rebelling against low expectations

Any advice on how to overcome complacency?


CLARE WRITES: I haven’t done anything all that great it my life, never taken the big step that I should’ve taken a very long time ago. Or more simply I haven’t done hard things.

I took piano lessons twice but didn’t stay with them long. I was pushed to do a drama class, but made a deal to get out of it. I start playing the violin, but after it started getting tough I backed out!

So really I have stayed in my comfort zone and never embraced something hard. I’ve been a quitter my whole life. I tried and when it got “hard” I said I had enough! And yet I’m satisfied with my life and who I am almost entirely. Why?

Is there anyone who can share some advice?

Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Section!

There are currently 7 Comment(s)

Have something else you’d like to discuss? Just submit your question or topic (and any elaboration you’d like to provide) using our Submit Content Page. We look forward to hearing from you.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author

Discussion Questions

are submitted by real rebelutionaries who are looking for godly answers to tough questions and lively conversation with other young adults. You can join the conversation by commenting below. If you'd like to submit your own discussion question, email us at [email protected].


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Everyone struggles with complacency at some point. There’s a reason why doing hard things is… hard.

    I don’t know if I’m really qualified to give advice, and I hope this doesn’t sound preachyโ€”because I’m not always good at sticking with things either.

    Pick something you think sounds interesting. This could be drawing, drama, music, knitting. Or volunteering somewhere, learning physics, etc.

    Then make a set time of day where you focus on just doing this one thing. Always do it at this time, and never let yourself make excuses for stopping early. (Obviously there will be a few exceptions.) Talk to your parents or a friend and ask them to keep you accountable.

    A class could help as well.

    Another thing that you might be interested in is Teen Pact.
    I don’t know if it would work for you, but last year it really pushed me out of my comfort zone and taught me a lot. It’s message really ties into Do Hard Things and the Rebelution.

  • This makes me think of, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

    Did you know that to learn a skill and be quite good at it, you only need to practice for about one month, every day, for 30-45 minutes. Just throwing that out there.

    You’re probably satisfied with your life because you have no Idea how awsome your life would look like if you stretched out some more.

    And maybe music and drama just isn’t your thing, there I said it, what if you’re supposed to do something else? Maybe you should focus more on the “small” hard things until you find your true passion. Maybe God wants to see how faithful you can be in the small things before he sends some big thing your way. Maybe God wants you to do “small” (they aren’t actually small in a lot of cases) hard things for your whole life (that’s the one that scares some people). Maybe your entire purpose in this world is to raise kids to serve God that become Pastors, Missionaries, or Evangelists. And remember, “God is always doing a thousand things in every one thing He does.” – Mr. Harris

  • I understand how you feel! I’m not the most disciplined person and being homeschooled sometime lets me get away with it. I’m ashamed to admit this, but every year in high school I finished at least one course behind schedule simply for lack of discipline. SO the key to this is to find someone who won’t let you back out when the going gets tough. Call it an “accountability partner” if you will, but it needs to be someone who loves you enough to make you stick it out. Try not to be ashamed to ask; it is a sign of strength to know your weaknesses and take action to fix them. Best wishes and God bless!

    • I’m so glad, as a homeschooled student, I’m not the only one who feels like this! It’s almost like we have to work harder at discipline, because there’s no bus deadline in the morning, no strict test turn-in times (at least for the most part), and sometimes I go on into the summer indefinitely just to finish the semester. I’ve struggled with this a lot, sometimes to the point where I get depressed. Yes, an accountability partner would be helpful. Anyway, it’s good to know I’m not the only one.

      • What you said about having to work harder at discipline–I really get that. And the depression and working into the summer. But it just occurred to me that maybe, as difficult as it can be, it’s a blessing in disguise. A chance to learn to take charge of our own time at a young age. Even if we mess up, it’s a learning process. Does that make any sense? My brain’s kinda jumbled right now. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • Yes you make perfect sense :). And you’re right, I haven’t really thought about it from that angle before. Yep, being homeschooled is a great teacher of responsibility. Thanks for your input. It made me think :).

          • Yeah, I’m one of those who normally pushes myself to do things well and early, but I got behind on science this year, so this conversation (along with Blimey Cow!) is what I needed to see.

          • Oh yes, you have to see Blimey Cow! I’d suggest “What Jesus Should Have Said, Instead” (this video is not to be taken at face value! It is built on sarcasm!) “How to Write a Worship Song in 5 Minutes or Less” and “Ten Ways to Get the Right Guy to Like You” .
            Have fun and God bless you!

        • You know, for a while I was bitter about being homeschooled, partly for that reason and partly for others…but just recently I’m really starting to see it more as a blessing. I guess I just didn’t like being put in the “homeschooled” box (stereotypes really frustrate me, we’re not all awkward, sheltered hillbillies :)), and sometimes being homeschooled is just plain lonely. But, again, you’re right, I’m really blessed to have this unique learning experience. Every day I get filled with the Word of God, which wouldn’t be happening in a public school. I get to pursue what interests me and be flexible with my time. And I get to really know my siblings and pursue meaningful relationships with them. So yes, being homeschooled is a blessing. Plus, (this is random) watching BlimeyCow’s take on homeschooling makes me really happy :).

          • *gasp* A fellow Blimey Cow fan? Hurrah!!!
            Anyway, haha, I really understand everything you talked about. There are downsides to home schooling–nothing’s perfect. But for me, thankfully, the pros have always outweighed the cons. I’m so glad you’re starting to see it as a blessing!
            And response to your other comment, hooray! Glad to know it made sense.
            And one more thing… BLIMEY COW!!! I applaud you for your incredible taste!

          • Oh, the joy!!! I’ve never met anyone who even knew what Blimey Cow is before, so I’m really psyched right now! But I guess I should have known that some of my fellow Rebelutionaries would also be Blimey Cow fans. =)

          • Hey Cara, I’ll reply to your comment as soon as I finish my happy dance.

            I’m back =D oh, and I’m running out of adjectives to describe how happy I am!!!

          • Like YES!!! ๐Ÿ˜€ Bless you for being random, Riley. You and all of the other lovely Blimey Cow fans here have made my day! =)
            Have you ever seen Say Goodnight Kevin?

          • Nope, but I’m gonna go watch it right now! ๐Ÿ™‚ Blaming all of you guys for getting me stuck on YouTube vids….and btw, you’re so welcome for the random ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • Ohhh, now I know who he is. Hmmmmmmm…hate to break it to you, not sure I’m diggin’ it (bracing myself)….I mean, it’s just not the same as BlimeyCow ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Lol, I totally understand. He is pretty different from Blimey Cow. And a couple of his videos are kind of meh… But for the most part I’ll laugh over one video for an entire week! ๐Ÿ™‚ Literally.
            Ah well, here’s to different tastes! We can still be Blimey Cow fanatics together. =)

          • Can I recommend Kid Snippets?? Haha, we could do this all day :). It’s grown men with kids’ voices, acting out a story told by kids. Some of them are just so so, but others really make me laugh.

          • Kid Snippets… I think I saw a few of their vids. Are they clean? Wish I didn’t have to ask. I sound so homeschoolerish ;(

          • Yes, very clean :). Kids wrote the vidoes, and the guys (the kids’ dads) seem like nice people.

          • Thanks. I figured it was, coming from this site, but needed to make sure. BTW, did you catch the Blimey Cow reference with the “;(” ?
            I mean, people could be recommending Veggietales, or they could be recommending Star Trek (which is OK, depending on the season, but not really clean).

          • Lol yes. The “winky frowny face”. Hahaha. But you have to do it with a smirk, or it doesn’t work ;(

          • Thanks! Yeah, I surfed through their videos on YouTube right after I posted that comment and found it pretty quickly.
            Quick question: do you like Messy Mondays or Jordan’s Messyges (tomorrow, yay!!) better?

          • In general I like Messy Mondays better, but some of the questions/answers in Jordans Messyges are hilarious too!

          • I used to be the same, but lately I’m crazy about Messyges! I just love how laid back (and un-scripted!) it is. I feel like it’s really Jordan, as opposed to just a role he’s playing. Which isn’t to say that I don’t love Messy Mondays, because I do!

          • You know, now that I look at it, I like the old Messy Mondays better, and if I have a choice between the newer Messy Mondays and Jordans Messyges, I’ll choose Jordans Messyges… the old Messy Mondays seemed fresher somehow. (and I didn’t change my opinion to match yours :))

          • You stole my opinion!! Now I don’t know what to think! Haha ๐Ÿ™‚
            In some ways I agree. At times it feels like they’re running out of ideas for Messy Mondays, but then the very next week they’ll come out with a super awesome episode! I think they’re purposely trying to confuse me, lol. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • Really! I saw it months after most people did, because I only recently discovered Blimey Cow.

          • Yes, recommendations! I just watched one, I like it!! Are they faking kid voices or are they lip syncing with real kids’ voices?

          • Lip syncing. The kids write the stories before hand and narrate it. You have to see the good ones. Try, “Food Allergies”, “Driver’s Test”, and “Thanksgiving: Kid History”.

          • I declare you: awesome!!! If I thought finding fellow Blimey Cow fans was hard, finding SGK fans is ten times as hard! But as he says, BC is more “mainstream”. To be honest, I don’t know whose Black Friday video I liked better. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Probably his!
            What are your favorite episodes?
            And they had a cross-over for Messy Mondays this week! Hooray for Kevin on Blimey Cow!!

          • Oooo, I don’t know! Actually, the “How to get a girlfriend (according to the movies)” video is probably my fave. No wait, maybe “How to get an ex-girlfriend.” Or, “Why I hate spelling.” Or maybe…. ๐Ÿ˜›
            I know! It’s so cool how they’re friends…. and I love it when Kevin wears his BC t-shirt on SGK. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Haha, it’s hard to decide, isn’t it? Those are good choices! (Sports!! Lol)
            Yes!!! My two favorite YouTubers are friends… That’s like, wow!! And I love how Kevin almost always replies to comments. It’s so awesome!

          • Yeah, I’ve seen Goodnight Kevin, but I didn’t really get him… maybe I just got the not-so-good episodes. Which ones would you suggest I watch to win me over?

          • Ah, the pressure! My favorite is 5 Things I Hate To Do But Do Anyway (Water Edition). I also like Clichรฉ Video Clichรฉs and 5 Tips For Black Friday. Nostalgia Christian: Left Behind, is super awesome but it’s also half an hour long, so you’d have to be pretty committed to give that a try!

          • Blimey Cow rocks!! I was just watching an episode 20 minutes ago, lol. I agree, Blimey Cow is for those with *exceptionally* incredible taste. ๐Ÿ˜€
            What’s your favorite episode? My favorite is the one where they list 20 words that are misused and abused. It’s just pretty awesome.

          • My fav is @How to Write a Worship Song (In 5 Minutes or Less).” Althoughfor the bloopers alone, “How to Tell Someone You are NOT Interested” is a close second.

          • The best bloopers are where one or two people are really slaphappy and randomly start laughing, and then everyone else gets mad and starts laughing too, and it goes on and on…

          • You forget a lot of the other videos and choose one that you watched recently. I’m remembering others that I lone as I type ๐Ÿ™‚

          • If I have to choose one favorite of something, I usually just think of the one I can remember off the top of my head that I really liked, and go with that. Then I try to stop thinking about it so I don’t second-guess myself. lol.

          • That’s what I did, and now I’m thinking of so many that are on equal footing with Worship Song (though that one has a special place in my heart because it’s the one that really introduced me to Blimey Cow).

          • I know what you mean! I either watched that one first or 10 things you should never say to a girl. Both of those are special to me. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Good idea, but I don’t think that would work for me. If I do it fast enough I might not second guess myself right then, but I would for the next few days!! Glad to know I’m not the only one who has a hard time deciding. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • Awesome! Right, I forgot to say “exceptionally”. But it was understood. ๐Ÿ˜‰
            That’s a good one! Oh… I really don’t know, there are so many! I really like (I might be getting the titles wrong) Six Awkward Situations For Shy People (partly because I can so relate and partly because of the dancing thing–hilarious!!!), 5 Reasons I Hate Blimey Cow (lol, the irony), 10 Things You Should Never Say To A Girl (one of the first ones I watched, and it’s still a favorite).
            I should stop now, but I–I can’t help it! How To Write A Worship Song In Five Minutes Or Less, Ten Kids You Meet At Every Youth Group…

            Yes, I’m addicted. What do you think of Messyges?

          • 10 Things You Should Never Say to a Girl!!!! Oh my goodness!!!!! I love that one! ๐Ÿ˜€
            The One About Bad Words (especially the bloopers), #YOLO, 15 Ways Movies Think You Are Stupid, How To Not Creep Out Girls, Seven Things that Happen When Something Goes Viral…. there are just so many awesome ones!
            I love Messyges! Especially the ones where he prank calls Kelli, and he gets a messyge from that guy with 3 girlfriends…

          • It’s really hard to stop isn’t it?! ๐Ÿ™‚ lol, I remember those. One of the reasons I like Messyges is because Jordan laughs so much (kind of like the bloopers!). His laugh makes me smile. =)

          • Maybe we’ll never stop! Mwahahaha…

            Seriously though, it was kind of quieting down (much to my disappointment) when Ruthie jumped in. Hooray! Since you’re here anyway, what’s your favorite episode(s)? ๐Ÿ˜€

          • I haven’t seen all of them, but probably “Six Awkward Situations for Shy People”, “You Might Be A Homeschooler If…” series, “#YOLO” and all the ones about youth group :).

          • Nice! That how to dance thing in Awkward Situations for Shy People may be my favorite scene in Blimey Cow history. I don’t know why but I just find it ridiculously hilarious! And the Homeschooler series is classic. Except I don’t watch Dr. Who, lol. But neither does Jordan apparently so it’s all good. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • I like Messyges, esp the one where he names the Cowmoonity and the one that has all the #’s.

          • I have a hard time remembering specific Messyges. They all just start to blur together, if you know what I mean… But I enjoy the blur. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Hate to say this to you all, but I’m really not a huge Blimey Cow fan…they do have some funny stuff, though.

          • Haha, waita to spoil the party Steelers Fan…But it’s okay, we forgive you ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Lol thanks. I live in Cleveland so Browns fans hate me all the time for raining on their parade!

          • Hahaha…Cleveland – that’s like only four hours from where I live! ๐Ÿ™‚ But I gotta say, if I’m cheerin’ for any football team, it’s gonna be the Colts.

          • Hey that’s cool! Just don’t get any closer to Cleveland, it’s a poor, broke, liberal city. Yea Colts have a rough playoff game against the Broncos this weekend…

          • You know you’re on a conservative website when someone says, “It’s a poor, broke, LIBERAL city” when they’re saying you don’t want to go there.

          • Hmmmmm, okay…”poor, broke, liberal”…I think I’ll stick with Indy :). Hey yeah, but it’s not like I’m crazy about football. I mean, I won’t be changing my name to “Colts Fan” anytime soon =P

          • Wow you’ve summed up what I feel about homeschool perfectly… Like everything you said was exactly spot on. I sometimes feel like I’m being sheltered and that I’m not socializing enough and that I’m not having enough “experiences.” But your right, it’s only as good or bad as you want it to be. It’s up to you to decide rather you want to see it as a blessing or as a curse. It’s up to us to decide. Your words are really encouraging!
            P.S. Yes Blimey Cow is awesome!

          • Believe it or not, I actually teared up over this…I’m so glad you found it encouraging! I’m also very encouraged to know I’m not alone. You know, I’ve always struggled with feeling like a misfit…I never really meshed with the co-op kids, but I also don’t blend easily with my public schooled friends because their lifestyles are so different from mine. I’ve never really had that “group” where I feel like I belong. But there is a place where I belong! I am a member of God’s family, chosen in him before the creation of the world. At the end of the day, all of us are the same – we all need the love of Jesus. We’re not defined by our schooling, or by whether or not we’re sheltered or socialized. We’re defined by what God says about us. That really gives me the strength and the right outlook to move forward. I love Philippians 4:12! Thank you for quoting it…and the end of that phrase says, “I can do everything, through Him who gives me strength.” All of us are nothing without Jesus.

            Hahaha! Join the BlimeyCow club ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • Your right, I really appreciate your words! I don’t really have much more to add, but I will say that if we wait for acceptance by people, we will only find rejection. What’s important is that we have a firm foundation in God. I know now that I need to keep a good attitude because looking back on alot of my previous moments of unhappiness, they look insignificant and small now. Really the best moment is the present, which incoincidentally, is right now. :3

          • Yep, the only true acceptance we’ll ever find is in God :). “Really the best moment is the present, which incoincidentally, is right now”….wow, that’s deep!
            I guess all that’s left to be said is…”Stay tuned for bloopers!!”

    • Yup, that’s me. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing that! I have a hard time admitting it too. I guess if we took the chance of opening up about the things we struggle with, we’d quickly realize we aren’t the only ones. God bless! =)

  • I agree with Steelers Fan, being homeschooled and a lack of discipline always gets me. And like you said, I’m almost content for it to be this way because I really dont like school. And its a huge struggle, because I know I need to give it my all for Gods glory. But school isnt something I can back out of really. I mean sure I’ll get behind, but eventually I’ll have to get it done. Other things are different. I love the idea of learning a new instrument, but almost every time there is a certain point that gets extremely hard and all the sudden it isnt fun anymore. Actually ive been tempted to quit quite a few times, but my Mom usually makes me stick with it. While I wasnt the happiest at the time, I’m so glad she did! Playing the piano is so enjoyable now that Ive gotten over the really hard part. The more I practiced, the more I learned, and the more I was able to play songs that actually interested me. Sometimes it takes a while of not enjoying something so that one day you can enjoy it and actually have fun. I understand if music isnt your thing, but I think this could apply to other things as well.

  • Well, it seems that you are having a hard time finding anything about yourself that sets you apart. I dealt with this too. It isn’t a bad thing if you aren’t cut out for things like music or drama. However, if quitting too soon is your issue, then you’ll need to let God help you in finishing what you start. Spend some time praying and talking to your parents, asking them about getting you into things that interest you and might have the potential to interest you. And when you do find something that you’re good at, it’s ok to pat yourself on the back a little bit. Not in an arrogant way, but in a way to build your self-esteem. Hope you find something and I hope this helps.

  • push yourself. I know this advice sucks but just hear me out. I play multiple instruments but at times I wanted to quit but now I can play guitar, piano and cello fluently. All because I pushed myself to keep on. I will pray for you clare but don’t quit just because it got hard. You need to pray for help from God I truly believe if you pray He will help you.

          • Haha, like a music blog or something! Nope, Ive messed around with it, but I think i’ll just stick with cello! I have to say though electric violins are awesome.

          • Anyone here on G+? We could always start a community. ๐Ÿ™‚

            And I think we should migrate over to another comment section or something. I don’t want to spam this page with irrelevant comments… :/

          • Hey Laura,
            I wish I could PM you this on Revive, but yeah. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hopefully this is out-of-the-way enough.
            I wanted to tell you I’m sorry. I haven’t loved you as my sister in Christ the way I should. For the past several months, you have unwittingly hurt me, and I have been ever-so-slightly bitter about it. And I haven’t forgiven you properly and shown you the kind of love that Christ has shown to me, despite all the stuff in my own life. So I’m apologizing for the way I haven’t loved you as I should. You’re my sister, and I haven’t treated you with the same love that Christ does. I see how I’ve been wrong for this long, and I’m asking you to forgive me. I am truly seeing you as my sister in Christ now, and I love you as a fellow child of God.

          • Hi Lauren,
            I completely forgive you. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m sorry for hurting you these past months; that is the last thing I would want to do. May I ask what I did? I don’t want to do it again…
            Thank you for apologizing, most people wouldn’t do that.

          • Hey,
            Thank you so much. I’d rather not say, but it doesn’t matter anymore. I’ve moved on and it wasn’t anything very serious. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for forgiving me.

          • I’ll start a quick blog – it won’t be anything fancy but we can chat on there instead. Hold on: okay, – will that work? @disqus_qiwTGfQI5P:disqus @mimeforjesus:disqus @disqus_XM5QHF0vAP:disqus

          • @Kittenese:disqus@mimeforjesus:disqus@disqus_qiwTGfQI5P:disqus@disqus_XM5QHF0vAP:disqus@disqus_3p7X18dtnA:disqus@disqus_pWIgMpvFrR:disqus

          • And if you get in, can I get in because I play piano? I also have worked with my voice enough that it counts as an instrument itself, so I play two instruments ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • Same here! I’m a pianist, vocalist, “failed” (perhaps I’ll remedy that at some later date) guitarist, and violinist-in-progress.

          • You play some cool instruments – always thought violin would be fun. Then of course piano and vocal are cool if only because I play them ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • It’s not just you, they’re cool. ๐Ÿ˜‰ and I’m not biased in any way whatsoever! Yeah, I’d love to play violin, but I could barely call what I can do at this point actually playing it. I’m not too good at the whole self-taught thing.

          • I’ve played piano for 12 years and guitar for 6 years. I know that’s only two instruments but is that enough to get in?

          • I only play voice (that sounds really weird!) and piano, so if I’m in you’re in ๐Ÿ™‚ And I haven’t played nearly as long – kind of always goofed around on the piano and took lessons from my very talented sister when she started giving lessons so officially I’ve played for about 4 or 5 years. For voice, I don’t know when I started learning. Anyway, you’re way more experienced than me so welcome!

  • Clare, I can really relate to you. For most of my life I’ve felt like a quitter. I’ve always found it hard to face challenges and overcome doubt in myself. And yes, I quit piano after five years of practice because it got too hard. I quit playing the cello because it got too hard. At one point I quit my youth group and my co-op because it got too hard. So I feel you.

    But let me just say that God has really worked in and transformed my life in the past year. I was once dominated by fear and doubt, now I’m living much more confidently. Why? Because I found my identity in Christ. I read the book “The Search for Significance: Student Edition” by Robert S. McGee and it changed my life. Right now I’m reading “My Identity in Christ” by Neil T. Anderson, and it is continuing to open my eyes to truth. I know you might be wondering how this relates to your question. Well, I’ve learned to believe that no person can consistently behave in a way that is inconsistent with how he perceives himself. If you continually tell yourself that you are a quitter, you will start to behave like a quitter. But if you start to believe the truth of who you are in Christ, you will start to behave like a new creation, and because “you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength” (Phil. 4:13), you can take on challenges, and jump into risk, and do hard things…and succeed!

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m still learning A TON in this area. Every day I struggle with complacency. But ultimately Jesus is where we find our strength. And if you ever get the chance, check out those books!

    Bought with a Price,


    • “No person can consistently behave in a way that is inconsistent with how he perceives himself.”
      Yes!! And the best way to perceive yourself is the same way God sees you, because He sees you with perfect eyes.

      • That quote actually came from one of the books I listed above, “My Identity in Christ”. I really can’t describe how much that fact is changing my life! Knowing my identity through Jesus makes all the difference. It’s so exciting to finally know these truths :). I wish all Christians could grasp this, it’s amazing how freeing it is.

        • ๐Ÿ™‚ These sound like really great books you are reading!
          Truly understanding and embracing where your identity lies really does change everything!! It makes me happy to see someone else so free and joyful from knowing that truth. I learned that lesson myself over the past couple years, but I definitely went about it the hard way! ๐Ÿ™‚ I also wish more people grasped this truth, but that is part of our mission field now. We can take truth to those people and tell them what God has done in our lives! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • “If you continually tell yourself that you are a quitter, you will start to behave like a quitter. But if you start to believe the truth of who you are in Christ, you will start to behave like a new creation,”

      Wow. My mom just said this to me a few days ago and I blew it off. This is exactly what I do. When I fail (which is often), I beat myself up and tell myself that I’m a failure in hopes that punishing myself will motivate me to do better. Needless to say, it doesn’t work. I want to change, but I never seem to have quite enough desire for change to actually get me off the couch.

      So does this mean that you should try to say and believe that you are what you want to be, even if that isn’t what you are yet, and that believing that is what you are will help you actually become that?

      • Hi Christina,
        I totally understand where you’re coming from. I too struggle with the tendency to beat myself up when I fail and make myself feel guilty in order to change. But you’re right, telling yourself you’re a failure doesn’t get you anywhere. However, there is freedom to be had! Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite talking like this because I continue to struggle with my thought life so much. It’s a constant battle.

        Think about it like this: if you BELIEVE there’s a burglar in the house, you’ll FEEL like there’s a burglar in the house – muscles tensed, alert, pulse climbing. Likewise, if you believe you’re a loser, you’ll feel like a loser – you’ll hesitate to do new things, you’ll consider yourself worthless, you’ll sit by yourself, you’ll degrade yourself and your performance…etc. So why do we believe we’re losers in the first place? Well, it is like a pattern that’s been ingrained into your mind over the years – by your experiences, by past failures, by your peers, by what other people have told you, or by a vast number of other things. But let me make the point that most of what you are believing about yourself being a hopeless failure does NOT align with Scripture. The Bible says that you are a new creation, you have died to the flesh, you have been completely forgiven, and you have been given newness of life. The truth alone is what sets us free (“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:22) So the question is: how do we get rid of the lies and “reprogram” our minds?

        Well, it consists of constantly telling yourself the truth that is in Scripture – because it IS true, whether you feel it or not. It’s not easy, it’s hard! The old thought patterns that have been ingrained into your mind will continue to manifest themselves in your behavior and your emotions. BUT (and this is important) your emotions DO NOT determine your identity. Birth determines identity, and if you have trusted Christ, you have been reborn. Nowhere in Scripture are we promised that we will feel a certain way. If you wait to feel like a new creation, you will never know true freedom. You have to choose to believe the truth found in the Bible about who you are in Christ, before you feel. The feelings may follow eventually, but what does it really matter, if (even regardless of whether you believe it or not) what is true is already true?

        While feelings are fickle, I promise that if you consistently fill your mind with truth – even saying it out loud, you will see change. Try starting with with these simple truths: I am a child of God (John 1:12), I am free from condemnation (Romans 8:1,2), I am God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), I have been redeemed and forgiven and forgiven of all my sins (Colossians 1:14). And even read “Who I Am In Christ” by Neil T. Anderson.

        I hope some, or any, of this made sense. Most of what I said is just what I’ve learned from personal experience and from Christian books I’ve read ( and from the Bible :)).

        • Thank you. You have no idea how perfect your timing was. And thanks for the fresh dose of truth. I needed that.

  • Hi Clare,

    I’m sure all of us can relate to where you are. It may seem like an obvious thing (I know it’s already been mentioned a few times), but prayer is absolutely crucial here. Pray for (1) things to passionate about. It’s easier to stick to something difficult if you love it! So pursue your interests and ask God to help you discover new things. Also pray for (2) perseverance. Everything becomes difficult at some point or another, and a lot of times, we don’t have what it takes to keep going on our own. And don’t forget to ask others to pray for you! The idea of an accountability partner is also really good.

    Remember to look at the big picture. When you’re facing the sometimes tedious and frustrating task of learning something new, don’t let yourself get bogged down in present difficulties. Remind yourself how awesome it will be if you stick with it! Learning a new thing is an amazing experience, if we go about it with the right attitude. And when you one day get really good at something, you’ll look back and be grateful for the time and effort you put into it.

    Also, give yourself a schedule. If you need to practice something, unless you are already motivated to do it, don’t just tell yourself. “I’ll get around to it at some point.” Give yourself a time to work on it and commit yourself to following that schedule!

    As far as you being satisfied with where you are in life, it actually sounds like you’re in a good place. You’re content with who you are and what your life is like, but at the same time you (apparently) have a desire to push yourself to be more. Pray (again!) for God to increase that desire! Beyond that, I would just suggest that you start making habit of doing everything to the best of your ability, no matter how big or small it is. Give everything your best; make that a part of who you are. If you start doing that in the little things, it will take hold when you tackle the “big” things too.

    Sorry, that was super long! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll be praying for you, Clare!

  • Just the fact that you realize you have a problem with complacency is a good sign. People who have problems, but don’t realize they have problems can’t fix their problems. Finding a weakness and determining to overcome it is half the battle. Like someone else already said maybe music isn’t your thing. That’s ok. Find something that you do enjoy and work really hard at that thing. Don’t let it get in the way of your church or school, though. Maybe it can be something related to church or school. I have a lot of hobbies but the one I probably push myself at the most is music. But I also enjoy sports (especially Baseball), writing, and lots of other activities.

    • Yes yes yes! I say this to my friends who are struggling with their faults (and my parents say it to me) all the time – just recognising and wanting to fix your faults is a fantastic first step!

  • Did you know that your comfort zone is like your muscles? When you don’t exercise your muscles they get kinda tight. In order to make them less stiff, you have to exercise and stretch and stuff. You don’t do your stretching exercises once and suddenly have a gymnastic range of movement. You have to repeat them again and again and it’s uncomfortable every time but after a while, without really noticing, you can do so much more than before.

    Your comfort zone is the same. The more you push at the boundaries and even step over them, it’ll gradually become bigger. There are things that I thought were terrifying only a few years ago but as I gradually came out of my comfort zone, I discovered that actually they were difficult, yes, but they weren’t as bad as I thought they’d be. They’re hard but they’re not scary anymore. Sometimes you have to take it slow. It depends on your personality. But try not to look at the end result if it’s too daunting at first. Look at the next step and take it then look at the next one and take it and keep going like that and eventually you’ll get there.

    One of the famous british preachers was told by his dad that him and his brother had to move a whole cart full of sacks of potatoes (there were a few hundred) and his brother looked at the enormous task and said ‘How are we supposed to do that?!’ and the guy looked at it thoughfully then replied ‘one sack at a time.’

    I think from reading your question that maybe you just haven’t found your thing yet. That can take time too. It’s ok to try stuff and decide it’s not for you, as long as you settle on something that is and don’t just flit about. There will be something. There’s no one that doesn’t have a thing. Just sit down and have a good think about it. Then do it one sack at a time.

    And there will be days when no matter how much you love what you do, you can’t be bothered and on those days you just have to do it. Make yourself. Find your thing and stick at it and don’t be worried if it’s hard at times. You tend to value the things you work for more than the things that you don’t. But in the end, when the impossible turns out to be more possible than it first seemed, remember to thank God for the strength to move all those potatoes.

  • Stick with it!

    I’ve heard so many people say that they wished they had continued *insert whatever action here* but they quit when they were allowed to or when they had had enough. Those who did stick with it said that they were so glad they did. And I, unfortunately, am in both categories. I gave up on some things, continued on with the others.

    I can say now that I’m glad I continued on, even though I wanted to quit, I begged to quit, I hated it.

    I’m not trying to make you feel guilty or anything but I just wanted to let you know, as others have here, that once you get past the hard part, you’ll feel like you can conquer the world (although I wouldn’t try that one just yet!)! ๐Ÿ™‚ Then you’ll know you can do other things that seemed impossible before.

    Sometimes even now, I feel like not going through with something I started on my own. But then I think of what the instrument will sound like or what the language will sound like once I push through and that helps me motivate myself. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think we all need motivation sometimes. I found it helps me if I go on YouTube or something and find videos of kids who are younger than me who are better at whatever activity I’m trying to get better at. I watch a couple of videos of them and today when I did that, I was inspired and went to go practice.

    Believe me when I say I do not have this down yet. I still procrastinate…in fact, I have driver’s manuals sitting on my desk next to me that I need to study for my driver’s test…so, with that, I will say goodbye and press on!

  • What helped me is that God revealed to me my passion for music. And that passion drives me to work hard at perfecting my musical abilities, which includes performing for churches, friends, family, etc. (something I’m usually pretty nervous about). So what might help you is finding a way to do hard things that help you grow in the area of life God wants you to focus on.

  • Start doing something now, and don’t quit – even if it’s something not that useful, still train yourself. Try reading your Bible through this year. That will (of course) give you lots of good advice as well as training you to be consistent. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Yeah, that makes sense. I like the idea actually; so many times I want to try something new, but it seems like there’s nothing I can do myself without putting stress on the family’s time (mostly if they had to drive me somewhere). Then there’s also the possibility of failing when everyone knows what you’re trying to do. So all in all, I’m probably going to take you up on your suggestion to read through my Bible this year.
        Thank you Josh!

  • Remember, “small does not mean easy.” (quote from either Start Here or Do Hard Things). Just because you don’t play an instrument or compete in the Olympics doesn’t mean you aren’t working hard. Maybe you are like me. I would usually rather put on a concert than phone someone… What other people think is hard might actually be easy, and vice versa.
    Comfort zones grow like our bodies do. You can’t feel it, you don’t see it, but you look back and realise it happened.
    “Whatever your hands find to do, do it as unto the Lord”

  • First off, don’t beat yourself up because you haven’t stepped out of your comfort zone yet. It takes a lot of courage! The fact that you even looked towards these activities is a good step.
    Second, just because something is hard, doesn’t mean you have to do it. I’m not saying to make your whole life easy, but I would never sign up for every advanced class in school. It would kill me!
    You will find your hard thing eventually. Don’t worry. I assure you, the message of “do hard things” is not to do everything, but to start out with one thing. Then work up from there.
    Try taking an activity you already do every day to the next level. Try striving for a new standard of excellence in your schoolwork, clean your room more often, or help around the house more! Sometimes the best hard things can be the ones on the home front.

  • This is something you just have to push through at first, but it gets easier. I used to be terribly unmotivated, but now I love learning new skills and accomplishing my goals. Goals are like mountains: they are big, scary, and exhausting to climb. But the bigger the mountain, the higher you go and the better the view is from the top. If you set your goals high and set your mind to accomplishing them, you won’t regret it. Just stop worrying about how hard your goal is to accomplish and keep your mind set on how you will feel when you finally reach it! My second piece of advice is to seek to glorify God in all the goals you set. If your overall goal is to please God and conform to His will, then you’re running in the right direction.

  • Clare, I know how you feel. I’ve been there too…and it’s a rotten place to be. When you lack the drive and commitment to finish what you start, your life can get full of half accomplishments and failures. I was one of those kids who could get by with doing less than my best, and now I wish I had tried harder, but wishing doesn’t help anything. It only makes me depressed, and when you’re depressed you sink even deeper into your feeling of mediocrity. What I’ve discovered, is that the main reason I didn’t finish things or try hard enough was because I did those things for me, or for someone else. The problem was that that wasn’t enough motivation. Then I started doing things for Jesus, and that made all the difference in the world. It was worth it. The truth is, no matter how good the thing is that you’re trying to accomplish, if you’re not doing it for the right reasons, it’s going to be pretty near impossible. If you love Jesus, and it’s something He desires you to do, you’ll do it…and the more you do things out of love for Him, the more you will love Him because you are contributing to the relationship, and the more you love Him, the more you will love others. The toughest part for me is valuing doing the right thing, over doing what is comfortable or convenient for me. Now don’t get me wrong, I still fail sometimes. I’m lazy, I admit it! But once you start overcoming obstacles, you won’t want to stop, because that feeling of accomplishment won’t just be new, it will be worth it too. Satan is trying to keep you from doing anything good, because he is afraid of you. He is afraid of what you are capable of with Christ, and wants to keep you dormant, immobile. Whatever it is you want to do, pray about it, and seek God’s will. If it’s His will for you, He will help you to do it if you ask Him. Just remember that you don’t have to overcome the world. Jesus has already done that for us, so we can face it without fear.

    • This is very encouraging, thanks. I want to do things for Jesus, but I’m having trouble getting motivated even to do simple things, like wake up early and read my bible, or pray more often. I sort of feel guilty, like I don’t love him enough. Any help would be appreciated! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • If your house was on fire… Totally burning down… And you were inside… What would you do?
        Answer: Get out at all cost!!
        What if you woke up to that scenario and your brothers and sisters were asleep? And you had time to wake them? How fast would you run? How loud would you yell?
        Answer: As fast and as loud as you could!!
        The problem is… You don’t understand your level of responsibility. Or the importance of your God given ability. You know! The stuff God does through you after you step out in faith to obey His word…. People are spiritually dying all around you! Jesus Christ died for you! And empowered you with the power that raised Him from the dead. So you CAN serve Him… Go! Tell! Fulfill your obligation. Live a life worthy of your high calling. You CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens you!

        • Thank you! I’ve been reading about preaching the gospel to myself, and I think that will help alot, because I know what to do, I know how to do it, so I just need to remind myself or what my responsibility is, what a privilege it is to serve the Lord, and then serve!

      • Me too, Jolene! Sometimes it’s the simple things that are the hardest, especially if your habits are irregular like mine. (I think I’m sensing a kindred spirit;) Instead of feeling guilty about not doing enough, (I can never do enough! In fact, I’m not entirely sure what “enough” is!) I try to channel that into showing my love for Jesus by doing things He loves me to do. Guilt separates me from Jesus.

        Like if I am writing to a pen pal (not speaking from personal experience or anything;) and I wait a little too long before I write back. (In my own estimation, that is) The guiltier I feel, the harder it is to write that letter, the busier I get, and the more I find myself procrastinating. If I see my friend I’m embarrassed for my negligence, and then I feel even WORSE. All that time I miss receiving letters from my friend, but I’m just too guilty to do anything about it. I need to focus on being a good friend, rather than a good pen pal, just like I need to focus on being a good friend, rather than a good Christian. I have to let go of guilt, to let love draw me back to Jesus.

        Maybe you could try thinking of your Bible as the letter Jesus sent you, and your prayers as your reply. I generally pray whenever I have something on my mind, sending lots of little messages (mostly thanking Him for stuff:) throughout the day, (prayer doesn’t have to be formal) but then I try to take the time at least once in the day to sit down, (maybe even write down requests, sometimes the whole prayer) and pray my letter. Find a way to pray that is comfortable to you, and makes it easy to say what’s in your heart. I read my Bible when I seek wisdom and guidance, to study, or even when I just want to get to know my Lord better. I don’t set specific times, or always plan what I will read, I just do it.

        For a time, guilt kept me from growing close to my Savior. Don’t let it hold you back Jolene:)

        • (Funny, “I think I’m sensing a kindred spirit” is almost exactly what I was thinking when I saw your comment! ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks a lot!

          I think alot of the guilt comes from me trying to do it @ a particular time. Ideally, I would wake up really early every day, and start reading my Bible, then pray, etc. Well, when I don’t wake up (which is most of the time) I feel guilty for not starting my routine, and sort of try to avoid my Bible. When I do read it tho, I have no problem and I love to do it! I think I need to hold off on the morning routine, or change it to “whatever time I wake up, I’ll start reading my bible.” Another place the guilt comes from is me feeling like “if you really loved Jesus and wanted to do hard things and be a fabulous Christian, you could just get out of your comfort zone, even in a little way, like this. But you can’t/won’t/don’t.” I just have to remember that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ, so God isn’t going to get sick of me just b/c I don’t wake up early, and that I’m probably trying to change my habits a little too drastically to begin with. I want to do hard things so much that I start with something too big, and then get discouraged too easily.

  • Here’s another thought. (that isn’t quite so long) Say you are learning to play guitar (like me) and you’re still not very good at it. Don’t think about how you play it now, and don’t envision your goal as “I will know how to play guitar,” but imagine how you will play the guitar once you have mastered it. Imagine yourself playing in a way you never thought possible, and beautiful music flowing from your fingers. You might never achieve that level of skill, but if you reach for it, like the moon, you will come awfully close. Sometimes you won’t feel like practicing, you may think “I can’t play anything fun, only boring beginner’s stuff,” but if you ever want to play something that isn’t “boring beginner’s stuff,” you have to keep at it. Whenever you become bored or discouraged, remember that picture you drew in your mind. If the end is worth it to you, it won’t matter whether or not it is visible yet.

  • I know this sounds so cliche and I know you’ve probably heard this before… but, LIVE WITH THE END IN MIND! If you knew you had only a month to live, how would you spend that month? Write down a list of things you would want to do in that month… and START checking off your “to do” list TODAY!

    Don’t dwell on past failures and guilt from uncompleted projects… Start where you are. If you are a Christian, then pray! Let GOD know that you are ready for HIS chisel. He will sculpted and prune… and it might hurt at first, but the finished product will have been worth all the pain. There is a lot of work to be done in this world… Just because you haven’t found your niche yet, does’t mean you have to stop trying.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectationsโ€”a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More โ†’