: 150 pairs of shoes. And even now, she refuses to take credit for what God has done.
“People keep telling me to look at the wonderful job that I have done,” she explained to the Scranton Times-Tribune, a local newspaper. “But, I didn’t do it. I believe in God and He took this simple dream and turned it into [what it is now].”
Brett and I never want to discourage rebelutionaries from dreaming big, but we’ve also observed that God usually passes over the person with big plans in favor of the one who has a heart to love others, to trust Him, and to take that first small step for its own sake — whether it’s starting a blog or a Bible study, shooting free throws — or, like Jaime, walking barefoot around a high school track with friends.
Faith, Humility, and Availability
What Brett and I don’t want is for you to read stories like the ones here on the blog (or in Chapter 11 of Do Hard Things) and think that to “do hard things” and glorify God, you need a plan to accomplish something “big” or “great.” Stories like Jaime’s should reinforce the reality that what God is looking for is faith, humility, and availability — not glory-seeking, selfish ambition, or an idea that God is most glorified when we impress the most people.
What does that look like in practice? One of the questions we get the most from other young people is, “I want to do hard things, but I don’t know where to start! What should I do?” The answer is that you start right where you are: being faithful in the things you already know God wants you to do. If we aren’t willing to do hard things at home or at school, we’ll never be ready to in the outside world.
Pursuing Faithfulness, Not Success
Being a rebelutionary does not — and cannot — mean that we ignore small ordinary things in order to do big impressive things. Being a rebelutionary means committing to doing even small ordinary things extraordinarily well. As each of us are faithful in that, God will be faithful to prepare us for whatever it is He has called us to do — whether it be today, tomorrow, or ten years from now.
For some of us it will be big, for some it will be small — but only in the world’s eyes. Whether big or small, God will be glorified — and the world will be changed by a generation that gives up the pursuit of success to pursue a life of faithfulness.
That’s when the ordinary becomes extraordinary.