rebelling against low expectations

Do Hard Things Rocked My World: Sarah’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 Sarah!

I’m fourteen years old and I first read Do Hard Things in the summer of 2014.

I borrowed it from a friend who had become extremely passionate about the Rebelution. She gave it to me assuring me that I would love it as much as she did.

I had no idea how much this one book would change my outlook on life.

The thought that there were such low expectations on teenagers was a foreign concept to me. I mean, of course, I knew that teenagers weren’t “supposed” to do much. But this idea that teenagers were expected not to do much was staggering.

What really blew my mind though was that there is a godly and biblical expectation to do so much.

After I read it I became so ecstatic, so passionate, I could hardly contain it. I told anyone who would listen about it. And I mean ANYONE.

I remember one day trying to relay to my sister what I had learned in a nutshell and I ended up talking about it for nearly an hour. I was so excited.

So, my response was to DO something.

But I hadn’t the slightest idea what.

All I knew was I wanted to do something big and I wanted to do that something big now. I wasn’t going to stop until I did something amazing. I brainstormed and prayed and waited on God. And waited. And waited some more.

I was getting nothing.

I was waiting on this enormous move of God in my life so I could go out and change the world. I didn’t quite get what I was expecting.

Then, finally, I found it.

I had reached the chapter about small hard things. That was all I needed. It rocked me.

My immediate reaction was to make a list of small hard things I could feasibly do.

They weren’t easy, trust me. They were just … small.

The list consisted of things like take initiative around the house, help my parents WITHOUT being asked, reach out to people who I don’t know very well.

In that season of life they put me entirely out of my comfort zone.

But I had faith that God had put this book in my hands for this very purpose. These were things I could see myself doing, but it would be a struggle.

Now, looking back, it was worth it.

Because a few weeks ago I went back to that list and checked every single thing off of it. I was nearly in tears by the time I finished. I had accomplished my goal. Of doing hard things.

As I sat there I remembered the verse from Luke where Jesus says, “If you are faithful in the small things you will be faithful in the large things.”

That verse sums up what Do Hard Things has REALLY taught me thus far.

Hard things don’t always have to be a gigantic movement that everyone can see.

In fact, a lot of the time they happen only in your heart. But that’s about 90 percent of the Do Hard Things message. I hope that anyone who reads this book or the blog will learn this along their journey as well.

Be faithful in the small things and you WILL be faithful in the large things.

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About the author

Sarah Dunlap

is a music-loving homeschooler set on changing the world. She is the 14-year-old daughter of two youth pastors and very in love with a man named Jesus. Her goal in life is to tell the love of Christ to anyone who will listen.


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  • I felt the same when reading Do Hard things. I remember thinking “wow I need to do something BIG!” Of course, I got to the chapter on small hard things. I didn’t think they mattered or were very important- they were, and they have helped me in many ways. Small hard things sometimes are the hardest hard things 🙂

  • Thank you for sending in your story, Sarah! Hearing about how God uses Do Hard Things in the lives of teenagers never gets old. Our stories are actually quite similar 😉 God bless you as you continue your walk with Him!

    Your sister in Christ,

  • I felt the very same way when I read Do Hard Things, and the part about small things (and hearing so many people talk about it) it has become one of the most important things in my life, I now try to find something hard in everything that I do, not just the big things. Thank you for your story, Sarah! It really encouraged me!

  • I just love this, Sarah! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

    “If you are faithful in the small things you will be faithful in the large things.”

    That’s a very important reminder,

  • “Hard things don’t always have to be a gigantic movement that everyone can see. In fact, a lot of the time they happen only in your heart. But that’s about 90 percent of the Do Hard Things message.”
    This is awesome, Sarah! I really needed this encouragement today. Thank you so much!

  • This is such an amazing story. I am just now starting to read Do Hard Things, and I love it! I’m close to your age and always thought I had to do something big in order to impact several people. I learned by just doing small things as well, that you can impact more people than you think. Keep up the good work, Sarah!

  • Thank you, Sarah! I have a habit of thinking that when they say do HARD things,they mean do BIG things, and that is NOT true.

  • Great post. I read Do Hard Things for the first time last week. I found it such an encouraging book. I struggle with the small hard things to. It’s hard to be content just doing the small things around the house when you feel like it is not making any difference… I found out differently 🙂 Thank you for this post.

  • This is amazing! The part about borrowing the book from a friend is kind of similar to what I experienced, except it was my cousin who asked me if I’d like to borrow it. That day was the best day of my life. So just how Do Hard Things rocked your world, it also rocked mine.

    • XD is just supposed to be a person who is laughing really hard. Do you see it? The X stands for their squinted eyes and the D stands for their wide open, laughing mouth.

By Sarah Dunlap
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 →