Do Hard Things


I meant well. I bought my daughter a copy of the book Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations. I thought she’d be thrilled. I obviously didn’t explain it well; I’d be the same if someone gave me the book Lord, Change My Attitude. What’s the giver trying to say?

A couple of years later she picked up the book and loved it.

I’ve never read Do Hard Things, but there probably needs to be an adult version. When I realized that I was coming to the end of a pastorate, I knew that the next steps would be costly: relocation after two decades in the same house, massive financial upheaval, family turmoil, and a move into a risky new ministry. I was afraid. Experts say that the body can’t distinguish between different kinds of fears: it reacts to fear of change in the same way it reacts to being chased by a bear.

I began to spend time studying the Psalms on fear. I majored in Psalm 27. I read books like Running Scared. I tried to uncover what was underneath my fear, and to submit these things to God.

I wish I’d known how much fear is part of being an adult. We’re called to do hard things that make us afraid:

  • to have that difficult conversation
  • to wade into conflict when necessary, rather than away from it
  • to preach on a topic that needs clarity, but may be explosive
  • to fundraise
  • to share the gospel with a friend
  • to ask for and receive correction and accountability
  • to humble oneself and go for marriage counseling

Some of us would rather be chased by an actual bear than to do one or more of these things. I’m amazed at how many of us are stuck because we’re afraid to do hard things.

I’m still learning, but I’m growing to realize the importance of doing hard things even when afraid. I’m also realizing that I’m not alone. Many of us struggle with fear and get stuck when doing the next hard thing would make a significant difference in our lives and ministries.

As Do Hard Things says, “Courage is not the absence of fear. It is rather not letting your fear control your actions.”

What’s your hard thing? How can you wade through the fear with God’s help and do what he’s calling you to do?

Do Hard Things
Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada