“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34).
I set down my phone, again, after picking it up and considering calling her, just to reconsider and set it back down again. The awkward phone call to discuss changing horseback riding coaches was all mine to be uncomfortable about. The decision to change wasn’t hard to make as I’d been riding briefly with this woman and it clearly wasn’t a fit. But the decision to tell her that was giving me heartburn, keeping me awake at night, and causing general full-body hives kind of anxiety.
Growing up Catholic, I had heard the phrase again and again to “take up my cross.” But it seemed applicable mostly during Lent when our family gave up treats and the neighbors were selling Girl Scout cookies. It wasn’t until I reached college and some modicum of autonomy that I realized much of adulting was “taking up my cross.”
My college crosses looked like awkward conversations with riding coaches, navigating credit card statements and on-time payments thereof, breaking up (repeatedly) with my boyfriend, selecting a major, dealing with that roommate who spurned the household “chore wheel.”
Facing conflict, uncomfortable conversations, and any ensuing fall-out are part of what we can join up with Jesus over. Our crosses are personalized, these us-shaped challenges to grow in virtue, and they’re not always something life-or-death. Consider what circumstances you’re in that you’d rather avoid. Jesus wants us to turn back around, pick up that phone, and face them.
Jesus didn’t begin His ministry on the road to Calvary. He began by showing His followers how to do hard things, beginning with obeying His mother by turning water into wine for the couple who needed a better wedding planner at Cana, to speaking truth to the folks at His hometown temple, to many many awkward convos (hellllllllo Pharisees!).
Let’s offer Him what we don’t feel like doing today. What would that be for you? Embrace the invite to grow in virtue.Embrace the invite to grow in virtue. // Nell O'Leary Click To Tweet
Thank you for being here.
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