Why We Do Hard Things

The teen authors of Do Hard Things are challenging you to join their rebellion against low expectations.
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In 2005, twin brothers Alex and Brett Harris started a blog that grew so popular that it led to a full website (therebelution.com), a series of conferences, and their first book, Do Hard Things (Multnomah). Ignite Your Faith talked to them about their message, politics, and how God has always used young people.

What is the basic message of your book and the conferences?

Alex: Well, the core idea is what we call The Rebelution. That's combining the words rebellion and revolution for a new word we define as a teenage rebellion against low expectations. Our society expects very little of teens. They expect us to be immature, irresponsible, and rebellious. They don't expect us to do anything meaningful or to care about things that are meaningful. But that's a lie. Young people are capable. Inside, we want to be challenged. We know there's more to life, there's more to the teen years.

What uniquely Christian aspects are there to your message of Do Hard Things?

Brett: We believe the only way we can truly be faithful in doing hard things with the right motivation—a heart to serve and not to promote ourselves—is to be rooted in the gospel. We have to root it in what Jesus Christ did for us. He did the ultimate hard thing, which was to reconcile us to God through laying down his life, rising from the dead, and saving us from our sin. And that's why we get up every day. That's why we do hard things.

For you guys, doing hard things means being very active in politics and reading challenging books. But what does doing hard things mean for others?

Alex: Well, we do think young people should be reading books and being involved in politics. But doing hard things looks different for everyone. Something that's hard for us may not be hard for you and vice versa. "Do hard things" doesn't mean "do this list of things." It especially doesn't mean "do the things Alex and Brett are doing." It means do what's hard for you. It really is just a mindset change: It's trusting God enough to obey him even when it's hard.

Speaking of politics, you campaigned for presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee. What did you learn in this work?

Brett: We learned about the power of the ordinary citizen to make a huge difference by seeking God and saying, "Look, that's the guy who I think best represents my values. I'm going to work for him now." This was a case where a lot of people, many of them evangelicals, rallied behind a candidate who most people didn't think had a chance, and made him the surprise of the entire primary election, winning Iowa, showing strong on Super Tuesday and being the last candidate in the race before McCain clinched the nomination.

Now that the race is between Obama and McCain, what are your thoughts?

Brett: As Christians, our role in politics is to fight for the best candidate. That was Mike Huckabee for us, and we fought hard all the way till the end. Now, it's a Christian responsibility to switch to the next best candidate. For us, the decision comes down to core issues like sanctity of life and marriage and some of these values that as Christians we hold very dear. However, we have to recognize that our hope is not in politics but it's in God. So we're fighting for revival at the same time that we're supporting any certain candidate.

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