Do Hard Things. Iâ€™ve been completely taken by that statement, completely changed by that statement, completely revolutionized — no, Iâ€™ve been rebelutionized — by that statement. It has spurred on conferences, a book, hundreds of blogs, thousands of teens, hundreds of parents, and just one 17-year-old young man from the D.C. area. The question is, how can a simple statement like â€œdo hard thingsâ€ make such an impact? How can two teenage twin boys go out and start a movement that is heralded as â€œwhat our generation has been waiting forâ€? How do thousands of teenagers start a rebellion against rebellion? How can that change some 17-year-old kid?
This is a story of just one young man applying Do Hard Things. It is not always exciting, itâ€™s not always thrilling, and itâ€™s not always spectacular. In fact, in many respects, it is very ordinary, very plain, and very dull. Yet when you look at it from a slightly different angle — that angle of truly doing hard things — you see something rebelutionarily different. Something just isnâ€™t the same. This story is not to brag, or to boost one personâ€™s pride, or to promote one individual. Instead, it is dedicated to showing how the gospel has changed one human being and how the application of do hard things truly is making an impact on this generation.
I make no claim that my family is perfect. In fact, its imperfections may come primarily from me more than anyone else. If I could claim I was the worst of sinners with Paul — well, I would certainly do it with him, and indeed, I feel that I do rank up there. The wickedness of my heart is evident each and every day, and more and more I see that the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart is far from holy. Some days it is certainly â€œgoodâ€ in the worldâ€™s blurry and gray eyes, yet I know in the eyes of God I am far from a drop in the bucket of dust on the scales. There is no scale that can weight me — my insignificance is beyond measure. Yet praise be to God, the very creator, I do matter because of the gospel. God so loved this world — His mercy so vast — that he sent His Son, Jesus Christ, as the perfect, atoning, propitiation for my sin. He took my place — I deserved the wrath of God for my sin, yet Jesus was there on that cross. Oh, the glorious cross!
May we forever sing with Paul,
â€œOh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
Who has know the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?
Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.â€
I began to apply Do Hard Things a few years ago in my family — and I found very quickly that when I truly do apply it, things radically changed. Imagine me speaking words that built others up instead of tearing them to the ground â€“ that was hard! I could encourage my brother, I could restrain my anger, I could pray for my family members. I found myself â€œdoing hard thingsâ€ specifically in denying myself. It was hard for me to put others first, to make myself the lowest. I found that I found great joy in allowing others their way. When my siblings chose a certain movie to watch that I despised, I watched it. It certainly wouldnâ€™t kill me! When my brother needed someone to make him a sandwich, I did the â€œhard thingâ€ and made it instead of making my own and leaving him to fend for himself. When he needed a drink, I didnâ€™t avoid him or tune him out. I have applied James command that â€œeveryone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for manâ€™s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.â€ Simple things, yet so hard.
I still wrestle with many of these things — well, actually, all of them — but I find improvement all the time. I find myself doing the hard thing by being in Godâ€™s Word daily — studying it, not only reading it — and then taking what I have studied and applying it to my life. This has radically changed the way I interact with my family.
I could certainly continue and tell you story after story about how I have done â€œhard thingsâ€ in the area of family, but I feel that I need to move on towards the next category: my church. Now, once again, I will remind you that I wish not to brag about my achievements — a danger perhaps when doing hard things — but rather to present to you a feeble instrument that has been used by God.
In the Church
At my church, I have been involved for many years in the youth worship team. This year, I have become much more involved in that, taking the lead, wrestling with the doctrine of worship, wrestling with the issues of â€œfun songsâ€ and gospel-centered songs with my friends and family. Itâ€™s been a long, hard road.
It all began when I decided to do a hard thing — learn guitar. Most people who set out to learn guitar in High School pick up just enough to be lousy. In contrast, I worked hard to teach myself guitar, and today I am leading with my guitar on the worship team — actually, Iâ€™m the only one in the youth group who can play well enough to do the job. In fact, our worship team has just recently been invited to lead worship at another church in the area for youth groups gathering together for worship and fellowship. But back to the guitar — I taught myself, and now I feel semi-confident that I call myself better than beginner. That was a hard thing to do — it was not easy learning the guitar. Your fingers hurt â€“ it was physically and mentally challenging. But I did it by the grace of God.
Now, Iâ€™m leading worship, and itâ€™s amazing. Yet it continues to be a hard thing, a constant struggle between different views of how to do things on the team to struggling within myself about worship. It is by the grace of God that I continue and He continues to bless me in so many ways as I grow more and more gospel-centered.
Also, I have been given the opportunity to be at the church each Wednesday afternoon just to help with whatever needs to be done. At a college I visited, they stated that if you want to be involved in any type of ministry, or want to speak and teach, you need to start with the preschoolers. You need to start not by going to your church and saying â€œI want to speak and teachâ€ but â€œI want to be a servantâ€ and â€œwhere can I serve?â€ That is what I am hopefully doing as I transcribe videos, make copies, write power point, and act as messenger, assistant, and jolly-rancher eater at my church.
At My Work
I consider the story at work a progressing one (as all the others) — yet still â€œamazingâ€ in many regards, considering that I am 17 and managing the entire training process at a restaurant. Not only that, but I take care of over 50 employeeâ€™s uniforms. That is not what I call an easy task — in fact, I consider one of the â€œhardestâ€ things that I have done. I began work there as a team member, working hard to learn and grow, and within a year I was a unit trainer. Shortly thereafter I took over the position of coordinator of all â€œunit trainingâ€ within the store. It hasnâ€™t been easy, and Iâ€™m still learning the job, and still working to do this hard thing that has been placed in my life to help me grow.
I consider myself very much unworthy of the job in many respects, especially considering my age. Yet my supervisors believed in me, and have given me this awesome opportunity, to which I am forever thankful. I would never be doing what I do or making what I make if it had not been for the great encouragement and belief I have had from those over me. It is true that I worked very hard; I showed up early, I stayed late, I was fast, I did quality work, and I was reliable. But those things still prove little until you are in the position I now hold (and have held for less than a month).
Itâ€™s the rubber meeting the road — doing hard things for me includes handling a budget for money, pressure from employees desiring new uniforms, tracking uniforms and making phone calls to businesses. It includes creating training procedures, carrying out those procedures, managing a training team, recertifying employees, and doing paperwork. Itâ€™s the â€œreal deal.â€ And here I am, doing hard things — and giving all the glory to God for this wonderful opportunity!
Who knows what the future leads for my job or career, but I do know that what I am doing now — these hard things — are growing me for the future. I see all three of these areas where I am now learning and training by doing hard things preparing me for true hard things that are to come. This week, I overheard a Christian producer at our store comment to another man with him that â€œhard times are coming, and they are coming fast.â€ Iâ€™m not certain what he meant by that statement, but I think I agree. Hard times for our generation, our world, and especially the church are coming soon. The family is in turmoil and â€œhard times.â€ Yet we are ready for these â€œhard things.â€ We are training. We are ready to do hard things. Start bringing them on.
Still To Come // Do Hard Things In My Life // My Story of Rebelution // The Struggle of Rebelution // Holiness and the Rebelution