rebelling against low expectations

Do Heart Things: A Challenge For Every Would-Be World Changer


I believe anyone is capable of doing hard things.

Anyone can publish a book, start a business, or run a campaign to raise awareness for AIDS in Africa.

Everyone can do hard things once they set their minds to it.

And while we might not do something as big as the things mentioned above, we are all capable of doing those things, and more.

If we truly ever want something bad enough, trust me, we will do what it takes to obtain that goal.

And yes, it might be hard.

The things mentioned above are extremely hard and are things that if you succeed at doing, the world even in all its immorality and secular filth, will notice and publicly applaud you for accomplishing.

Our view of “hard things” can become warped by the world’s standards

But how often do we hear on the news people cheering on the courage of the teen admitting to his parents about lying, and turning his life around starting with honesty?

When was the last time you read an article about the girl who decided her siblings were people with feelings just like her, and decided to go against the accepted cultural norm of treating her sibling “pests” rudely?

You never hear people talking about the girl who admitted to her parents about wasting time on the Internet, or watch an interview where the boy is discussing his triumphs over deciding to not swear or take the Lord’s name in vain anymore.

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” — 1 John 1:8

The world applauds doing big things, but don’t expect us to do the hard and right things

Alex and Brett encouraged us to go past our comfort zones and to use the teen years not as a stumbling block, but as a stepping stone.

They greatly encouraged us to not put off doing a hard big thing for when we are older, but publishing that book now, throwing that concert now, creating that invention now.

But they also showed us how doing hard things was not just things that received glory or fame, but things closer to home.

Things like honoring and treating our parents with respect.

Showing self-discipline in the responsibilities we already have, like our chores and our relationships.

Keeping our big mouths shut.

Doing these things are not glamorous, don’t make you look good and you don’t see instant and enjoyable results all the time.

And I think that makes them all the more hard.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.” — Colossians 3:23

But I chose to ignore this less appealing dare, and this is my testimony.

When I first read Do Hard Things, I saw the possibility of attention and popularity.

I wanted to prove to the world that Homeschooled-Jesus-Following-Big-Family kids were just as smart, talented and great as everyone else.

I chose to ignore what I really needed to hear and what would have been hardest for me and only took from that amazing book that I could spend the teen years working hard to be noticed.

I could publish a book, build a website, and start a business.

Then I would be noticed and successful. I would be important and people would look up to me because of the hard and big things I accomplished.

Three years later, my big mouth and I have been through a lot, and at my parents and siblings expense, no less.

After being grounded for up to 6 months at a time on and off with all the things I loved taken from me, I finally broke down and started a heart change that hopefully will be ongoing for the rest of my life.

This also gives you a hint at where my heart was, but that’s for another time.

I read through Do Hard Things again, and added that to my parents’ wise advice and the valuable convictions God was painfully pointing out to me.

I finally took away from the book what I would have benefitted greatly from the last three years.

The hard things I should have been doing I was choosing to ignore

If I am truly going to do hard things, the attitude needs to go out.

I’m going to have to wave bye-bye to saying the last word.

I need to swallow my pride and admit when I’m not right.

It might mean I’ll feel like I’m being walked over sometimes.

I will feel misunderstood often because of not trying to make others understand my point of view.

I’d much rather write a feel-good historical novel, thank you.

But the hard and sad truth is that there are amazing people out there who have started and done amazing things, but are still having that affair.

Our society’s icons who we find ourselves idolizing are still going to drug-rehab.

Even the “good girls” and “good boys” who are excelling at everything they do can still be smart mouths, liars and snobs.

And this is because they chose to ignore the training and testing they could have received at home in dealing with their siblings and parents before going out into the world.

And as a result, there are people out in this world doing big and great things, having that great job, excelling at everything, and yet they could still be treating their co-workers rudely, their bosses with disrespect and their friends poorly.

Your home is going to be the hardest place for you to practice how you will treat people outside your home one day.

It will seem like a lot easier to respect your boss, treat your co-workers kindly and manage your work and chores one day when you are on your own and grown-up, but it will not be.

Just think what a difference us teens could make on the world by just starting to treat our homes as the training experience and mission field that they are.

What goes into the heart will eventually find its way back out.

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” — Philippians 1:20

I should have focused on my heart before I tried to change the world

So I challenge you readers who have read this far. Be honest with yourself.

I dare you to start at the heart, the “wellspring of life” where all your true colors will show one day for all to see.

Let’s examine and fix the condition and motives of our heart before trying to change others and accomplish the bigger, harder, more noticed things.

Doing big things might look more appealing because of the attention you most likely would receive or because of the drastic changes for the better it could make on people.

But will it really matter one day when you find yourself standing before the Lord, saying, “I raised money for orphans in Romania and dug wells for tribes in Africa in your name Lord, and yet I argued with my parents, couldn’t control my tongue and was known to be selfish and a liar”?

Be remembered for who you are, and then what you did.

Live your life to glorify God, through every single thing you do, and it won’t matter if the thing is big or small.

So will you join me in doing the small, hard, heart things?

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Photo courtesy of Simone Walsh and Flickr Creative Commons.

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About the author

Carolyn Taylor

is 16 and the oldest of 8 kids. She loves sorting her thoughts out on paper and is homeschooled in the beautiful farmlands of Illinois. She enjoys doing anything outside, creating jewelry, reading, playing the guitar and traveling with her family. Her top loves though are her family, her Savior and of course, her chocolate.

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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 →