rebelling against low expectations

It’s Okay to Do Boring Hard Things: Elizabeth’s Story


After reading so many great entries for the Do Hard Things Story Contest, we’ve decided to highlight a story on TheRebelution every week for the rest of the year. Each story emphasizes how Do Hard Things has impacted these rebelutionaries. Today, meet Elizabeth!

A friend gave me a copy of Do Hard Things when I turned 16.

The first hard thing I did was make time for reading it. And wow – it really challenged my thinking and the way I had been living.

This book changed the way I viewed my teenage-hood, realizing that I can start living life NOW, start working towards my goals NOW, start reaching for my dreams NOW. It also acknowledged the fact that it might hurt, that it wasn’t going to be easy, and that it would probably take several tries.

I’ve always wanted to be an author, but now I’m proactively trying to get my work published.

Before, I was too afraid of failure.

At this moment, I’m writing a few stories for an online homeschool magazine. And it took a lot of tries. I sent emails to about a dozen worthy magazines, and about three of them responded – two positively. I ended up with only one at the end of all of it.

More often than not, the hard things for me are not applying for a job or writing for a magazine. It’s putting down the book I’m reading, getting off my social media, turning off my computer.

It’s putting away the distractions until my priorities are taken care of. Or (more embarrassingly) ordering for myself at a restaurant, going to the store by myself, and beginning to direct my own life in general.

I read TheRebelution blog regularly, and I’m constantly impressed by other teens whose stories are profiled. They’re my age or younger pursuing the vision of doing hard things.

And doing BIG hard things – like inventing a fingerprint-sensitive gun at 17, becoming a professional grade chef at 14, or raising awareness for cerebral palsy by carrying a younger brother for 47 miles at age 16. It helps me to put my life in perspective, and gives me new energy to strive for my own goals.

But even more than being impressed by other teens, I’m impressed by my mom.

My mother suffers from diverticulitis, and for about 4 or 5 months this past spring, she was basically out of commission. It meant that I needed to step up and take care of things, shuttle my younger siblings places, do more housework and miss out on a few things since she needed to stay home.

Sometimes it was hard, especially at times when we missed out on fun things (like debate parties) since she was in so much pain. I got tired. I wished she could be healed and things could go back to normal – when things were easier. I also realized how much work she does for our family now that I needed to do some of it.

She especially inspired me by still taking us to speech and debate tournaments, even if it meant that she’d be aching by the end of every day. She sacrificed comfort.

My mom is a huge example of doing hard things. Doing hard MUNDANE things.

When people hear a sermon, each one is touched or convicted uniquely and applies the message in a different way. For me, when my mom got sick, the message was, “You need to kick it into gear.” I think everyone in our family learned something different from this event and the Lord has built up our family from it.

My mom has shown me real time that it’s okay to do hard boring things. I’m realizing that even if I don’t become a recognized author, if I take care of my responsibilities with a cheerful heart and without the world’s accolades, it’s okay.

I don’t need the world to praise me, I don’t need to be famous, or anything. I just need my Master to be pleased and to say on the last day, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Thank you, Brett and Alex, for your inspiration!

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About the author

Elizabeth Holland

is currently a student at the Master’s University in California where she’s pursuing a degree in English. She enjoys traveling, playing her violin, making new things, and spending time with her friends. Elizabeth loves to write and hopes to make it her full-time occupation once she graduates.


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  • I’m so happy for you Elizabeth! I am so inspired by stories like yours. My mother doesn’t have diverticulitis so I cannot truly say that I relate. But I do know what it is like to step up to the plate and realize how much our mothers and fathers do for us. My mother has a full time job and so she is not at home as often as one might wish. And because of that she rarely has time to just sit down. Now, my dad cooks things for supper because she is never home at dinner time. We’re still getting used to her schedule but we are starting to realize that we have to do some things for ourselves. And therefore it makes us realize that my mom does a TON. Much more than she should. It’s driven me to become less lazy in my daily life. Now I cook some of our dinners and I also take responsibility for other things that have to be done. It’s made me a better person.

    So thank you so much for sharing your Do Hard Things story!


  • Thank you so much for sharing your story, Elizabeth! As inspiring as it is to read about teenagers doing out-of-this-world hard things…well, most days what I really need to hear is something like this. To be reminded that the small and the boring hard things are just as important as anything else is a blessing. In fact, maybe the boring hard things are the most important of all. After all, the things we see teens do in the news couldn’t have been accomplished without a lot of work. The “boring” hard things are the foundation for everything else we do!

    Thank you for the inspiration; God bless! 🙂

  • Thanks for writing this! I needed to be reminded that little stuff still gives glory to God, and sometimes it does it a lot better than big stuff. Plus you have an very readable writing style, if that makes any sense. 🙂

  • This is such a great article, Lizzy! It is so easy to forget that the mundane things matter. They really do. Thank you for the reminder. : )

  • Thank you for all your comments! I was glad that the Lord used me to bless you! An update about my mom, she just had surgery on her diverticulitis. Could I ask you to pray for her recovery?

  • YOU are an inspiration, a devoted and dutiful daughter, niece and sister. I have complete confidence that one day you will publish many books, and lastly… I couldn’t be more proud of you. Excellent work, Elizabeth

  • Great job Elizabeth! The Lord showed me this soon after I read Do Hard Things and I always need that reminder that it is okay to do boring hard things whether that’s all I do or not, thank you!

  • I love the last paragraph, “I don’t need the world to praise me, I don’t need to be famous, or anything. I just need my Master to be pleased and to say on the last day, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.'”

  • I love this. Sometimes we focus so much on doing big dramatic hard things when really the little things are just as crucial. And I’m with you on the wanting to publish a book thing! Good for you for taking some steps closer to that 🙂 Praying for your mom & family in general. Your sister in Christ, Julia

  • That was encouraging Elizabeth!! Thanks for taking the time to write! I’ll be praying for you and your family. We’re all in this together!!

    I see we’re the same age and have a few things in common – photography, reading, playing violin. I too have a greeting card business. I might sell more than cards eventually. I don’t constantly have costumers, it’s just here and there. Do you have a business name? Oh, actually my business will be photography, greeting cards, and a few other crafty things. God has recently opened up photography for me, so I have a few clients already.

    I too plan on publishing some books! One for young women, another for teens written by teens (if I’m still a teen by the time I get around to writing it), and the other for fathers in relation to their daughters. They’re all going to be coauthored though, which should be interesting!!

    Anyway, thanks again for sharing!! Hope you get to publish a book sooner than you think with God’s help!!

      • You’re very welcome!!

        Oh great!! I’ll check it out. My business name is Creative Expressions by Alise. No, I don’t have a site or anything quite yet. Thanks Elizabeth!! You too!!

  • My summary of your story would be Being faithful in the little things and realizing that the little things are important and do make a difference!

By Elizabeth Holland
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 →