A few years ago, the Rebelution had a huge influence on my life and still does. Started by teens, Alex and Brett Harris, it's a movement that encourages teens to do hard things and live above the expectations of our culture. I made friends and connected with people I otherwise may never have met.
I read the book Do Hard Things several times, and although I loved the principles, I felt I had a difficult time applying them. Yes, I was doing the small hard things, I was living in a way and making decisions most teens didn't, but it didn't feel that significant. I wasn't doing any big, hard things, the kinds of things that impact the people around me or cause leaps and bounds of growth in my life.
Late last year, I turned 20. I wasn't a "teenager" anymore and I felt like I had kind of missed out on the Rebelution in my own life. But early this year, some significant changes happened in my life that threw me into hard things I didn't feel prepared for. I felt like I was only starting to do hard things once my teen years were over.
This past summer, I decided to move further out of my comfort zone and take action. I began planning a fundraiser for International Justice Mission Canada. (I think it was also through the Rebelution that I initially learned about Zach Hunter and IJM.) Not just a small fundraiser, but one that involves multiple local churches to form a community event that will be taking place later this fall. I have never planned a fundraiser before, let alone such a large event like this involving so many people, nor do I know anyone who has. After speaking to IJM, I found out they have never had anyone plan an event like this either. I'm really doing something in a way nobody has done it before, I don't know how the results will turn out, but I'm excited that I'm taking action, doing hard things, and hopefully inspiring others to do the same.
I feel like an over-aged Rebelutionary. At times I wished I had done these sort of hard things in my teens. But in the past month or so, I have come to view it differently. I have seen the things in my teen years that prepared me for this, like my previous job, or my decision to leave the public school system when it didn't make any sense. I have come to see character traits in my life that often come out negatively, but can be channeled in this fundraising project in a positive way to do good. The skills I have developed, the experience I've had, and even the character qualities that often cause tension in my relationships are assets and qualities that greatly aid me in the work I'm doing.
What I'm ultimately getting at is this: Don't get discouraged that you didn't do more in the past. Don't just regret what you didn't do. Rather do something now and look to new opportunities for growth. I look back at my teen years now, and yes, I regret some things. But I also see how much they prepared me for the work I am doing now. I look at how much I have grown in the last eight months after my teen years. I have faced challenges, been thrown out of my comfort zone, but it has caused me to grow and do things I otherwise wouldn't have thought possible and wouldn't have been possible without that season of preparation.
I don't want to go through life asking why I didn't do more last year. But I do want to go through life and look back and say I did more, I lived more fully, I did harder things, I grew more this year than last year. The Rebelution isn't just for teens. It's for everyone, especially for the Christian and should be applied and lived out throughout our whole life. It's great if the foundation can be laid in our youth, but growth will happen in later years as well.
My desire is that in the coming years, I will continue to use my single years to grow and do harder things, that it will prepare me for the marriage and family I will one day have. I also pray that I will continue to look back, not with regret, but with joy and satisfaction, knowing that God has led me, that I took up opportunities, that I did harder things, that I loved more, served more, and have grown stronger in faith and in character with each year.
Is your desire the same?