rebelling against low expectations

Doing Hard Things in the Philippines: Genelizette’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 Genelizette with an ESL (English as a second language) submission!

It has been six years since I first read Do Hard Things.

I was sixteen then. I was in my junior year in high school. During that time, I had been dealing with a lot of inner issues that I cannot really voice out. I felt like I was meant to do something that was of great value but I could not fully accept that I had the capability and the capacity.

It was because all the while I was feeling complacent and inferior. Do Hard Things stirred up the passion in my heart that had dwindled because of my insecurities.

During my pre-teens up to my fourteenth year, I was actively involved in children’s ministry. At eleven, I was already a VBS assistant teacher. At twelve, I became a regular Sunday School teacher. I taught the preschoolers. Every summer, I always volunteered to be a VBS teacher. Twice, I went up at the mountains to do a one week VBS volunteer work.

At fourteen, I was the head teacher of the primary level. I handled at least twenty students whose ages were seven to nine – most of them did not know how to read and write. Aside from that, two children who had autism were assigned to my class.

Although I had a lot of things to deal with, it was the most memorable VBS that I have ever had. For me to share the gospel while I was trying my best to sustain the needs of my students, I had to be selfless. I was able to put myself at my students’ feet which allowed me to give my heart to the ministry work.

I wish I could tell you that I faithfully pursued my calling.

Things got a bit different and tough during the latter part of my fourteenth year and the early months of my fifteenth year; I got overwhelmed with the pressure of studying in a science-curriculum high school.

I suffered from anxiety attacks because of the stress of oral recitations. I was used to the fact that I was one of the top in my class; my world fell apart when I lost my chance for the honors.

I was not able to cope. Because of this, I slowly neglected my ministry and my studies and focused my attention on my shortcomings. Because of my neglect, I got five failing grades out of my twelve subjects.

This was where Do Hard Things entered.

The book made me realize that I should not look down on myself. God called me to set an example in speech, in faith, in love, and in purity.

Just because I fail, it does not mean that I should indulge in a pity party. Every moment that I am alive is an opportunity to make a difference and make an impact for the glory of our Almighty God.

I have realized that I was complacent because my heart was arrogant. I believed in my own strength and knowledge. I forgot to acknowledge that it was a gift from God.

God humbled me. I saw my weaknesses. God picked me up and helped me to stand up once again. I saw the big world that waits for me when my comfort zone is popped.

Do Hard Things had awakened my sleeping fervor.

It made me realize that outside my comfort zone, change and learning are waiting for me.

All I need to do is take that single step outside my bubble, forgive myself for all my mistakes, take each failure as an opportunity for growth and improvement and lastly, be faithful and keep going even if my efforts remain unnoticed.

Faith enabled me to see the bigger picture that God wants me to grasp. It also allowed me to give the love that I have received and be zealous in my calling.

So what happened next?

I rededicated myself to God and got actively involved in the youth ministry of our church. I finished high school. I gained a set of real friends because I learned how to be compassionate.

I entered university and took up a Bachelors of Arts in English which I finished last April 15. I honed my passion for writing by joining contests and workshops.

I embraced my calling as a leader wholeheartedly. I became the president of a writers’ club for three school years. God promoted me to be a youth leader and the secretary of our church. I became active in volunteer work. I was a volunteer blogger for an online radio station for three years.

I gave free poetry workshops and became an admin assistant in an English Camp which was spearheaded by my university in conjunction with the US Embassy through the English Language Program.

I know that this is not the end of my story; God is not finished yet. Right now, I am waiting for my first job.

I thank God that He used Do Hard Things to minister to my once arrogant and complacent heart.

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About the author

Genelizette Palomar

is a 21-year-old Filipino young lady who has a passion for writing. She loves to keep her journals, and poetry gives her joy. She has a heart for ministering to the youth and little children.


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  • All I can say is, Wow! That is amazing and I can so identify with how God changed your heart. Keep it up! 🙂 ~Anna Grace

  • This is great, thanks for taking time to write it! And thanks Jaquelle (or whoever ) for picking it! The ESL stories have been a huge encouragement because I’m learning a second language too.

  • Wow that’s awesome. I have many friends from the Philippines and it is so cool to see God working all around the world!!

  • It’s amazing that God gave you so many opportunities even as a young teen. I guess we all have some kind of opportunities waiting if we will just go outside and get them.

    Just random, my great grandparents were missionaries in the Philippines. I can’t remember their first names which is terrible of me, but their last name was Gordon.

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 →