rebelling against low expectations

Why Small Hard Things Are As Important As Big Hard Things


I lay on my bed, curled up as small as I could.

No tears, just silent in my thoughts. I wrapped myself in my arms, squeezing harder the more I wished my thoughts would quit their tormenting.

I had just begun thinking over my day when it all came flashing back, and I could feel the blood rush to my face. I had done it again—I had said something ridiculous, as if flaunting my stupidity in public. Everyone laughed and so I did too, hiding my embarrassment. But now, several hours after the sun had gone down, I lay awake tormented by how silly I must have looked…again.

I believed the easy lie that I was stupid, worthless, and insignificant. I hid my face with a pillow, as if that would hide my embarrassment all over again.

How in the world could I do hard things in life if I couldn’t even speak straight in public? How could I do those amazing gospel empowered acts if I embarrassed myself every time I stepped out my front door?

Obviously, I must be too sensitive. But being a perfectionist, I hate looking ridiculous and messing up, especially in public. I’m nineteen years old and should have my life all together, right? I should be that perfect college student who juggles classes and homework with a forty plus hour work schedule. I should be the girl who has her entire future planned out, hand written on an index card. I’m nineteen years old—am I not an adult who should no longer struggle with fears and insecurities?

Sometimes I look at my life and begin to wonder why God has me here. Why I couldn’t be as smart as that person, or as sophisticated as that girl.

While teens my age are off in Africa digging wells for dying people, I am fighting addiction to technology. While teens my age are working two or three jobs because they are the only financial support their families have, I am washing dishes for my parents or babysitting little children. While teens my age are living on their own and taking care of themselves, I am learning how to drive for the first time and preparing myself to live independently on a college campus.

I find it amusing how God brings us encouragement in the most unique kind of ways. And one way he has brought me encouragement lately is through the wise words of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional character, Gandalf. In The Hobbit Gandalf is questioned in bringing a homely hobbit with him on an epic quest.

Gandalf’s answer is quite endearing: “I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay…small acts of kindness and love.”

If we’re being totally honest we all find ourselves, at one point or another, wondering if our mundane lives are making an impact on the world. We all want to be world changers and yet most of us turn up our noses at washing the dirty dishes. We all want to be the leader, forgetting that in order to be a leader we must first learn how to be a servant.

We all want to be the leader, forgetting that in order to be a leader we must first learn how to be a servant. Click To Tweet

Let us look at Jesus’s words in John 13:14-16. Here he tells his disciples, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.”

It’s oftentimes the small, mundane acts of kindness and love that changes the world. It may sound cliché, especially when you feel small and insignificant in the grand scheme of life. However, God never called us to the spotlight in the center of stage. No, God calls us to the near impossible feat of holiness–and that journey is oftentimes ordinary and difficult. It is a process of chipping away at self and being sanctified in the purity of God.

God doesn’t want our public heroism. He wants our hearts—he wants us to be totally in love with him. The single greatest “hard thing” we as Christ-followers can do is live totally abandoned to Christ in a world that despises him. God calls his people not always to the stage of Christianity, but to work “behind the scenes.”

The single greatest hard thing we as Christ-followers can do is live totally abandoned to Christ in a world that despises him. Click To Tweet

Obedience is oftentimes choosing to love the unloveable. Or choosing joy when despair and depression would be so much easier. Sometimes God calls us to put our own work on hold so that we can help out a friend in need. Sometimes the call of obedience is running water over soapy dirty dishes for the third time in one day simply because it helps out your parents or makes home life run more smoothly.

Slowly I am learning that living obediently to Christ is way more important than living the superstar teen life. Living obediently to Christ is not just for the highly intelligent, super sophisticated, or really beautiful people. And for that I am extremely grateful—because then I would probably be left out! God’s grace is for the humble servant, the one who admits their need for a savior.

God undoubtedly does extraordinary things through ordinary people. Look at Moses. Despite his speech impairment, God called Moses to free the Israelites from the Egyptian captivity. Though Moses gave excuses and claimed it was impossible for him to accurately communicate, God gave a surprising answer. In Exodus 4:11-12 God told his servant Moses, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”

God can use his children no matter their apparent outward “flaws.” God never calls his children worthless– no creation of his could ever be worthless or a mistake because he is perfect and therefore incapable of making a mistake. God has made every single human being according to his infinite will and design.

No creation of his could ever be worthless or a mistake because he is perfect and therefore incapable of making a mistake. Click To Tweet

The things we think of as small and insignificant are exactly the acts of obedience God has called us to. Nothing he has set before us is small or insignificant. In fact, every task he has given us is something of great significance and uttermost importance in his kingdom.

As a final reminder, let us look at Colossians 3:23-24, which says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

Let us live solely for Christ and do those hard, mundane things for him!

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About the author

Faye Lentine

is a homeschool graduate, college freshman, and editor for TheRebelution. She is an avid dog lover, amateur photographer, growing artist, and writer. Faye loves sharing the good news of the gospel through writing. You can follow her blog at

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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 →