rebelling against low expectations

Don’t Do Hard Things By Yourself


Are you a dreamer?

I’ve noticed a lot of Rebelutionaries tend to be dreamers. Crazy dreamers. We passionately come up with projects and ideas totally ridiculous for a teenager to realistically accomplish.

Sometimes, we realize that reality and give up on our dreams. Yet a lot of the time—often because of our ignorance—we dive right in and go for it anyway. Sometimes we fall flat on our face. But other times, God takes our crazy impossible dreams and reminds us that he’s the God of the impossible and that he works through the weak when we submit to him.

I’ve seen this happen in my own life.

When I founded a magazine with my friends at age twelve. When I wrote a book a month after being given a month to live. When I ran with a friend’s suggestion and organized a conference with only a tiny window of preparation.

I’ve also seen this happen in many other Rebelutionary’s lives. When Riley Banks dreamed of helping people in Africa. When Brett and Alex Harris dreamed up The Rebelution. When Jaquelle Farris dreamed of being a teenage author.

All of these dreams had one thing in common that enabled them to become a reality. None of these people pursued their dreams by themselves. Every single one of them had a whole lot of help.

As Rebelutionaries, it can be so tempting to do hard things on our own. Others might not have our passion or commitment to the project. They might mess things up or make things go more slowly. They might take over our dream, pushing us out of the picture. A lot of the time, it seems easier to just do it ourselves.

But that’s not the way God created the world to work. He said it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone, and so God gave him Eve. Jesus didn’t just choose one disciple, he chose twelve. God created us to live in families and communities, to be part of a team, and to be part of the Body of Christ. We weren’t meant to serve him on our own.

Isn’t that freeing and relieving?

Sure, working with other people can be a hassle, but if we do it on our own, our chances of success go way down. Working with other people has so many advantages:

—Other people can help us plan and brainstorm.

—They can pick up the slack when we need a break.

—Having people to help protects us from burnout.

—Getting feedback from others about a project helps us to make wise decisions and to use our time well.

I’m not good at letting people help—it’s often hard to release my tender dreams into someone else’s hands. But a friend recently pointed out a Bible hero who also recruited help. You see, this Bible hero was in charge of leading a huge group of difficult people and he was getting overwhelmed.

You guessed it—Moses.

The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening. When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, ‘What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?’” (Exodus 18:13-14)

Morning to evening is a long time to settle people’s arguments. Even parents don’t usually have to settle arguments between siblings for that long.

And Moses said to his father-in-law, ‘Because the people come to me to inquire of God; when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws.’” (Exodus 18:15-16)

Moses was right. God had put these people into his care. And God had appointed Moses as the Israelites’ intercessor. But sometimes taking care of the projects and people God puts in your care means letting someone else help.

Moses’ father-in-law said to him, ‘What you are doing is not good. You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone.” (Exodus 18:17-18)

When God gives us a dream or we take on a project, it’s important that we pray about what part he wants us to do. God wanted Moses to go between him and the people, but that didn’t mean Moses was supposed to solve each of the thousands of Israelites’ problems.

For example, the United States’ Secretary of State is the country’s “head ambassador” but that doesn’t mean he or she is supposed to be in every country all the time, fixing everything. Instead, there are ambassadors specifically for each country. It’s simply too much for one person.

However, as you seek help for your project, it’s crucial to choose the right people. If you’re starting a blog, the best people to help you aren’t necessarily your best friends. The best people to help will be people who love to write and have a passion for your blog’s message.

Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.’” (Exodus 18:21-23)

Things are hard enough without trying to do it all ourselves.

So Rebelutionary, ask for help!

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About the author

Sara Willoughby

is the 20-year-old author of He's Making Diamonds: A Teen's Thoughts on Faith Through Chronic Illness. She loves to read, write, and have adventures, be it off to Narnia one more time, wading through mud chasing the family dog, or playing a new board game with her two younger siblings. Sara is also a Lymie, TCK, and Bright Lights leader. You can find her at

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By Sara Willoughby
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 →