rebelling against low expectations

3 Small Hard Things Anyone Can Do: Annalysa’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 Annalysa!

When I first read Do Hard Things, I was excited.

I was inspired, thrilled, and ready to get out there and change the world. I dove into the process of beginning several projects and came out disappointed because things never really worked out.

I was 13 or 14 years old and I finally realized something.

I was missing the small hard things.

I got so caught up in the excitement and unusualness of the idea of big hard things that I overlooked the hard things I had to do every day, such as be nice to my siblings and make my bed every day (something I still need to work on).

When I came to the realization that I needed to work on my small hard things, one of them being humility, I began to look at things differently.

Resolving to Read the Bible

At the beginning of 2015, I made a resolution to have my Bible time every day.

I didn’t realize how hard it would be sometimes, trying to get it done every day. If I missed it in the morning, I would stay up late trying to get it done. But something was wrong. Finally, one day after I had put it off for a while and was doing it in the afternoon – somewhat begrudgingly, I might add – it hit me. Hard.

I wasn’t doing it for a relationship with God. I was having daily Bible time to check it off on my list.

When I realized what I had been doing, I was crushed and begged God to forgive me. Looking back, I see that that experience has helped me grow closer to God.

Yes, sometimes I don’t feel like doing it. Sometimes I have a million things to do on my “to-do list” that I rush through it. Sometimes I get distracted. But in the end, it’s always worth it.

Growing closer to God is something that I want to do for the rest of my life. And that starts now.

Helping Women at Risk

My first “big” project opportunity came in February 2015 when my mom came home from a women’s conference with a packet about Women At Risk, Int’l (WAR Int’l), an organization that rescues women from slavery and gives them safe jobs making jewelry and accessories to sell.

The money raised goes to the safe houses that these women live in.

I’ve had a passion for justice for a long time. I had done a lot of research and even did a paper on human trafficking/slavery for school, which gave me an opportunity to explore the subject more thoroughly.

I had wanted to do a fundraiser or something but never could find just the right moment. When my mom gave me the packet about WAR, Int’l, I read through it and knew God had given me my chance.

I had been praying for a few weeks for something that I could do to help make a difference.

WAR Int’l helps individual hosts host their own jewelry parties (selling the handmade jewelry made by the rescued and at-risk women) to raise money for WAR. I’m not big into jewelry parties but I wanted to do this because it was for a good cause.

I decided, after a lot more prayer and talking with my mom about it, to do it and I collaborated with a friend, my sister, and mom to host a jewelry party.

I was hoping to raise at least $1,000; I knew that was probably a stretch, but one can always dream, right? Even though it was raining that day and there were only about 20 orders made, we raised over $1,600 dollars to help support rescued and at-risk women all over the world.

It was a great experience and definitely a learning experience, discovering that different people have different personalities and that patience is something that I need to increase in greatly.

Reaching Out in Friendship

Recently, I took another “big” step in church.

Being one of only three or four homeschooled teens in the church, I never really fit in with the rest of the youth group.

After a year in the youth group, I decided to help in the toddler Sunday School class, where I could learn leadership skills, not to mention that my little brother was in there at the time.

I really never connected with any of the kids in the youth group, at least not long term, but I really wanted to. All of my really good friends lived far away or in other states and I really wanted a good friend close by.

There is one girl that stood out to me in church. She was quiet and hung out with the rest of the teens but I could see that there was something different about her.

If we saw each other in passing, we would say, “hi” but it never really went beyond that.

A few weeks ago, I decided to take a step towards friendship with her. I ordered Do Hard Things and this past Sunday, wrapped it up, along with a note, and gave it to her. I think it surprised her and it was exciting for me to be able to give it to her.

I have yet to see what becomes of this but I continue to pray for her and look forward to see what God has planned for me next.

Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Section!

There are currently __ Comment(s)


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author

Annalysa Cagasan

is a 15-year-old homeschooler who hopes to glorify God in all that she says and does. Living in the Deep South of the USA with her parents and 4 siblings, she enjoys reading, playing piano, violin, and other instruments, and spending time with her family. She seeks to draw closer to God every day.


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

  • Hey there, Miss Annalysa! Thank you so very much for submitting your story. It was an encouragement to me 🙂 Blessings!

  • Hi Annalysa,
    Thanks for sharing your story! It is very encouraging. Sometimes the little hard things are the most important hard things. I remember after reading Do Hard Things ( I was probably about 14 or 15 at the time), I was really discouraged because there didn’t seem to be anything amazing that I could do. And then God started showing me all the hard things that I was surrounded by like working hard on my school and giving it my best, helping mom out with dinner, spending time with my sisters and loving them well and treating them kindly instead of starting fights, and doing chores for the glory of God instead of grumbling or complaining and the list could go on. Sometimes the hard things God calls us to do is to be faithful in the little duties of life because in the end it will affect how we handle the bigger things and it prepares us for the bigger things. Anyway, thanks for sharing and keep on persevering in the little things of life because they are just as important as the things that we call big. 😉

  • Thanks for sharing Annalysa 🙂
    Doing the small hard things is super hard, when compared to all of the big things that everyone else seems to be doing, but God has so many hard things that we can do in our own lives, to people that we know, with our friends and families.
    I hope this girl at church responds well to your gift, because who knows, maybe this is the hard thing that God is leading you to do.

  • This is great! I can really relate to your comment reading the Bible just to get it done. Small hard things are so important.

    Thanks for writing.

  • So good!!! Small hard things are so… hard, sometimes. 🙂
    (P.S. You look very different to how I’ve imagined you! :P)

    • Haha, Cassie, I hope that’s a good thing. 🙂 I have no idea how to imagine you since all I’ve seen is a cave… but it’s a pretty cave! 🙂

      Yes, they are hard – very hard…like me getting off here and doing school…. 🙂

      I’ll be praying for you and I will reply to your message soon – I haven’t forgotten about you!!! 🙂


  • Wow! This is great Annalysa! I also struggle with same “hard things”. The part about friendship is where I relate with you the most(also reading the Bible). I hope the girl reads the book. 🙂

  • Awesome story! Very encouraging, I tend to struggle with the same things.

    I can sympathize with not fitting into the church youth group very well. I think there’s only three or four homeschooling families in our fairly large church, and most of them have younger children. My solution seems to be much like yours as well. Instead of going to youth group, I help in kid’s church! It’s a blast and God has blessed me with increasing opportunities. I have also made friends with lots of the adults at our church.

    • Hey Audrey!
      Working with kids is fun, isn’t it? I have to admit I’m not always excited about it (and sometimes complain, but I’m working on that) but I’ve started trying to make the story a bit more exciting. With the toddlers, story time has to stay pretty short but there are so many things I can do to make it more interesting. I hope to be able to go on mission trips and stuff when I’m a bit older (and can find the funds) so this teaching experience is definitely God-given!!! 🙂

      I have to agree, a lot of the people that I communicate with more are the adults and really young kids…. 🙂 But that’s great too!!!


      • Oh I love it! Yes, there are definitely days I don’t want to show up (grin). However, it’s always worth it. As time has gone on, helping in kid’s church has become a lot easier as I’ve gotten some more experience under my belt. Our kid’s pastor always reminds the helpers that we might be the only real Christian influence the kids have in their lives. Even though we always have a specific lesson to do with our classes, It’s my goal to get off track (who needs a plan anyway haha, and besides, when you are working with kids, you have to get creative) and remind the kids in some way that God is always with them and always loves them.

        It’s awesome that you help with the toddlers. In our church we typically don’t have enough helpers in that area, so I’m sure your church is grateful 🙂

    • I have problems with my youth group, but not exactly in the same way. Most of the girls in my youth group are homeschooled, but they already know each other and have made their own friendships and I’ve just been a newcomer for the past year that I’ve been at this church. I do have one girl that I talk with, and I’m super thankful for her, but the rest of them don’t really say anything to me.

      Sorry, but I don’t agree with the idea of helping with the children’s ministry instead of youth group. Although it’s great to help out with little kids, I think that we all need to be in youth group for at least sunday school, bible for life classes, or whatever your church calls it, if possible. Youth group is important to me, not because of the people in it, but because of the what I learn from it. Having that bible study for people my age, right on my level of knowledge and what I need to know is very important to me. Maybe you weren’t saying that you let children’s ministry completely take the place of youth group, and I’m sorry either way if I offend anybody, but that’s just my opinion.

      • Hey Olivia!

        Thanks for commenting – sounds like you have a great youth group! 🙂

        Right now, especially in this point of my life, I would love to have some great Bible study time with peers my age who do care and who really want to learn, but that is not available, at least, not to my knowledge, where we are currently. However, God works all things together for good because I’ve been feeling drawn to the idea of working with kids somehow (hopefully in Biblical training and such) in my future career and teaching in the two’s and three’s class has been a terrific opportunity for me to learn and glean experience.

        I am definitely not discouraging youth groups; if you have a youth group that encourages you in your walk with the Lord, then by all means, go for it!!! God leads us all in different directions and He gives us different opportunities at all different stages of life. So wherever God leads you, go! You can’t go wrong with God leading your life. 🙂

        • Ok, I apologize as I probably sounded too harsh and judgemental. As I’ve switched from church to church, I’ve been in many different environments. The last church that we were at, we left after a month because the teaching was so shallow. My current youth group isn’t the best with the social aspect, but it is has very good and deep teaching. I realize that not everyone has the opportunity to be in a good youth group like mine.

          Homeschooled people in my area often think that you have to be homeschooled, because if it’s good for the majority, it’s good for everyone. My oldest brother is now in public school and I can’t stand this idea. We’re not all the same, we don’t all have the same problems, we’re not all in the same situations. Just because something is good for someone doesn’t mean it’s good for someone else. The reason that I’m saying this is because I made the wrong assumption that everyone should go to their youth group, just like my homeschool community sometimes thinks that everyone should be homeschooled.

          Again, I’m really sorry. My church stresses the importance of being in a good youth group, sunday school class, home fellowship, or whatever, but I’ve learned now that not everybody has that opportunity. Thank you for your patience, especially if you read this whole long thing.

  • Hey Annalysa!! I was so excited when I saw that you’d posted an article. 🙂 This rang very true for me – I’ve been realizing lately just how much life is all about the little things. Little hard things especially. Everything starts small. Thank you for sharing!

    • Hey Esther — good to hear from you! (I was surprised too, because I had totally forgotten about it! :O ) I’m dealing with a small hard thing right now – they never cease to come our way, do they? 🙂 Hope you’re doing well — are y’all doing BB this year?


  • Hi Annalysa,
    Thank you for the article. I can totally relate to when you said ‘ I was reading to check it off my list, not for a relationship ‘. After realising this, I always pray to God before I read my Bible so that the Holy Spirit will help me to love good weird more and more and to know him through His word. Great article!

    P.S I am new here from England. Any one from England here?

  • I loved this post! I’m a homeschooled 15-year-old as well, and I can relate to a lot of things in this article! Good job 🙂

By Annalysa Cagasan
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 →