rebelling against low expectations

Don’t Harden Yourself

D

My dad has been addicted to alcohol for as long as I can remember.

I remember that, when I was younger, I used to cry about it – a lot. So did my sister. But my older brother… he never cried, and he still doesn’t. He never lets his emotions shine through the stone-cold look he places on his face.

While we wept, he crossed his arms and acted like he didn’t care.

I remember asking him why. Why did it never seem like Dad’s drinking bothered him? I wanted to feel like that – I hated crying, and honestly, I still do. I wanted to be able to harden myself, to numb the pain that I was feeling.

My brother only shrugged, crossed his arms, and said, “I don’t care anymore. I’ve hardened myself.”

Wow. I thought that was fascinating. I wanted to feel like he did – like it didn’t matter, like it’s nothing to cry over. I didn’t want to feel weak. So, over the next year, whenever my dad drank, and yelled, and swore at us, I didn’t cry. I put on the most determined face, stood my ground instead of fleeing to my room to cry, and I was mad.

I was very, very wrong in doing that. Philippians 4:7 states, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I wasn’t letting the peace of God guard my heart, I was letting my own anger do that (it it wasn’t doing a very good job, either). The sorrow I felt was replaced by anger, hatred, and pure rage. And so, slowly, bit by bit, I built a stone wall around my tender heart.

No one can hurt me now, I thought. No one would be able to make me feel sad anymore, right?

Wrong.

Every time I felt like I wanted to cry, the feeling was bottled up and placed in the deepest, darkest corner of my soul. Eventually, I’d hardened myself to the point where my mood was affected, I was often depressed, and I found myself getting caught up in sticky situations because of lies I’d told and rules I’d rebelled against.

I was becoming that once-innocent Christian kid who went bad because of how I handled my situation. And I didn’t want to, but I didn’t know how to stop.

I’d hardened myself too much. I barely even knew how to cry anymore.

With the help of some friends, family, and a few ah-mazing books (Do Hard Things especially), my rebellious streak came to a screeching halt and I realized that I’d gone hard, that I needed to change it, and most importantly, how to change it.

I had to…

  1. Realize the wall around my heart was becoming a danger to my relationships with my family, my friends, and Christ.
  2. Confess to God that I was broken and I needed the help He had been graciously offering me the whole time but I had rejected.
  3. Break that bottle of emotions and just cry.

All that happened only about two weeks ago. There is still a wall around my heart, but, with the help of God, it’s slowly becoming smaller… and smaller… and smaller.

We don’t want to feel weak, so we harden ourselves instead. 2 Corinthians 12:10 says, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

We don’t need to be hard. We need to be weak in our hearts so that we can be strong in Christ.

So, don’t harden yourself. We’re human, not concrete.


Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Section!

There are currently 10 Comments


 

About the author

Anika Walkes

is a young writer, blogger, bookdragon, and unicorn who also has a passion for photography and graphic design. She grew up in a Christian home, but was saved by grace through faith at age 9, and then was saved again (yes, twice!) at age 12. She is currently a freshman living out her faith and sharing the Lord’s light everywhere she can – in her writing, her blog anikawalkes.com, and her life!

By Anika Walkes
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 →

Resources