Recently, Ryan’s friend lent me a bag of books to read and review. He said he didn’t have time to read through them himself, but wanted to know which were worth keeping on his bookshelf, which ones were worth recommending to others. The night that Ryan showed me the bag full of books was like Christmas morning! Since I’ll be jotting down some notes about each book, I thought I’d share my thoughts with you, too.
My first selection from the stack was Alex & Brett Harris’ Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations. I’ve had my eye on this book for three years and was excited to finally have the chance to read the title that I’ve seen in the hands of teenagers at church, in all of the Christian catalogs, and on the end-caps in bookstores.
My short review for our friend: Yes, keep it on your shelf! Yes, recommend it to everyone!
Here’s the note I’ll pass along when I return this book to its owner:
When I was a teenager, I loved something about Dar Williams singing, “Teenagers, kick our butts, tell us what the future holds. Teenagers, look at us, we have not solved everything.” I guess I felt happy that she acknowledged our value to society. I appreciated her personal desire to learn from a group of people that were otherwise, apparently, devoid of social worth. I couldn’t anticipate that her plea would make more and more sense as I zoomed out of my teens and into my thirties. I didn’t realize that it would make more and more sense as I grew into the church and understood God’s intention for each generation to cheer on the next.
By reading Do Hard Things, you’ll have a better glimpse into the work that the Holy Spirit is doing amongst teenagers right now. You’ll know what to look for in the teens around you; you’ll know what they struggle with, and how you can encourage them. Instead of over-looking or minimizing their brave efforts to step out in obedience and sacrifice, you’ll be at-the-ready to notice and encourage them. You’ll have a much better understanding of what they’re up against, and you’ll want to help them out and spur them on however you may.
By keeping Do Hard Things on your bookshelf, you’ll have a primary source of an important movement in history. I’m not just saying that! I really believe it! I agree with Randy Alcorn’s cover quote that this book “will prove to be one of the most life-changing and culture-changing books of this generation.” I truly believe that Christian teenagers are being awakened by the Holy Spirit and are being given the courage and obedience to listen. The interesting thing about this movement is that it extends beyond the covers of the book into an energetic online community of Christian teenagers who are encouraging each other. It reaches into the conferences that Alex & Brett have shared around the world, and their newest book, Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are. You’ll love checking out their online community; you’ll be personally inspired by the thousands of teenage voices that are rocking the world.
By recommending Do Hard Things to your sons and daughters and their friends, you’ll be passing along a refreshing vision that life is more than selfish pursuits and fleeting pleasures. Teenagers want more than themselves; they just have to look long and hard to find it in our culture. Alex and Brett Harris are intelligent, relevant, honest, and down-to-earth writers who have been created by God to point teenagers in a hopeful direction: towards God himself and towards His work. This will be like a oasis for the Christian teenager.
Not to mention, by savoring Do Hard Things for yourself, you will be inspired to see more clearly through our social selfishness and aimlessness that can fog up all of our lives, regardless of our age. As for me, I was deeply encouraged to pour my heart into my husband, children, and local church with deliberate fearlessness. I wonder how it will encourage you?