rebelling against low expectations

Love and REAL Life


Today we have an article from Joshua Gahr, age 18, who bought into the “do hard things” mindset at 15 and continues to rebel against low expectations for the glory of God.

Joshua says: “I’m learning that doing the ‘small’ hard things God tells us to is what will bring Him the most glory. Be who you are in Christ, walk worthy, redeem the time, abide in Him — now there are some hard things to do! Christian living is about training our minds to acknowledge God’s presence in everyday life…real life.”

What does it look like to acknowledge God’s presence in real life? What does it look like to do hard things? Joshua’s article gives us one very good example.

Love and REAL Life

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” – Gal. 6:9-10

It’s summer. My friend is moving to Alabama soon. He’s going tubing with another friend. They want me to come. I want to go. I can’t because we need to help an older couple from our church move. I want to scream, punch a wall, or cry… Yes, I really wanted to go.

That’s basically when you realize that God’s best is not always what you want. Not because what you want is better than God’s best, but because you aren’t spiritually mature enough to see it and counter how you feel about the situation.

That happened today. I felt like God was being mean to me, like He didn’t want me to have fun with my friends. It felt like someone stole something I really wanted before I even got to have it. In reality, He wanted me to see what real love looks like in real life. His love.

You’ll read about something like this in a Christian magazine, website, or hear it in a sermon, but you won’t have a clue what love is until God let’s you experience the tension between what you feel you want and what you know He wants. I’m not trying to make light of a serious matter (love is in many ways a matter of life and death); I want you to know what it looks and feels like from the inside.

You’ve probably felt it before. I wonder how often we blow away these opportunities to be blessing and be blessed because we want what we want too badly to learn what love is. I could have found a way out of it. Left the couples daughter and family to work it out on their own. And I would have had a great time floating down the river with my friends… becoming loveless.

Did you catch that? I would have been content to have my selfish flesh appeased. I’m glad God gave me today. I’m glad I got to love Mayme and Jim by helping them move closer to where Mayme gets her cancer treatments. I’m glad we could share the task with their family.

The battle is on in the hearts of the saints. Flesh against Spirit and vice versa. Will we choose love even if it’s the death of our still very alive and enslaved affections? Let God change the way you think of love, what you think it looks and feels like.

Maybe your emotions are so strong that they will not relent and let you be happy about the fact that you didn’t get what you wanted (Life’s not fair!). But maybe, if your willing to be humble and let God change your heart, you can love like He does with joy.

I owe my love to all, because I owe my all to Love.

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About the author

Brett Harris

is co-founder of and co-author of Do Hard Things, along with his twin brother, Alex. He is married to his best friend, Ana, who blogs at He is the founder of the Young Writers Workshop — an ongoing coaching program for serious writers.


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  • Thanks for writing this Joshua and thanks to Alex & Brett for posting it. I needed to hear this right now. God used you guys were you are to touch me where I am. Praise the Lord!

  • This is a great story of how the Do Hard Things mentality comes into play in our daily lives. I think we all need to hear stories like this. While we may not want to do so at times, denying ourselves to serve others is actually a gift from God to show us (though at a MUCH smaller scale) the denial of self that Christ had to go through.

    Of course, the discomfort we go through is NOTHING compared to what Christ went through, but we still have to choose the harder path just like He did. Did Jesus feel like hanging on the cross? No. Was he looking forward to being beaten, stabbed, spat upon, and ultimately having the Father turn away from Him because of the sin that He bore? Not in the slightest! Even so, He chose the path of suffering because He knew it was the Father’s will.

    We, though in a much smaller sense, are called to go through the same self-sacrifice. Did Joshua necessarily feel like helping that couple move? Obviously not. But by choosing to do what God wanted, he found a much greater and deeper enjoyment out of spreading the Love of God to others than he would have from simply going tubing. Thank you so much Joshua for this story of God’s Love being reflected in your own life!

  • I am so challenged by this! Thank you so much for sharing it, and exhorting the Body to be more Christ-like, less self-fulfilled.

  • Joshua’s post exposes a great truth, and challenges us to look for God’s will and His plan even when we don’t really want too. Thank you for this…it’s really touching.
    And, as for Nathan’s comment, I agree whole heartedly. It’s really true. Just think. If we thought about what Jesus went through willingly as opposed to how we feel about things as small as this, how much would our life and our outlook on life change? Praise God, right? Amen!

  • Realllly Good! God has to daily remind me to love the people around me – that’s one of the things I love about the Rebelution – we can help remind each other 🙂

  • thanks for the message! I had to do that beforee and it is very hard to stay and not run off and have fun. I stayed and help out with my church insted of running out to someone’s birthday party.

  • Thanks so much guys for posting this,and Joshua for reinstating such a important truth in our hearts:-)!!
    I also think we need to start focusing on living like Jesus to the people nearest to us,’cause it’s pretty easy showing an act of kindess to someone you see once a month-they most probably only see our good sides (not all the fits we have when we’re not getting our way,quarreling and all the other things that goes on in a family home)- I feel like our family (and even close friends) are the true judges of our characters.

  • Thanks so much! This is a great reminder that love is putting other people’s needs before your own “needs.”

  • “…you won’t have a clue what love is until God let’s you experience the tension between what you feel you want and what you know He wants….” And what you *KNOW* He wants…

  • I know how that is, I’ve been in those situations more often than I’d like to say. One time I had to choose between going to a Bible study and babysitting (really good money) it was a really hard choice. But in the end I chose the Bible study.

    Joshua Gahr: Do you have a blog?

  • That’s a wonderful story. I love it. We tend to forget that the true battle is inside. We get distracted by “flesh and blood” and forget that the true problem is our sin nature. That’s a perfect example of winning the victory before the battle’s fought.

By Brett Harris
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 →