Doing Hard Things In My Life

September 27, 2007 — 8 Comments

rebelution

Do Hard Things. I’ve been completely taken by that statement, completely changed by that statement, completely revolutionized — no, I’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 “do hard things” make such an impact? How can two teenage twin boys go out and start a movement that is heralded as “what our generation has been waiting for”? 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, it’s not always thrilling, and it’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 isn’t the same. This story is not to brag, or to boost one person’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.

The Family

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 “good” in the world’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,

“Oh, 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.”

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 – that was hard! I could encourage my brother, I could restrain my anger, I could pray for my family members. I found myself “doing hard things” 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 wouldn’t kill me! When my brother needed someone to make him a sandwich, I did the “hard thing” and made it instead of making my own and leaving him to fend for himself. When he needed a drink, I didn’t avoid him or tune him out. I have applied James command that “everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” 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 God’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 “hard things” 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 “fun songs” and gospel-centered songs with my friends and family. It’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, I’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 – it was physically and mentally challenging. But I did it by the grace of God.

Now, I’m leading worship, and it’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 “I want to speak and teach” but “I want to be a servant” and “where can I serve?” 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 “amazing” 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 employee’s uniforms. That is not what I call an easy task — in fact, I consider one of the “hardest” 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 “unit training” within the store. It hasn’t been easy, and I’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).

It’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. It’s the “real deal.” 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 “hard times are coming, and they are coming fast.” I’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 “hard times.” Yet we are ready for these “hard things.” 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

Tim Sweetman

Posts

Tim Sweetman is a young writer, blogger, and student who lives near our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. He has been much more widely known by his “code-name,” Agent Tim. This name also served as the name of his popular blog, which received over 750,000 visits between 2005 to 2007. In 2005, he quickly rose to become a leading teenage spokesperson and cultural critic within the booming blogosphere, taking on issues such as MySpace, alcohol, homeschooling, pride, racism, tolerance, and other topics relating to our culture today. His blog has come to the attention of people such as Albert Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, Alex and Brett Harris, and La Shawn Barber. Tim’s written work has appeared in Lifeway’s Living With Teenagers (February 2012), Lookout Magazine, FUSION Magazine, The Brink Online, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Virtue Magazine, Regenerate Our Culture Online Magazine, and on many other blogs and websites across the internet like Marry Well and the Lies Young Women Believe Blog. He has also been featured in WORLD Magazine, The Towers Magazine, and Maryland Newsline. He is scheduled to have an article appear in Veritas Magazine this December. Most recently, his work can be found on Focus on the Family’s Boundless Webzine. His personal interests include writing (surprise!) and sports, both watching and playing. He is a die-hard Washington Redskins fan.

8 responses to Doing Hard Things In My Life

  1. Tim, your post was inspiring! Keep doing hard things for the glory of God above!

    Every blessing,
    ~Nella Sound-Out

  2. Tim,

    Ditto to Nella. Indeed, your post was quite inspiring, challenging, and encouraging. Keep pressing on for Christ–He will continue to do geat things in your life!

    In the matchless name of Christ,

    Matt

  3. Tim:

    Thank you for the inspiration to keep Doing Hard Things for the glory and honor of Christ! May He richly bless you for your desire to glorify Him.

    –chad

  4. Great to read your testimony of God working in your life. Especially meaningful was the example of serving siblings. It can be so difficult to do such small things as making sandwiches and fetching drinks, but isn’t it encouraging that God notices when we’re faithful in little?

  5. You sound really cool and mature for being a teenager. I am seventeen also. Where ARE guys like you?

  6. I actually have been thinking about “Do hard Things” in my life as well. Hard things are kind of, well, hard. (Imagine that!) So it isn’t always easy. :) Thanks for the encouragement. It’s always good to know that you aren’t the only one striving to do hard things!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

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    [...] on Myspace. Stay tuned here for more on MySpace and social networking sites. « Doing Hard Things In My Life My Story of [...]

  2. Agent Tim Online » Blog Archive » The Struggle of Rebelution - October 8, 2007

    [...] with doing hard things. It had been alluded to in the previous two articles on the rebelution (Doing Hard Things In My Life and My Story of Rebelution), and this will be the final true essay (if it can be called that), as [...]

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