rebelling against low expectations

Teenagers Are Pathetic


We’re going to play a game. It’s called “Fill in the Blank.” I want you to fill this blank with the first negative word that comes to mind.


Teenagers are the most ________ people.

What word came to mind? Distracted. Destructive. Disturbed. Depressed. Desperate. Just a few on my mind…


We can blame our society. We can blame pop culture. We can blame the government, the school system, or even ourselves, but that’s not the problem.

“Teens are just that way! It’s who they are.”

Well, history is there to prove you wrong. It may be who they are, but it is NOT who they are meant to be.

It was a teen that slew a giant. It was a teen that gave birth to the Messiah. It was a teen that held onto his faith in Babylon. It was a teen that was taken to Egypt as a slave, and still believed God was good.

Teens can be the most energetic, the most passionate, the most powerful people group in the Body of Christ.

And Satan knows it.

So, where are the Davids? Where are the Marys? Where are the Daniels and the Josephs? We’re in a war! Where are the warriors?

  • Mary would have showed up today, but she looked in the mirror, and felt ugly, and unusable.
  • David’s here. He’s on the battlefield, but while shells explode around him, he’s staring at a screen that plays images of espionage, the program of the Enemy, meant to steal, kill, and destroy him.
  • Daniel’s around here somewhere, but he’s so scared. He can hear the roaring Lion that is our Enemy, and it renders him useless, so he flies under the radar. No one’s really sure what side he’s on.
  • And as for his friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, they tried to stand up to that idol, but their peers all cracked under the pressure, and even the adults in their life told them, “It’s what all young people do.”
  • Esther is here too, but that crush of hers may as well be a king, because he rules her heart. She knows it’s wrong. She knows he isn’t the right one, but she can’t say no because she can’t bear the break up. She’s so afraid of being alone.

Where are they? They’re here. They’re slowly being lulled to sleep by the lies.

And I, for one, am done watching it happen.

In the 1730’s and 40’s there began a movement that would come to be known as the Great Awakening. One of the key leaders of the day was a Pastor named Jonathan Edwards. At age seven, he had studied Latin, Greek and Hebrew. At the age of 13, Edwards entered Yale, and it was there he found God. As he began to preach the Spirit of God began to move. Edwards recorded the movement in his book, A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God:

“The town seemed to be full of the presence of God. The noise amongst the dry bones waxed louder and louder. The revival struck the hearts first of the young people and then of their elders all over the town …”

Less than a century later, a group of college students, attending Williams College and Andover Theological Seminary got caught in a thunderstorm. They all ran for shelter under a haystack. There, in the dark, one of them shared his desire for foreign missions. Then another, and another, and another. These students stayed up all night in what has been called “The Haystack Prayer Meeting.”

Four years later they formed The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. They sent out Adoniram Judson to Burma, Lott Carey to Africa, Jonathan Goble to Japan, and Asa Thurston to Hawaii.

Just a bunch of kids. In a haystack.

I’m done watching kids go over the edge. I’m done watching hearts break. I’m done playing tea party in a war zone. Parents, pray for your kids! The Enemy is after them, not just so he can get to them, but so he can get to you!

When I was little one of my favorite movies was Pixar’s “The Incredibles.” It’s still one of the best animated films of all time in my mind. There is a line in that movie that hits home with me. As Mrs. Incredible is describing the enemy to her kids she warns them, “He won’t exercise restraint because you’re children. He will kill you if he gets the chance. Do not give him that chance.”

Let me tell you something. You are powerful. You are not destined for mediocrity. You have all that you need for life and godliness. You were meant to change the world. You were meant for so much! Don’t be deceived. Don’t let this culture lie to you any longer. You have a choice. You can rebel against low expectations for the glory of God. And it can start right now.

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Photo courtesy of Amanda Tipton and Flickr Creative Commons.

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About the author

Hannah Duggan

is an 18-year-old Pastor's Daughter from a small town. Although her passion is writing both fiction and non-fiction she enjoys music and dance. Her desire is to see God ignite the passions of young people to reflect His glory. She lives in Hawaii with her parents and two younger brothers.


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  • Very compelling article Hannah. I definitely agree with you. Satan is after us; I can feel the spiritual warfare around this subject is great.

    God Bless,

    Liam Siegler

  • Absolutely True! Let’s be the people God made us to be and stop conforming to the lies of the culture!

  • Hannah, thanx for sharing this with us. I think you have some great points here, that we all can learn from. I find it very easy to fall into the rut of just doing what is required in life. Why should we do more if nobody expects us to? Why should we push for harder accomplishments in life if none of our peers are?
    These are just a couple of the reasons why we need to pray for and encourage each other. If it hadn’t been for the prayers and encouragements of a few close friends, I would probably have stopped some of the ‘Hard Things’ that i have been doing. So teens, get a wise mentor and some good friends to support you and it will be a great boost when you hit rough spots. And don’t forget to pray for your friends!

  • Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 😀
    We are to become ‘blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation,’ in which we ‘shine like stars in the universe’, or, as another version puts it, ‘among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life’.
    Powerful stuff.
    Hannah Duggan, let me congratulate you. You have condensed the potent and motivating message of the original book, Do Hard Things, in the above article, and wonderfully summarized the whole focus of this website and its forums, while also instilling the original spirit and zeal into your words. Thank you so much!
    I haven’t had much to say on the Rebelution in a while. So many of the posts seem about kids who end up in the news because of a great scientific invention or who’s influenced something political. As good and well as all of that is, I strongly desire to hear more from everyday teens struggling, like me. Who fight to be good, and stand strong. Who battle the Satanic forces beset against us everyday. There are so many of us. Sharing our stories encourages and uplifts the others. I wish they’d do that more.
    But, Hannah, I think you have reminded us–all of us–in a particularly crucial moment of what our life, and our fight, our battle, warrior skills, are all about, and why we have this opportunity now to stand up in the faith and say ‘No more’. I dislike sitting on the sidelines just as much as any other teenager across the globe. A question I continually find myself asking is, ‘how?’ How do I start? How do I know it’s the right thing?
    Truth is, it doesn’t matter. Start something, with having dedicated it to the Lord before you began, telling Him that whatever comes from it, all of it is His, He can do what He wills with it. I guarantee you, something’ll start happening. Do it not for the glory of you, but for the glory of our amazing, merciful God. Just go and do.
    As for your article, Hannah? Well done. A good reminder. An incredible motivation. And replete with biblical insight. Imagine if any one of us were to go back and trade places with David, Daniel, or Mary? Would we do what they did? I’m afraid we would not–I would not. So who have we become? More importantly, how do we become the people God has created us to be? Warriors. His special tactic, right? ;D Let’s pray. Pray that God would move in us and through us and for us. That through us He would reach a world desperately in need of Him, and would change it. Opportunity knocks in the form of the future; let’s not not let him in.

    • Thanks so much Sadie! I know that it’s so easy to feel isolated sometimes, but believe me! We’re all right in there with you, fighting the good fighting, doing our best to submit to God and resist the Devil.
      “Resist him steadfast in the faith knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” ~1 Peter 5:9
      We’re with you sister! God Bless!!

      P.S.~ And may I just say that I love you for using the word “beset?” I’m a writer and I noticed that it was superbly placed. Classy!! Bravo! Haha! Thank you so much for your input!

  • Amen. Said it like it is. Very well written. That’s one thing I try to help others keep in mind. There IS an enemy and we ARE at war. Thanks for this.

  • oh my goodness!! what an amazing article!! this was truly a wake up call and I am posting a link to this page on my blog! thank you so much for saying what others have not!
    lanie bug

    • Thank you so much! I really appreciate the repost. It’s a message that is so heavy on my heart. God Bless!

  • Wonderful post! Satan can try to convince us that we can’t be any more than the world’s image of what teenagers are, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! If we remain grounded in our Father and in His Word, we will be able to recognize the enemy’s lies and trust in God to help us reach our full potential. God bless!

  • To tell the truth, the first thing that popped into my mind was disrespected. In my opinion, most teens are looked down upon because most of them aren’t ‘the best’. There’s more to life than making the decision to be better than average, there’s more to life than making the decision to be better than the person that wants to be better than average, but there isn’t much more than to keep the most important thing the most important thing. We pretty much all know what the most important thing should be, but what is it really? You could be that one kid that does nothing than try to live a godly life and live in a way where you focus on what God’s plan for you is for the day. There’s no ‘special decision’ that makes him better than average, it’s that he keeps God his number one. It’s a willing heart, one that would even give up a ministry, one that would give up a family, one that would give up a son, that God values, not acts. You can have acts without faith, but not faith without acts.

    • I agree. Teens are disrespected, and I apprecieate your perspective. In my opinion, simply walking by faith, and believing God to be Who said He is day by day IS the extrodinary life we were called to live. Being consistent far outweighs being constantly in the spotlight. But the special decision to be that consistent Christian is what sets us apart, makes us different from the world, and causes us to shine His light. Thank you so much for your imput!

      • To put it in short, unless you are doing an an act with a spirit of love and not with pride, it is completely useless and is unappreciated by God. I guess that’s what I’m trying to say.

  • Thanks Hannah, for this post! I pray for my kids all the time, asking God to protect them form Satan and his minions who are out there lurking around every corner, in every mirror, on every school campus, and in the hearts of many of their contemporaries. I only have one teenager now as my other two are in their 20’s, but even young adults are bombarded with poor messages by our society. I try and talk to them about young people who have done extraordinary things, and that they were just young people who followed their faith and conscience. God Bless.

    • Thank you so much for your encouragement and for your prayers! We need our moms to stand in the gap for us, and pray for God’s protection. Thank you for the “Hard Things” you do for your kids. They mean so much to the Father!

  • Thanks for the vivid descriptions of those who had so much potential but didn’t use it. I don’t want to live like that! Oh that God would help us not forget!

  • Thanks for this Hannah. Great name also, as our daughter is named Hannah :-). I’ve done a lot of writing on this topic and teach on it at the seminary where I’m a prof. I argue that perhaps the most overlooked aspect of awakenings is the role of youth. I guess that is why I am one of the oldest youth speakers on earth (age 55)! I’m so grateful for Do Hard Things and the focus of this website. Grateful for what you wrote.

    • Thank you so much! I so appreciate that there are professors such as yourself to spread this message! God bless your ministry!

  • “You are not destined for mediocrity.” Thanks Hannah, I need to be reminded of that. Often.

    I recently faced facts and discovered that I only rarely gave anything I ever attempted (that I can think of) “all I had.” I was too comfortable (and lazy) in my mediocrity. I know God wants me, whatever my hands find to do, to do it with “all my might,” not as little as I can squeak by with. I am capable of more.

    I want to change, and become truly “good at” something, instead of just being “good enough” or “okay” at many things. I don’t want to be the servant who buried the talents the Lord gave him, and wasted them. I don’t want to settle for mediocrity anymore. I know God won’t.

    • Amen, Mallory! God has a special and SPECIFIC purpose for you. The last thing we want to ask ourselves at the end of our lives is “What if I had given it my all?” Now’s the time! Do it with all your might and know that He’s going to bless that, no matter what it is!

      “Wherever you are, be all there.” ~Jim Elliot

  • I love the part in the post that says, “It was a teen that slew a giant.” So motivating and inspiring! Great post!

  • This is so so true! God doesn’t believe in teenagers. He says there are no teenagers in God’s eyes. You are either a child or an adult. There is no ‘in between’. If you act like a child, you will be treated like a child. If you act like an adult, you will be treated like an adult. Simple as that.

  • My “fill in the blank” word was INTERESTING. I love chatting with my kids and their friends about their dreams, their thoughts, their visions for change….Teens are in the wake of some of the most incredible and life-shaping decisions for their life and the lives of others…listen hard…you will love it!

  • Thank you so much! I’m sharing this with some other “youngsters” I know. Although I’m part of this “rebelution”, I still need that kick in the pants about once a month 😉

  • Thanks so much for sharing! This was a kick to bring back a passion inside me but my next question is how? I want to do something but I don’t know what to do or where to start. Do i look for opportunities or do i just go with the flow until God impresses something on my heart?! I want to live big and to stop filling my life with seemingly meaningless activities.

    • Hey Grace! I can’t completely answer your question for you, but I can give you a few suggestions, I’m coming out of my teens and am very blessed in that my purpose and future are pretty clear, all in God’s hands but about a year ago everything started to fall into place, and I’m able to (hopefully!) share some of what I learned. 🙂 The first would be to set some goals – what do you feel is important in your life? Obviously as Christians, a big first one is growing closer to God – how can you achieve this? In your single years (or your younger years for those of us who won’t get married), we have a lot more time and less responsibility than we will later, and now is an awesome time to fall completely in love with Jesus. If you haven’t already, setting aside time every day to pray, to read and Bible – and I would also recommend – to keep a prayer journal, are great habits to shape your life now and in the future. What about purity? Are you prepared for the battles, or could you do with some more weapons? This is one of the biggest battles from what I’ve seen for all young Christians. Do you have close Christian friends who can be your accountability partners for the years ahead? Is there opportunity to talk about these things with your parents? If you already have them all on board, that’s fantastic, but a circle of trusted Christians can also be your sounding board for so many things in the future, not just to do with relationships. I didn’t tackle the serious issues of a deep working relationship with my parents and close Christian sisters until I was 17, which is something I regret deeply. What are your passions? Do you work well with elderly people, middle aged, youth, children? Do you have musical, handiwork or other interests? What do you feel God may call you to when you are older? I felt that God was calling me to be a wife and mother. So I talked with my parents, and we came up with some skills that would be great here (Aus.) or as a missionary – nursing, aged or early childhood care, building, sewing, accounting, agriculture, foreign languages, and others. I’m now doing nursing, but so wish I got into accounting or something when I was 15 to 17 – if I had had a bit more drive and wasn’t so engrossed with my animals, there are a lot of other things I could have done! God had a plan through all of it, and I’m so thankful for all that He led me in, but if I had been more awake and asked Him about it, there is a lot more I could have learned. 🙂
      Okay, so that was a very long first idea – in other words, I feel you should seek. 😀 Look for God’s will – do you feel that you are doing all that He has called you to? Or is there more – practical, emotional, mental or spiritual – that you can turn your energies too? Practical, doing a course, study on the side, getting involved, or finding information about how to learn more on those things. Emotional – seeking out deep and worthwhile friendships with Christians, your family, friends old and new, especially Godly women. Mental – stretching your mind, learning a language, memorizing Scripture (this is something I am so thankful we did as a family! It’s incredible how God made our minds to store information, even whole books of the Bible 😀 ), whatever study you are currently doing. 🙂 Spiritual – fellowship with believers, personal prayer and study time, reflection and seeking God alone and with other believers, and talking about the things of God. If you don’t have a passion for talking about God, you can find people who do, read books about them, and about God, read His Word, and ask Him for that hunger – it’s such a wonderful, startling concept that we can ask Him to make us fall more in love with Himself! But He does 😀 <3

      Wow, I think I got a little carried away there! But will be praying for you, and really hope there are some useful nuggets of wisdom bound up in all my ramblings and passion for the Lord 😀
      In Christ,

      • Hi Carrie! Oh my goodness, thank you so much the taking the time to respond! You have given me some wonderful and very practical things to start doing that I really haven’t been doing much of before. Funny thing, I also have thought about nursing for the same reason you have 🙂 lol. Although the future is unseen and right now I just don’t know exactly what God wants me to do, you have reminded me how much He wants me to go after Him and seek Him and truly get to know Him through His word and prayer. Thanks again so much for everything you said and for your prayers!
        In Him,

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 →