rebelling against low expectations

You Can’t Do Everything–And Why You Shouldn’t Even Try

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We have stretched ourselves thin for too long.

We are writers, STEMers, and musicians. We rehearse with the worship team or change diapers in the nursery, work 40 hours a week at a minimum wage job, and stay up all night filing information into our brains for AP and college courses.

And while we’re at it, maybe we could start an Instagram account, no, a blog, no, a book! Because there’s a whole wide world out there, and it needs influencing.

Except we don’t know how to influence the world. We don’t even know how to manage our own lives. We’re crumbling into pieces, one stress fracture at a time.

This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. A healthy Rebelutionary doesn’t hold themselves to impossible standards–yet that is exactly what we’re doing. We’re not only crushing low expectations, we’re setting the expectations so high, that the tallest giraffe couldn’t reach them.

We Are Crushed by Ambition

It’s an all-or-nothing world, isn’t it? Double your majors, dual enroll, take extra shifts, monetize your hobbies, dip your toes in the dating pool, and wait for your inevitable role in the showing of “Boss-Mommy-Author-Artist-Blogger-Traveler-Superhero-Whimsical-Fairy-Queen.” (Guys, I’m sure there’s a name for you too.)

And we wonder why this generation stay up all night, sleep through classes, and run themselves ragged every hour of every day of every week.

Surely, technology caused this epidemic of teen anxiety and depression blanketing the entire country. It must be cell phones or social media.

Unless it could have something to do with the increasing pressures of an overwhelming, overstimulating, overachieving world.

We are scared. We are scared of not fulfilling all that’s expected of us, scared of chasing our dreams and falling flat on our concealer-coated faces. Opportunity is a two sided coin. On the one side, there’s the golden halo of success. On the other, there’s the dumpster of failure.We are scared. Opportunity is a two sided coin. On the one side, there’s the golden halo of success. On the other, there’s the dumpster of failure. Click To Tweet

At some point or another, we all fail at something. And I would guess, a lot of us spend most of our years digging in the dumpster. Our expectations are so high, we can never reach them; and in our own eyes, fearing the judging eyes of others, this failure can become our identity.

Is this to be our fate?

Set Aside Your Expectations

You do not have to be everything.

Just because you can do a lot of things doesn’t mean you have to do them all. You don’t have to run in fifteen directions at once, searching for a name for yourself–when your worth is already decided.

There’s only one goal that matters in this life, only one way to ever measure up. God looks upon me with grace because of Jesus’ righteousness wrapped around my shoulders. And if he loves me as I am, without fame or fortune, I don’t have to pursue those things. All I need is him.

When we have this basis for our identity, we don’t have to search a billion paths for success. We don’t have to work ourselves to death trying to be the perfect student, the perfect artist, or the perfect Christian. Instead, we get to enjoy creativity and work and learning, and to do well in the particular callings to which he calls us.

The grace of God has appeared in salvation, uprooting our habits and renewing our motivations till our lives are transformed. Our hope is not in earthly success, not in worldly treasures, but in the return of Christ (Titus 2:11-13).

With this in mind, we are free to live as quietly and simply as fits our calling (1 Thessalonians 4:10-12). A nine-to-five middle class life is no less worthy than an influencer lifestyle. A community college is no less respectable than an ivy league school.

It’s not the type of life you’ve been given that determines your success, but how you choose to live it. We’re called to godliness.

Find Your Peace in Christ

Only Jesus can satisfy the longing and the searching. He orders the meaningless void of our self-centered lives and instills them with purpose, with a confidence unshakable. We belong to him, for his glory, for eternity. And our life in heaven will be indescribably superior to this sin-wrecked earth.

No matter what happens, Jesus is in control of your life. He has purchased his people through his own blood on the cross, and he is pleased with the simple act of believing in him. Our job is to trust him, to obey his commands, and to become an outpouring of his love.

We don’t have to be all the world tells us to be. We have Christ, and even when we are not, he is always enough.


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About the author

Olivia Morgan White

Olivia Morgan White is a dual-enrolled high school senior. A nonfiction writer turned novelist, she writes to connect with fellow introvert/hobbits and hopes that by connecting with made up characters and worlds, her readers will be empowered to engage with and impact the world around them. You can find more of her writing at her website.

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 →

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