rebelling against low expectations

3 Things You Should Know: From One Teenager to Another


Time can’t go backwards. (That frustrates me almost more than anything).

During the time each of us is given, however, we learn lessons. Lessons made for sharing. Each one of us has a story, a gem of wisdom capable of saving – saving time, energy, heartache, or maybe even a life.

It’s easy to wish we could go back to certain moments in life and share a gem of wisdom we now have with ourselves. But, we can’t. Time won’t go backwards.

Other people, however, may be at a point where they desperately need just what you are wanting to say. Please, for the sake of all those around you, say it.

What I’ve written below is the message this fumbling high-schooler wishes she could’ve given herself four years ago.

– – – – || Three Words || – – – – –


1. Know who you are.

No, I don’t mean “know what you like, what you do, your style,” or anything like that. I mean know, without a shadow of a doubt, your identity – who you are at your core – because everything else about you will stem from that.

Don’t only know who you are, though; believe it and live from it.

(Want to know who you are at your core? The Bible is filled with the truth of your identity. For starters check out 1 John 3:1, Hebrews 10:10, and 2 Corinthians 5:20.)

2. Now, stop focusing on you and live responsibly.

You know who you are, so you are freed up to do what you need to do.

Invest in what’s really important – not in worries, not in dwelling on what other people think of you, and not in obsessing over either the past or future. All you’ve got is right now, so use it and invest wisely.

People matter – invest yourself in them, in relationships, and in building others up. Faith matters – invest yourself in seeking His face so that you can hear and know His will. Then, you will know where else He wants you to invest.

Finally, no matter where you are, always invest all of yourself. Don’t hold back. It’s pointless (let’s be real.)

3. Be an intentional good-doer and problem solver.

The world needs you! Daily, you have opportunities to speak life and plant hope. You know where in your life. You know the girl who just needs a hug, your friends who just need to hear that you love them, or your sibling who really needs some help with that homework.

You bless people, though, not only with what you do but also by who you are. Somebody needs to see a smiling face today. Someone is hearing that conversation you are having with your mom. Someone notices how you responded to that situation.You are leaving a fragrance behind whether you like it or not.

Further, you have skills needed in problems that are asking you to solve them! So go. do. Purpose to pour yourself out because, when you’ve emptied yourself, you will be filled in a whole new way.

My message is this:

Be grounded in who you are.

Be invested fully in all the responsibilities that come your way.

Be a blessing by leaving a fragrance of hope as you pour out yourself for this world’s healing.

For, time will not go backwards.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Now, you, wonderful person at the other end of this screen, have a message, a story, and wisdom gems, too. You know the world needs to hear it. Please, then, bless us all by sharing it in the comments below. Thank you for choosing to touch somebody’s life.

Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Section!

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Photo courtesy of Leo Reynolds and Flickr Creative Commons.

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About the author

Deborah Spooner

- a college student and pastor’s kid - is a city loving and avocado eating cultural enthusiast, creative, and dreamer who is addicted to dipping words in candor as she writes for her blog Hope Shining. Her hope is anchored to a man who came to earth around 2,000 years ago – Jesus of Nazareth – and she just wants to know Him and make Him known.


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  • Wow…
    This is totally me, from wishing I could go back and tell my younger self how not to be an idiot, to needing to not focus on stress, to sharing my experiences with other teens. It’s like you told my life story.
    You know, something God has been teaching me these past few days is trusting Him. Believe me, that is the HARDEST lesson to learn. With school getting longer and my responsibilities with my new blog growing, I have had to deal with a lot of stress in my life. 5 weeks ago, something that would just about give me an anxiety attack then, now barely bothers me. As much as I hated having to go through all that stress, I am thankful that God cared about me enough to strengthen me for future assignments for Him, so I can be used for the biggest impact possible. Thank you, Deborah!
    God bless,
    – Trent

    • Hey Trent! Thank you so much for commenting and sharing some of your story and how God is working in your life right now. I think your attitude is so spot on: although you’ve had to go through so much that you simply really hate going through, you choose to be thankful that you know God cares and wants to strengthen you for the work ahead. I actually was having some similar thoughts to that a couple days ago, and a few verses stuck out to me: 2 Tim 2:12 “If we endure, we will also reign with him…” and Hebrews 12:1-13. That passage talks about how Jesus is the one we need to fix our eyes on to not grow weary and lose heart, and that hardship should be viewed as discipline that our Father uses for our good. He is faithful to finish what He starts (Phil 1:6).
      On a side note, I just want to say way to follow where you feel God is leading by starting your blog! As a fellow blogger, I’ve experienced that it can be difficult at times but also equally absolutely wonderful. I want to encourage you to not get discouraged when that temptation may come, but to remain faithful to what God has planted in your heart and to continue to seek Him for guidance.

      God bless!

      • Thanks Deborah!
        Actually, I have already started a blog, about a month ago. It’s called Soldiers of God and the web address is
        God bless you,
        – Trent

      • Thanks a million, Deborah

        You are right, it does sometimes get discouraging, but I know that in the end, this is His blog, not mine. And He can do whatever He wants with it.
        God bless,
        – Trent

    • Hey Trent! you just reminded me of stuff that i’ve gone through that i wish i could go back and say ‘hey don’t fall for him he’s just a faker’ or ‘that decision is going to lead to a lot of heartache down the road’ i’ve been through a lot but what i’ve learned is that God grew me taught me, stregnthend my trust and faith in him and has given me a different mind set on the world. everything he’s done in our lives was for his glory! the good the bad the ugly! and i’ve learned to see that to know that, ok that was hard but how did it bring God glory? you know what i think is that when someone wrongs us or does something hurtful like um………oh i was played by a boy once and he hasn’t apologized yet but it’s ok cause i’ve already forgiven him but what he meant for evil God meant for good so that his glory and power might be known to me and to other poeple who helped me through that! What God does in your life that is bad or wrong choices you make he uses that to bring him glory to show his power and might. Colton Dixon’s song “Through All of It” really wraps up my whole life in one song (if you know what i mean) it’s an encouraging song listen to it. it really makes you aware that God was their He is their He will always be their!

      God Bless

  • Great article, Deborah!
    I been wanting to share something with my youth group. I think it would help them. Thanks for encouraging me to think about what I want to say so I can say it!

    • Thank you so much for the encouragement, Sam! I will be praying for your youth group and for you as you share with them. It’s wonderful to know that there are other people out there, like yourself, who are willing see the needs of others and seek to serve them as you follow where you feel called – even if that means having to dig deep and get a little vulnerable. Keep up the good work!

    • Hey Rachel! Thank you so much for the encouragement! Yeah, sometimes we all (including myself many times!) need a reminder that our youth is a gift; it may present challenges, but it sure is going to bring so much joy and growth. My prayer is that we will be willing to seek the good that’s found in life if only we look for it and that we will really make much with what we have been given.

  • That was a great article Deborah!!!!!!!!! i think more teens need to hear that all across the world. That struck deep into my heart! cause i wish i could go back do things differently make the right choices instead of the wrong ones. everyone has something they want to change in their lives, but they can’t. we can only be the person God has made us to be and purpose not to make those same mistakes again.

    we need to build up our generation, by sharing our stories cause i know their are people out their that need to hear that their not alone. We have the power to reach each other through our stories! we’ve all got them some worse then others but everyone can find encouragement form them. and us teens need to know like i said before that we’re not alone in our circumstance, we need to know that we’re not the only one’s who get played, we’re not the only one’s who make bad choices, we’re not the only one’s who struggle with trusting the Lord and a plethora of other things we have the power to say that! to say that ‘Your Not Alone! I struggle with that to I’ve been were your standing many a time’

    and that’s why i just love your article Deborah!!!! thanks for writing it!

    God Bless

    • Your comment was so encouraging, Madeleine!! It sounds like you are passionate, as well, about building up our generation and seeing it on fire for Christ. I deeply agree with you that so many people need to hear that they’re not alone. Admitting to others that we’re struggling and hearing that they’ve been there (or maybe are there currently!) is so helpful; it can bring such freedom and encouragement which will infect so many areas in our lives. It’s my prayer that our generation will really open our hearts to Jesus in a new way and that we will, in turn, open our hearts to each other and let love explode. As Jesus said, people are to know that we’re His disciples by our love (John 13:35). Thanks again, Madeleine! God bless!

      • Oh thank you so much Deborah! i am passionate about this. i think our generation is broken and perverted and depraved of the truth of who God is. many teens would call themselves christian’s but do they really know what that means? i didn’t when i first became a christian (granted i was only 6 but still). and it’ s our job as believers and followers of Christ to encourage them to show them to lead by example to love out loud and to show what it means to be a christian and to show them who God is. and it is so helpful to know your not the only who’s lost a loved or has been played or has gone through something traumatic or is just in a bad place in their faith. i know God has put me through things that i can use to help others who are going through the same thing like my friend at school. and the blessing of that are amazing. I want our generation to be in love with God i want them to know who he is i want them to be saved and to have peace. i want them to know were their going when they die. Thank you Deborah for that encouraging comment! and your welcome 😀
        God Bless!

  • Thank you so much for the article. God bless you. Ever since I checked this blog out, I feel so encouraged to know that there are still teenagers who want to make a difference and be a blessing to others. Praise God! 🙂

    • Hey Myles! Thank you so much for commenting! I often, too, feel discouraged and wonder where the teens are who really care – really care about Jesus, about serving Him, and about loving others. I get frustrated at myself, as well, for when I fail to care! It is so encouraging, though, to know that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9), and it’s encouraging for me to hear of others – like you! – who also want to make a difference. God bless!

  • Wow, thanks Deborah! “Live responsibly” – that really hit me bang in the face, I really needed that!
    Great article!

By Deborah Spooner
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 →