Taking Up Our Cross

I do not remember where I got this book, but I got it four years ago. It is called “A Call to Die” by David Nasser. It is a forty day fast to rid your life of selfish habits and focus on God. I began it when I was fifteen in the tenth grade. Of course since I am the disorganized, lazy, mess I am I never finished it. I do not even believe I got half way through.

Today, I re-dedicated myself to it to see where it could take me and what it could teach me! I will also compare my reflections on each day to my fifteen year old self’s answer. Day one is called “Take Up Your Cross” (hence the title of this post). It was a simple, yet powerful lesson on Jesus truly meant when he asked us to take up our cross and follow him [Matthew 16:24] and all I can say is WOW!

Since the sole purpose of the book is to teach people why it is so important for us to give up our selfish desires and serve, it only seemed like the perfect fit to describe how extremely intense Jesus was. David Nasser explains that a cross is not just a necklace or something hanging on your living room wall. The cross was one of the most excruciating, painful punishments, saved for the lowest of lows during this time. So we can only imagine what Christ’s disciples thought when Jesus said to pick up their crosses. They thought he was nuts!! But Jesus knew that whatever God had called him to do had to be done. He had to give up comfort and acceptance. Something we are faced with every day; we choose whether or not we decide to say yes or no to the selfish desire to be comfortable and accepted in our life.

David lets us in a little secret about our walk with God: Our obedience is worth it.

It was very interesting to see how drastically different my reflections were on just day one. My favorite one was the question asking you to describe the benefits of denying yourself and taking up your cross to follow Jesus! Let me tell you; fifteen year old me was very wise compared to nineteen year old me.

My answer then: “The number one benefit is eternity with our Savior Christ Jesus! By following him, others will follow you, and by following you they will be led to him!” 

My answer now is definitely along the same lines, but not quite as simple I believe. I find that the many benefits of denying yourself and taking up your cross to follow Jesus all boils now to one thing everyone is searching for: happiness.

I’ve struggled for so long wondering why I wasn’t good enough, why I didn’t fit in, or why I was always at home crying, depressed, and all alone every night. With God in my life, mind and heart I feel an all consuming joy washed over me. It doesn’t last twenty minutes and fade away like smoking does. It constantly refreshes itself and I am always reminded of the many reasons I have to be blissful and happy. God brings joy to my life like nothing I’ve ever experienced. He reminds me that living a life for him is the only way to live a life for myself!

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” [Matthew 16:24]

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From Stressed to Self-caring

I remember a time in my life when my main concern was what my grades were and who my friends were. Now a days, I can only wish to stress about such mediocre things. I get stressed so easily and its something I have really began to work on.

I recently quit my second job to begin working full time at my local coffee shop, which I’ve been at for six months now. It is such an adjustment to have so much free time which sounds odd but I am used to always being busy with two jobs and school. Now that I work one job and am enjoying my semester off I am befundled as to how to spend my time.

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I have signed up for a gym, which I actually really enjoy when I get myself out of bed to go! I have also began painting and writing a lot more (which if you’ve read my past posts, you’ll know that they are my main hobbies). I’ve also recently began to learn how to make my own soap which I would love to begin selling online along with my paintings.

With so many things to keep my mind occupied, I am interested to see how well I am alone. I’m the youngest of five; I moved out of my moms house right in with roommates, and I’m constantly with friends or at work surrounded with people. I don’t get a lot of time to myself and I think its something I have been longing for, but at the same time have been dreading.

I believe it is vital to having a healthy mindset and life style to take time to figure out who you are, what you like, and who you want to be. You have to spend time with yourself. Now don’t get me wrong, being with friends, family, and coworkers is very important as well. But sometimes I believe we forget to treat ourselves to some bonding time with ourselves.

I am one week into my journey of self care. I have began cooking for myself one or even two meals a day (breakfast and dinner). I’ve found that somehow despite my many efforts to avoid the kitchen as a child, my parents culinary school backgrounds have rubbed off on me. I am very proud of myself. I have also began waking up sooner and going to bed earlier, which is nice because I have much more energy throughout my whole day when I don’t sleep in til noon! Its nice to wake up, make myself a latte, go for a run, and come back to a homemade breakfast made by myself.

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Basically what I’m saying here is that the past 6 days of self care and my many efforts of staying a well balanced human being, has made me feel less anxious, stressed, and even just happier in general. I wish more people would focus on themselves more!

People constantly tell us not to be selfish and though this is true, you have to be a little selfish. We each have dreams, goals, and ideas we should pursue and that means being a little selfish. If you want to get where you hope to be you need to just cut out the negativity from your life and do it! It doesn’t take a strong willed person and you don’t have to be super (wo)man to make your big goal happen. It takes time and baby goals, but each and every one of us can do it!


Beki