rebelling against low expectations

The Real Reason You Aren’t Moving Forward


“Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.” — Matthew 14:22-23

He wasn’t coming.

I wonder if that’s when the fear first lodged in their throats.

I wonder if the sons of Zebedee exchanged nervous glances.

I wonder if Peter did what he always did and said what everyone else was thinking. “Lord, aren’t you coming?”

I wonder if Jesus gave them an answer as He walked along the shore. Maybe He just smiled in that way of His that John would always remember. It was the look that said, “I know what I’m doing, but you don’t have to.”

I wonder if an uneasy sense of doubt surfaced as they watched Him walk away.

I wonder if you’ve ever felt that way.

I wonder if there’s an area in your life right now where God has given you the tools and the instructions without telling you what He’s building. If He’s called you out of your comfort zone just far enough that you feel that little knot of dread in the pit of your stomach.

It’s not that romantic leap of faith that you thought it would be. It’s not anything you would even define as life-threatening or dangerous. So why does it keep you up at night?

Why are we so afraid to step out in faith?

We walk with Jesus every day. We read His words. We know He’s never left us before. And yet when He tells us to move we freeze, terrified to step out.

Every time we try, a thousand reasons not to loom in the distance like storm clouds on the horizons of Galilee, and deep inside the question flutters with our palpitating heart. “Lord, aren’t you coming?”

We are so afraid we’re alone in this. We’re so scared of the unknown ahead. And the first thing the Enemy will use against us is this fear:

He’s not with you. This is all your idea. You think this is what He told you to do, but you’re just hearing what you want to hear. God would never tell you to do this because ______________________.

Fill in that blank.

What lie has the enemy told you lately?

God would never tell you to do this because…

You’re not spiritual enough?

You’re not smart enough?

You’re not experienced enough?

You’re not old enough?

You’re not young enough?

You’re not attracitve enough?

You always mess things up?

You’ve failed so many times before?

The Enemy has all sorts of lies he likes to throw our way, but his first weapon of choice since the Garden of Eden has been, “Did God really say ?”

If he can convince us that we’re alone in this he knows the best of us will stop dead in our tracks. As well we should.

Just like Moses begged the Lord in Exodus 33, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.”

We know we can’t move without the Lord, but how many times does He have to tell us to do something before we actually do it?

Yes, there’s a time for all things. Yes, we should have faith like Gideon and put our fleeces out before the Lord. But there’s a time to wait, and there’s a time to sit the seat of our pants in that boat and cast off.

We serve the God that said, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9).

I don’t know about you, but I’m always wondering if the whithersoever really means whithersoever.

Anywhere? Really? Are you sure? What about over here? What about over there?

Have you ever read Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss?

Silly question. Of course you have. Sorry.

The other day I was worrying about God’s sovereignty in an area of my life when I started laughing at myself. My doubts and my worries sounded exactly like that irritating little imp of a Seuss character, Sam-I-Am.

God said, “I will be with you.”

And I’m like,

“Would You could You on a train?
Would You could You on a plane?
Would You could You in the park?
Would You could You in the dark?”

Everywhere I go I’m questioning whether or not He’s with me. It shouldn’t surprise me at this point, but God has no boundaries.

He never has to avoid foreign airspace. He never has to turn around. He never has to find another way.

That’s not to say He won’t turn us around, or redirect our path. But if God’s going somewhere, He’s going to go, and all those things He has in store for us are going to happen.

But we’ve got to get in that boat. We’ve got to believe that, even if we can’t see Him, He is with us.

So what is the reason we’re afraid to step out in faith?

We’re afraid He’s not coming.

But once we believe that He is truly with us, the scope of our future is beyond all imagining.

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17).

Whithersoever thou goest.

Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Section!

There are currently 17 Comment(s)

Photo courtesy of Lauren Rushing 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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  • So. True.

    Sam-i-am might as well have been named Haylie-i-am. (Well, now i sound like Yoda… :P) I question God too much. He has already said He will always be with me! Thank you for this reminder!

    • Hahaha! I love a good Yoda impression. 😉 The only reason I wrote this is because I need to be reminded of it every single day! <3

    • You’re so welcome! It’s something the Lord has been doing in my life lately. I’m so glad the Lord can use it in some else’s life!

    • Haha! You’re welcome. It would probably sound better if I referenced Lewis or Spurgeon, but Seuss was what came to mind! You’re welcome!

  • Well written Hannah, I have asked the Sam I Am guestions too! Only now I do it in regards to letting my young adult kids venture out…so good reminder for parents too.

    • Thank you so much! As a young adult I can’t tell you how much my parents’ prayers and concerns for me are always an encouragement. I’m so glad it touched you.

  • This is a great post Hannah! Thanks so much. I notice how much God wants us to just believe in Him and stop our worrying. It’s been a major focal point of my life with Him right now. Thanks for the reminders and encouragement!!

    • Thank you! I completely agree! Something the Lord has been showing me this week is that we never have to fear losing His presence. When Jesus was separated from His Father on the cross it was so we would never have to endure that loneliness. Thank YOU for the encouragement.

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post, Hannah! I so needed it. Reminds me of the Casting Crowns song “The Voice of Truth”.

    “Oh what I would do to have
    The kind of faith it takes to step out of this boat I’m in
    Into the crashing waves.
    To step out of my comfort zone
    Into the realm of the unknown
    Where Jesus is.
    And He’s holding out His hand.”

  • Hannah this is such a good reminder of how we do forget, but how God reminds us to trust him “No weapon formed against you shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17).
    Thank you for reminding me again …
    – His plan is always bigger than my view of the situation –

  • This is fantastic. (Love your writing and analogies, by the way!) I like how you distinguished that there is a time for waiting, and a time to get up and go! May we all get in the boat willingly every day to do whatever God asks…

    • Thank you so much! I’ve seen the Lord tell me both. Sometimes He tells me both in the same situation! It blesses me so much that there are other kids out there ready to get in the boat!

  • Can’t tell you all how much this blesses me! I’m sitting here in a coffee shop smiling ear-to-ear and tearing up occasionally at all your wonderful comments. The fact that God is using this in someone else’s life is such a confirmation that I’m doing exactly what He’s calling me to do.

  • Like everyone else has said, great article, Hannah!! I had to have a chuckle at the ‘Sam-I-Am’ stuff. So true, though, hey.

  • I’m no expert, but I would say to find God’s will it’s a good idea to 1) pray and fast, 2) study God’s word, 3) choose a few trusted, mature Christians who care about you to seek advice from. After that, if Satan tries to confuse you, just keep praying, reading the Bible, and confiding in Godly mentors. That way you’re keeping in close connection with God and the ones who will encourage you to do the right thing.
    Anyone else have thoughts?

  • Great article! I’m currently struggling with “GOD would never tell you to do this because… You’re not experienced enough!”

    Even though I’m a Rebelutionary, I still get caught up by doubt sometimes. Deep down I know that whithersoever I go, HE will be there… but, to be honest, sometimes it feels more comfortable to just keep on praying about the situation instead of acting on it.

    Thanks for the push to to get into my “boat”! I’m shoving off now! 😉

    • Elizabeth, I’m brought to sweet tears over your comment. I SO get that! That’s why I love this site! That’s why I love Do Hard Things, and Fabulous Life of a Teenager! Because we need each other. I cannot tell you how many times a day Satan comes at me with that one. I love Acts 4:13 “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” Even our inexperience proves to the broken world around us that we have been with Jesus!

      Shove off, my friend! May He call you
      “…to dare more boldly, to venture on wilder seas
      Where storms will show His mastery; Where losing sight of land,
      You shall find the stars.” ~Sir Francis Drake

      • Thanks so much for that encouraging verse and quote! I needed that! After reading and commenting on your article, I did “shove off” and am now sailing “uncharted waters.” But GOD be praised… He is with me! With every stroke of the oar, my eyes are focused on my Captain!

        • You’re welcome! So excited for you! It will be an adventure worth telling on the other side, and I can’t wait to hear it! God be with you, Fellow Sojourner.

  • Wow, wow, wow!! You just hit the nail right on the head. So often we are standing on the edge, afraid to move. We’ve got to just take the plunge and know that God never leaves us.

    You’re reminding me of the songs Oceans by Hillsong United and Just Might Change Your Life by Sidewalk Prophets.

    You live in Hawaii? Wow…have you ever seen a snowflake?

    • Thank you!!! I’m so amazed that this is hitting other people as much as it’s hitting me!
      I love the song Oceans. I hadn’t heard Just Might Change Your Life. So I looked it up…I Just Might have found my new favorite song! 😉
      Hahahaha! I was born in Southern Oregon and lived there until I was seven. So yes I’ve seen snow. Actually we have snow on the Big Island! It snows on Mauna Kea out beautiful mountain!

      • That’s what happens when you just write what God gives you and are willing to share it with others. Stuff happens. 🙂

        Yeah it’s a great song! Actually, if you aren’t familiar with the Sidewalk Prophets, you should listen to more of their stuff (I love You Can Have Me). They are an amazing band. I literally love every one of their songs.

        Ok good…just checking, because I live in Michigan, so I can’t imagine life without snow. People in FL and CA are missing out. It actually snows in Hawaii?? Wow. (I am using that word a lot tonight :P)

        • I love the Sidewalk Prophets actually. I’ve heard a lot of their stuff. “The Words I Would Say” and “Live Like That” are two of my favorites!
          Haha! So true. Yes, we have snow. Because Hawaii is AMAZING! We have nearly every climate in the world just on our island. We just don’t have Chipotle…or Chick-Fil-A…or Red Lobster. *sigh*

          • We don’t have Chick-fil-A either. 🙁 one of these days….

            Sorry it took me so long to respond…I kinda forgot.

            Live Like That and Words I Would Say are awesome too! And I really like You Can Have Me and Change This Heart.

  • Ask somebody to remind you once in a while that you’re not alone. (I can do it if you want.)

    Definitely look to the Bible. Truth is ALWAYS your best weapon against the father of lies.

    • Weren’t you asking how to fight the lies satan tells us to make us think we’re alone? That’s what you quoted from the article.

      • *takes a bow* thank you, thank you very much. 😛 lol believe me I know how that goes. Yay for blonde teenager 9:22 p.m. slowness. 😉

        • Well me at least, possibly you although I don’t really know…you’re definitely blonde at heart at least. 😉

          • What did you want to say?

            Did you have to go look in the mirror to figure out if you were blonde or not? 🙂

            Blonde at heart..good question. I guess I meant even if you weren’t blonde, you’re still as slow as a blonde person. You can take that as a compliment if you want…lol

  • Good question! “Satan” means “accuser”, and that’s what he does. I think that often his accusations are directed not only at us but also at God. For example, when he said, “Does Job serve God for nothing?” he is really questioning whether God is worth serving at all. “Did God really say…?” questions God’s authority. I think realising that God ultimately won’t allow these accusations against His character should help us to trust Him, since we realise that when we are accused, God will bring glory to Himself by helping His people.

    (I don’t know if that really answers your question…)

  • WOW!!! Thank you SO MUCH, Hannah!! I LOVED IT and it spoke to my parents, too!!! God bless you!!!

  • Wow, I really needed that, thank you! I know I’ve been walking in the direction God wants me to go (He’s given me every sign that this is where He’s leading me), but every circumstance in my life has discouraged me, telling me that believing God will come through is wishful thinking and the only thing in my future is failure and heartbreak. I needed to read this, it’s reminded me that even though I can’t do it on my own, God is big enough and, if He’s leading me, He’s not going to let me down.

    • That’s awesome, Jordan! I totally get that. It’s so easy to let our circumstances determine our outlook, but with our eyes on Jesus nothing can keep us from following His plan. Keep pressing on!

  • WOW!! Hannah i’m still in shock over that article! that was exactly what i needed to hear! God’s Never Gone!

  • I had felt many of those things that prevent me to move foreword. But I find I am constantly challenging myself only to prove to myself that I shouldn’t be afraid for God is with me. However, sometimes I realize that i should be careful not to push foreword for my will but for God’s.I realize that we all are sinners, but am confident in the Lord, and with that I can say that everyday is a blessed one. I find that I daily have to remind myself to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus” (Heb 12;1,2)
    ***This website is a great outlet on fixing our eyes on Jesus, whether it be writing articles in order to proclaim the good news, or out of the outmost need of one to exercise the habit of reminding oneself of the Lord’s presence with them.
    THANK YOU HANNAH for this encouraging article and your great faith in God!

    • That’s amazing, Anthony! God bless. That’s one of my favorite verses. I want a running shirt with that verse on it! This website is AMAZING! I have always found so much help and encouragement here. Hope you will too.

  • I am a newbie and would like to know how to start a blog. Any good websites I should go to, to start?

  • This post is definitely needed. In everything I do I want God to be there with me, guiding me, and wrapping his arms around me to protect me and give me strength but I often try to do things without him because I don’t always acknowledge that he is really there. I need to remember that I have him with me everywhere I go through the holy spirit. If I am going to make even a little bit of a difference in my youth worship team, my family, my friends, or church than I am going to need to stop doubting his presence and start acknowledging his existence and actively peruse him no matter where I am or what I am going through. Thank you, Hannah, for that reminder.

    • Thank you so much Olivia! That’s so encouraging! I’m so glad God is speaking to you on this too. I think it’s a really powerful thing to realize that our doubt in God’s Presence is sometimes all that hinders us from making an impact. I know it’s been a huge light bulb for me! God bless!

    • Wow! I’m amazed at what God can do and can’t believe that Je could use my words to speak to someone. Praise Him! God bless.

  • Really hit me real hard. I’m just starting college and I’m still in the matter of adjusting to everything else. I find myself in moments before a class starts asking myself, “Is God really with me now that I’m here?” High school was absolutely excellent, but fear creeps in with the thought of “ya’ aint Rebelutioanry now, this is college!”

    This reminded me of how sovereign God is and I’m alarmed at the realization that fear is holding me back from my full potential even though I had experienced what God could do for me in high school. Hannah! You are so ANOINTED, God bless you 🙂

    • Karl, you have no idea how much this comment blessed me. I’m there too. After you graduate it’s so easy to feel the let down. Like “Oh no! I’m an adult now. I’m too late to be a prodigy.” But I’m realizing that this adventure is just beginning, and I can’t wait to see what God does. It’s going to be amazing!

  • Well for me I don’t necessarily feel like God isn’t with me, I know that he is. It’s that he absolutely will not let me out of a situation that is hurting me almost every day. I have issues with bullies at work. They misunderstand me because I am a believer and the persecution is very real. I try to love and forgive over and over and it’s not helpful, they hate me regardless. When I attempt to move forward and find a new way of life God closes the doors. That makes me feel alone.

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 →