With its clever subtitle: "A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations,"Do Hard Things is obviously geared toward adolescents, but is surely a must-read for people of all ages, especially since early on in the reading, the book addresses something called, "The Myth of Adolescence." The book explains that until the 1940's, there was no such thing as a "teenager." You were either a child, or you were an adult. Today, we have adolescents: people who want the pleasures and freedoms of adulthood, minus the responsibility. I mean no disrespect to teenagers in writing that, nor do the authors of Do Hard Things (they are teenagers themselves). But the term "adolescence" in today's society is no longer limited to those aged 13-19. Today, the period known as "adolescence" has officially been extended to age 24! (I do not have documentation for this, but can provide it upon request. As someone with a career in higher education, I can verify that colleges and universities are now considering anyone under the age of 25 an "adolescent," based upon the trends in today's culture.)
I found this particularly intriguing because I was for many years an overgrown teenager. Until the age of 31 I was happy to live my life as a single woman because, quite frankly, I didn't have to share. I have my own room, I get the entire closet to myself, I spend my money any way I darn well please, and when I want to go somewhere, I go. I don't have any "bothersome" children to worry about, or a husband whose permission I need to obtain first. It's freedom all the way, baby!!!
But is this why God created us, so we can be live for ourselves? It wasn't until 2005 that I realized I was in sin. I was refusing to grow up. And Do Hard Things is a book about growing up.
Some of us are still living the single life by choice, not because we were called to singleness by God. Some of us are married, but acting like we're still single in the way we choose to spend our time and money. This is why I say Do Hard Things is not for teenagers per se -- this is a book for adolescents. Some of us are still going through adolescence well into our 20's and 30's. It's time to repent.
You may have been thinking this month that you cannot identify with our theme of change because you don't have anything that need to change as far as a traditional New Year's Resolution is concerned. Perhaps you don't need to lose weight. Perhaps you don't smoke or abuse television or computers. But are you living a childish life?
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. (1 Corinthians 13:11)If you are over the age of sixteen, is time to put away childish things. Sixteen might seem young in our culture, but if you read Do Hard Things, you will see that God did not intend for us to stay children. It is interesting to note that a man's life spans an average of 70 years, but only 15 or 16 of those years are considered childhood. Just as there is only a short amount of time when one is a "child" chronologically, this is symbolic of how spiritually, God does not intend for us to stay a "child" for very long, either. God does not intend for us to remain in our immaturity by prolonging it.
The remainder of the book describes five kinds of "hard things" and offers advice on how to do these things:
1) Things that will take you outside your comfort zone,
2) Things that go beyond what's expected or required,
3) Things that are too big for us to do alone,
4) Things that don't pay off immediately,
5) Things that go against the crowd.
Are you avoiding doing hard things in your life? Are you, like me, suffering from prolonged adolescence? You can change your life with God's help and guidance. Click here to order a copy of Do Hard Things from Westminster Bookstore.