rebelling against low expectations

4 Things The World Doesn’t Expect From Teenagers

4

There’s a new generation arising.

Some call us the iGen or Generation Z. Others refer to us as postmillennials. We’re the heartbeat of this century. We’re known as coffee shop loving, selfie taking, video game playing, fun-loving individuals.

Who are we?

We’re teenagers.

A lot of people have a lot of opinions about us. But few automatically label us as passionate Jesus followers.

I’m out to change that.

What the World Expects

I recently turned twenty. While I no longer own the title of “teenager,” I remember my teen years like they were yesterday (because, well, they practically were).

I know the stigma attached to our age bracket. I’m familiar with the fact that culture expects us to be selfish, irresponsible, and rebellious. I’ve walked beside teenagers battling these assumptions and I also know what it’s like to have people expect me to give in to the pressure.

The world has placed a heavy weight of expectations upon teenagers.

Low expectations? You bet.

But still expectations.

The world expects rebellion. It encourages us to embrace arrogance, follow our hearts, and put our desires first. It emboldens us to go out and do whatever we want, no matter the consequences, because we’re only young once. The culture expects us to give in and follow the flow, no matter where it leads. It tells us emotions can be our god, because our feelings trump everything—even truth. Our peers expect us to fit in. They tell us we need to experience this, wear that, or act like so and so in order to have identity and worth.

Have you felt these expectations? I have. Walk into any store, turn on the TV, or pick up your phone and you’ll find they’re not far away.

Right here, right now, I’m calling these expectations out.

If you’ve felt them, you’ve also felt the emptiness they bring. If you’ve walked in them, you know they never truly satisfy.

We need to live beyond low expectations.

What the World Doesn’t Expect

Here’s the amazing part: we can live beyond these expectations. We don’t have to succumb.

We have a higher authority. And that higher authority is Jesus Christ.

If we follow Jesus, we have a greater standard than the world. While the world is trapped in a cycle of dissatisfying, destructive expectations, we can find freedom. Romans 8:2 tells us “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”

Through Christ, we can be free from the law of sin and death. While following the patterns of the world leads to heartache, disappointment, and emptiness, following Jesus leads to life.

When Jesus died and rose again, He exchanged all our sin and emptiness for forgiveness and wholeness if we accept Him as Savior and Lord. He gave us purpose. He gave us something to live for.

2 Corinthians 5:15 says, “He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” (emphasis mine)

The world tells us to live for ourselves.

Jesus calls us to live for Him.

To throw off the shackles of living for self in exchange for a life of fullness in being Christ’s servant.

Jesus calls us to live for Him. To throw off the shackles of living for self in exchange for a life of fullness in being Christ’s servant. Click To Tweet

Don’t get me wrong—it’s not easy. Choosing Jesus requires us to turn away from the patterns of the world day after day in a display of holy defiance. It means we crucify our flesh, count the cost, pick up a cross, and follow Christ—no matter what.

That kind of lifestyle doesn’t fit into the world, which means we won’t either.

But just like the first taste of the world never satisfies, the first taste of Christ’s love more than satisfies. And that makes the cost more than worth it. He is more than worth it.

Are you ready to break the mold and shatter the expectations of the world with the power of Christ?

The world doesn’t expect us to break the status quo.

But followers of Jesus don’t give in to the status quo. Instead of being conformed to the world, we’re transformed by the renewing of our mind through Christ Jesus. (Romans 12:1)

The world doesn’t expect us to live for something greater than ourselves.

But we know the One we follow is so much greater and completely worthy of all our life poured out at His feet. Our mantra is not “Be yourself” or “Do what makes you happy” but instead, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty,” for we believe He is worthy “to receive glory and honor and power.” (Revelation 4:8-11)

The world doesn’t expect us to start a revival.

But we love this Good News too much to keep it to ourselves. We believe the gospel is worth everything and that it can transform our lives. We believe when Jesus said to “go and make disciples” He meant it. We believe it’s our commission. Not someone else’s. Ours. We don’t wait for someone else to go. Instead we go ourselves. We believe we’re called to be salt and light to a broken, hurting, dark world, and we’ll let our light shine for all the world to see. (Mark 16 and Matthew 5:13-16)

The world doesn’t expect us to follow Jesus.

But for us, there’s no other way to live. It’s all or nothing—and He’s our everything. We’re willing to take up this cross and lose our life in pursuit of Jesus . . . knowing that we’ll find true life along the way. (Matthew 16:24-25)

The world doesn’t expect these things . . . but Jesus does.

Dear teen, it’s time to break the world’s expectations, flip the paradigm, and live sold-out for our God. It’s time to be a generation arising in love with Jesus. Click To Tweet

It’s only by looking to Him, “the author and finisher of our faith” that we can run this race with endurance. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Dear teen, it’s time to break the world’s expectations, flip the paradigm, and live sold-out for our God.

It’s time to be a generation arising in love with Jesus.


Beginning adapted from Love Riot: A Teenage Call to Live With Relentless Abandon for Christ. Order your copy today!


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author

Sara Barratt

is an 20-year-old speaker and author. Her first book, Love Riot: A Teenage Call To Live With Relentless Abandon For Christ released from Baker Books in May 2020. Along with her work on The Rebelution, she also contributes to websites like The Gospel Coalition and Girl Defined. Connect with her on her website sarabarratt.com.

Do Hard Things Community
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