rebelling against low expectations

Where is God in All Your Hard Things?


Don’t Leave God Behind

I was excited.

I had a whole bunch of new projects I was working on, and I was lying in bed planning the next steps. How I would advertise, how I would edit, etc. I was lying there, smiling to myself, so proud of the Hard Things I was getting ready to accomplish.

Finally, I would be making a difference!

Suddenly, it hit me. Where was God in all of this?

I felt a little guilty as I tried to remember the last time I had actually prayed over my big dream. I spent more time pointlessly thinking about it than effectively praying about it.

What is Your Top Priority?

I remember overhearing a conversation between my mom and one of her friends. They were talking about how we often go off and do really great things for God, but we brush off the amount of time we spend with Him as less important.

When did we forget that our relationship with God is the most important thing in our lives?

He is everything for us. We go off and do great things in the name of our Savior, but push Him to the back of our minds and let our Big Dreams take His place as top priority.

We have it all backwards, but God is gracious and willing to forgive. We need to do one of the Hardest Hard Things: Give ourselves, our plans, and yes, even our Big Dreams to Him, and let Him steer them all where He wants them to go.

And I can promise, it may not turn out like you hoped, but it will be made beautiful through Christ.

This is the Action Plan

Pray. Make sure that God’s will is at the core of your plans.

Be selfless. Be sensitive to others. Whether it’s washing dishes or cleaning your room, your family’s needs should be placed above yours and what you’re working on.

Give grace. Other people, even your family, may be skeptical about what you’re doing. It can be discouraging, but don’t get frustrated. I was unsure of myself at first because it seemed too big for me, a young teenager, to accomplish. Wondering what other people would think nearly drove me insane. But if we stay in the center of God’s will, He works things together for our good.

Take brave action. Don’t be afraid to do big, crazy things. God will give you courage. After all, He split a sea in half and walked on water. He cares about you and your “impossible.”

Soldier on, sister. Be brave, brother.

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Photo courtesy of Ashley Harrigan and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the author

Jalen Barbour

is a teenage girl in love with Jesus and desiring to love Him more every day. She has a heart for seeing young people come alive with passion for Christ and reaching the lost. She loves coffee, music, and writing. She can be crazy sometimes, and she loves to laugh.


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  • Great blog Jalen. I can see this applying to me in my life. Thanks for giving a “plan of action.”

  • Great article Jalen! Always so important to remember the relationship with Christ not just the purpose! Thank you. (:

  • Great job, Jalen! It’s so important that our dreams don’t get in the way of our relationship with Christ.

    • Thank you Hannah! Dreams will so often do that! I have to tell God nearly every day that I need Him first, Before my projects and dreams!

  • This is a great article Jalen! It’s so true that we need to keep God in all we do. He really does care about all your actions. He wants to be apart of your life, and work with you, side by side.

  • Wow Jalen, this was EXACTLY what I needed to hear right now. I just committed myself to an enormous 9-week project yesterday, but the previous week I committed to reading my Bible every day first thing in the morning. Going into the decision, my eyes were and still are wide open about how much physical and mental energy this project will take. I know that, unlike my school year, I am NOT going to leave God out no matter how busy I am, no matter how many tasks I have to do, not matter how tired I am. Time is like money. If God’s share doesn’t come off the top, there will never be any left over at the end. So, even though I had to be working at 6am this morning, I got up at 5am because I made a commitment to God first, exciting new project second. Thank you so much for affirming1

    • That is awesome, @haleyseba:disqus ! That is so true! I love your dedication of putting God first. I am not good with getting up early, so that is big to me, lol:)

  • Fantastic Job, Jalen. There’s a lot of well presented and really important truth here. I definitely needed this reminder. Thank you! 🙂

    • Oh, my goodness, Ms. Linda! I have been thinking about you guys, and missing you all so much!!!!!! This is so crazy!

    • Thank you! This reminder is definitely as much for me as anyone, as I seem to fail BIGTIME in this area. God has so much grace for us, though!

  • Wonderful job, my little niece! You have such wisdom to share. Our relationship to God is what’s most important in and among all the big and little things of life. Much love to you!!

  • You know what’s ironic? The song ‘First’ by Lauren Daigle just started playing on my spotify:) A good song!!!

    • Question? If I trust God more will he help me more? I’m hurting and tend to be self violent and i like to hurt myself. Also why is it so hard not to feel so hopeless? I know partly is because i’m bipolar, but sometimes i think i can control myself better. Will God help me stop hurting myself? I try to remember Philipians 4:13 but i still am struggling so badly. I hurt emotionally and often want to be dead? Why does God allow people to feel this way sometimes?

      • I’m not sure I’m the best person to answer this, but I will tell you what I know.
        You are valued. Hebrews 12: 2 says Jesus endured the cross ‘for the joy that lay before Him,’ and the only thing He didn’t have was us–you. Even if it seems God has abandoned you to the pain, He hasn’t. I can’t tell you why He allows it, but I can tell you that He’s right there with you.

        As to why life seems hopeless–that’s because, without Christ, it is. The world is temporary. If we focus on what WE do and trying to make OUR lives count, it’ll seem like we get nowhere. Literally, the only hope we can find is if we keep our eyes on Jesus and trust Him to make our lives worth something. And I know that it’s so much harder to do that than say it.

        Another thing: God often helps us through the people in our lives. My cousin has bipolar and he takes medicine for it, although it took them a bit to find the right kind/dosage. I don’t know if you take medicine, but if you do and you feel this way, it might be a sign that you need to talk to your parents and/or doctor.

        I’ll be praying for you, Evan White.

      • So true, Cricket! I have struggled with this sort of thing, (I’m not bipolar) but I’m not sure I have any of the right things to say, but I’ll tell you this: I have, and still do, struggle. But I have found that spending a lot of time with Jesus really redirected my focus. Allow Hi to overwhelm you with His love. Just spend time, in secret, just you and Jesus. Just be still before Him, be quiet, and just be in His presence.

        Find an outlet for your hurt other than harming yourself. Sketching, maybe? That helps me sometimes.

        Remember that your body is God’s temple. He WILL help you if you continually come before Him, keep your eyes fixed on Him. He adores you, no matter what. His love is endless. You have worth, He wants you, Evan. Talk about what you are feeling.

        And lastly, don’t forget that you have brothers and sisters in Christ praying for you. Wwe love you, we are for you, and God is for you!

      • Evan — while I cannot imagine exactly what you are going through, we can take solace in the fact that Jesus went through every form of hurt that we can imagine, ranging from temptation (e.g., by satan) to betrayal (e.g., by Peter) to loneliness (e.g., on the cross). Jesus alone is the one person who can know exactly how we’re feeling. The fact that He calls us to something greater, recognizing that we might be in a place of hurt, not only encourages us, but also underscores the fact that He is leading us to something better. That something better might not happen on Earth, but it is a process that does begin here and now.

        Have you already reached out to counseling services at your church? God has made a number of promises and indeed trusting in Him will produce fruit, but sometimes our view of that fruit is short sighted (e.g., having more faith may not produce more money if God thinks that we are likely to become tempted by the money and misuse it). There are many reasons why we do not get what we want even when we’re doing the right thing, but they all boil down to God having a bigger plan than we can currently see.

        Do you remember the parts in scripture where Jesus healed people, in particular the crippled man? The conventional wisdom at the time was that sickness = signal of sin. The pharisees asked Jesus whether the cause of his disability was sin. Jesus’ response was that his disability was permitted so that the Kingdom of God could be shown. The reality is that there are many problems today that are the fallout of original sin, and other problems that God permits so that He can showcase His kingdom. It’s not easy for us to comprehend with purely human wisdom, but with God it is possible. Pray boldly to Him and I have for you too.

        • Thank you. And no I have not reached out to any church services other than our youth pastor who I’ve talked about my hurt with before…. God has a plan….. Just wish I knew what it was. Some people have suggested therapy and encouraged it but therapy is stupid and I prefer the least medical help as possible. God is enough.

          • I would see if there are maybe a few wise people or elders in the church too. The way the world does therapy is pretty silly indeed, but from a Christian perspective it can be one way God speaks through someone else to reach you — just another venue for His word. Remember, God uses doctors to His glory too!

  • Wow, I do this all the time. Sometimes it’s hard to surrender my dreams to God and make sure they’re His will for me because I REALLY REALLY want them to happen, for one reason or another. Thanks for this article!

    • Yes! I do the same thing! I am so desparate to have all these things happen which may be ‘good’ but they are God’s ‘greatest’ that He has for me. Thank you @disqus_8Tzn08gHi3:disqus !

  • Such a great article! Great reminder, too! Thanks for writing. You can even bring it back to Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”

  • M Victoria, are you my Beloved God Mother ????? After all these years. Sincerely, Love in the Lord, Cathy Swann

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 →