Growing up, things just didn’t make sense. Little did my parents, siblings, and I know that I had what is called today as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) which covers all of the diagnosis from non verbal and verbal autism to Asperger’s Syndrome, which I was diagnosed with at the age of 19. During high school, I struggled, a lot. Lets just say that I always struggled in school, not just high school alone. School was such a struggle that after I graduated, I vowed I would never to go back. That, however, didn’t hold water. Three years later, at the age of 22, I entered college. Which brings me to now, the story I’m about to share with you, I had written for a writing contest a few months ago and felt the need to share it. I call it (My Do Hard Things Story)
A little background on this story though: I first came across the book Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris when I was sixteen. It was then, that I had first heard the term “Rebelution” a word and term that these brothers created to describe why some teens are doing the extraordinary in today’s society, for the glory of God and Him alone. Shortly after reading said book, I felt led to do the same thing. Living an extraordinary life for the glory of God. So what did this mean for me? Well…
Rebelution: The combination of the words rebel and revolution. Therefore,as the front of the book says, a teenage rebellion against low expectations. (In case you didn’t know)
Here’s the story….
I had always wanted to challenge both myself and other people around me, including my friends and family, especially my siblings, but I never knew how or where to start. It was then that I came across the book, Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris when I was 16 in 2008. After reading the book, not only did I feel challenged to change things in my life (small things on like how I was acting when it came to other people and such) but I wanted to get others involved as well. However, there was one small problem; I knew I was different but the medical doctors could never put a correct diagnosis in place. Not until three years later, and a senior in high school was I diagnosed with Asperger’s; added on top of what I also have which is expressive/receptive disorder, and a reading comprehension gap, both of which I was diagnosed with as a freshman. So what did this mean? Expressive/Receptive Disorder is not able to form answers on the spot or understanding the “you implied” directions. With all three of these things combined, it made not only high school a struggle, but college felt nearly impossible. Yet, three years later with the support of both my parents, I decided to go to college.
There I was, twenty-two and a freshman at my local community college. Walking into classes for the very first time, with accommodations in hand. Everything was set and ready to go; but one fear still remained: “Can I even still do this?” Well, as the days turned into weeks the fear turned into a daily challenge. One thing I did know how to do well, was writing poetry, with the end goal for one day to be published. Once again, not knowing how, therefore, never even starting. Until I shot out an e-mail to Brett asking one simple question “How does one go about this?” From that e-mail, came the first draft of my poetry book a short time later. So did finals for the fall semester. Needless to say, my grades suffered due to the fact that I did not study as hard as I should have. Lesson learned. Never try to write a book during finals week, especially when one knows that a test is coming up in a subject that you struggle in already.
Then after a month off for Christmas break/winter break, I realized that I had my priorities totally switched around. Not only had I put my friends first and school second, (even though I was studying) it was not as much or as hard as it should have been. So, after resetting my priorities, I did something I thought I would never do: I grounded myself off of Facebook. For a month. The only contact I had with my friends was at school or through texting. It was during this time, that I had received a group e-mail from Brett Harris asking fellow rebelutionaries (people who are part of the Rebelution, a term from his book Do Hard Things) to be part of a project he was working on. After saying “Yes, why not?” I e-mailed him back and told him to count me in with whatever he was working on. That later became Do Hard Things University. Now here I was, a freshman in college, and part of an online webinar. All at the age of 23 and giving school my full focus.
What did we cover during this webinar? Reasons as to “why” we do hard things, motivation, and time wasters, which Facebook became, among other topics. So how has this impacted my life? Well, since I was sixteen, I’ve overcome several obstacles that related to school, educated people in different situations about the autism spectrum, my driver’s license and bought my own car. I also received my high school diploma. Most recently, I finished my first draft of my poetry book, performed at a recital for the college I’m going to, started a Do Hard Things one-on-one book study, and sang at my church for the first time.
What would my life be like if I hadn’t read Do Hard Things? That answer is simple. I wouldn’t have gone back to school or do anything that I’m doing already. Instead, I would’ve had a list of unfinished projects, unreached dreams, and maybe a volume of “what if’s”. Always asking myself, wondering: “What if I had_______?” fill in the blank. Through it all, I wasn’t walking through it alone at all. I had my parents, siblings, and friends (both in college and not) support me through.
Even though my life wasn’t always fun, didn’t mean that God wasn’t with me at the same time. He was teaching me to totally depend on Him. One verse that I always refer to is Psalm 37:4-7a but specially verses 4 and 7:
“Delight yourself in the LORD: and he shall give you the desires of your heart.”
And “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him.”