Friday, April 18, 2008

Each One is Different

In reading Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris, you probably got pumped up and encouraged to get out and do hard things for God. The stories and examples laid forth in the book are inspiring examples of teens like us who did amazing things for God!

There's also a possibility, however, that you read the examples and began to fill discouraged. Maybe you felt like you didn't measure up or that the things you did were nothing compared to what others had done. Suddenly your hard things really didn't seem so... hard.

What we need to keep in mind is that each one of us is different, and that we will all have different hard things in our lives. We will also have different seasons with different responsibilities and different opportunities. For some, God may be calling you to branch out and do something incredibly beyond what you would imagine possible! For others, God may have placed in your life many "small hard things" that He wants you to continue to be faithful in doing. Make sure that you read and ponder chapters 5-9 in the book, as they really help explain the 5 different kinds of hard things.

"But," you may protest, "Compared to those other rebelutionaries, what I am doing seems worthless!" Or you may be on the other end of the spectrum, thinking, "Oh, I'm doing great! Compared to all the other lazy, irresponsible teens around me, I'm a wonderful example of a teen living for God!" Both of these attitudes are wrong. 2 Corinthians 10:12 has long been a convicting verse for me:
We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
How many times do we get so caught up in how our lives look in comparison to others, that we take our eyes off of God, the One to Whom we should look for approval? Compared to one, we may not look glamorous at all; compared to another, we may look great! But our Heavenly Father is the One we should seek, and His plans are the ones we should follow.

Don't get me wrong: it's great to be inspired by the examples of teens such as the ones in the book, and it should spur us on to ask God if He would have bigger things for us. But in it all, we must remember to be faithful where God has placed us. If we're consumed with trying to start a ministry to reach thousands while neglecting the small things God wants us to, like serving our family or growing in His Word, we're going to fall short. In the same way, if we're caught up in having every little thing in order before we even dare step out in faith, we're going to miss out on the big things God may be trying to lead us in to.

As you've probably learned so far, it can be a delicate balance! Just remember that you will most likely have different "hard things" then your close friend or the blogger you admire. It's part of the beauty of the body of Christ - we're each equipped to do different things that together make a difference. Learn and grow from others' examples, but make sure that your focus is on what God has for you. And in whatever you do, make sure that you do it to bring God, not yourself, glory.

Discussion Questions:
  • What are some of the hard things God is calling you to in this season of life?
  • Do you find "big hard things" (those that others see) or "small hard things" (the daily things you don't receive much praise for) more challenging?


Ella said...

Wow! Anna...taking all of my ideas and posts! Even though I am not finished with the book, I have laughed and been convicted.

YOu are right, we can think that our hard things are comparison to others. But they are what God has called us to right now. I think both big hard things and small hard things are both equally hard, but it takes way more guts to see the small ones through to completion when no one is praising. But God is. And that is who we are to please anyway!

Blessings to you, my friend!

Mardi said...

I have not read the book yet, but I am glad I read this post. I have struggeled and still do with comparing myself to others, for example I am 21 and compared to a lot of people my age and younger I haven't done a lot. Or I feel at times I have not accomplished all that I could during my teen years. I also have struggled with trying to have all my ducks in a row before stepping out in faith that God will see me through and take me where He leads. I praise God that He is helping me out of both attitudes, and showing me who I am in Him, who He created me to be and that I should be concerned more with measuring up to His standards then mine or anyone elses. This blog encouraged me! Thanks for sharing, I look forward even more to reading the book!

Maria Pauline said...

Thanks for the reminder Anna! It is so hard to be humble and so easy to take my eyes off Jesus.

Just doing the work I have is hard for me, but I know that I will be rewarded if I finish on time. :) I think small hard things are harder because we forget or overlook them and it is so hard to be diligent.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna
My name is Gill and I live in South Africa. I found your blog via my friend's blog and I just wanted to say that your post was so encouraging to me. I havnt read that book before but I was challenged by your words.

Sloan said...

Great post Anna! You are amazing.

Ok... This is REALLY off topic but I have been dying to ask you so I am going to. When speaking of chores, my family calls it home blessing, do you have specific jobs to do? Do you have a schedule for your day? Are you a early riser? I am getting better at home blessing but still I am having a little bit of trouble. I thought you would be JUST the young lady to ask.

Sloan <><

Anna Naomi said...

I'm glad this has ministered to you all! It's been something on my herat for a while.

Ella: I guess we must think alike! =) We've gone through much of the same things, and I too have trouble comparing myself to others - hence the post!

Mardi: Your struggles are ones I can definitely understand! Praise God for His faithfulness in guiding us! You will enjoy the book!

Maria Pauline: Yes, small things can be harder because they are overlooked. Sometimes for me, however, "big" hard things are scarier. I sometimes have it easier doing the normal daily scheduled things, though it can be hard to be consistent, then stepping outside of my comfort zone and doing something big and scary! =)

Sloan: As far as chores go, we haven't had a lot of specific chores assigned to us, but I have taken on a lot for myself. We've always had turns for dishes, currently my sister and I do them every-other-day. And we often have certain rooms that we clean when company comes, mine usually being the kitchen and bathroom. Trying to keep our home neater (because I am of a nature that likes schedule and organization!) I've tried to have a schedule where I clean 1 room each day. I also took on most of the cooking, as I really enjoy doing it and wanted more homemade things.

As far as schedules go, I have a to-do list that I make daily, with things I want to try to get done. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to check things off as I go! I don't have a regimented schedule (though I tired in the past) that has every hour planned out, however! Just a rough guide to help me along.

By nature, I'm a night owl, as I tend to wake up more in the later hours and sometimes have trouble going to bed on time. However, I am trying to be an early riser, as I get so much more done that way! I try to get up at 6 a.m. each weekday, although sometimes it doesn't happen.

Sheila said...

That is so good! As I've been reading the book, I've felt a bit frustrated, and this post helped me figure it all out. Thank you!!!