“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves,
and take up their cross and follow me.” Mark 8:35
Years ago. The young woman, sits in my office.
“He’s a good man. He really is. It’s just that on the weekends…he goes out to the bar with his buddies. And well, sometimes, when he comes home….”
She puts her head in her hands and begins to weep.
Looks up and says, “Perhaps this is my cross to bear.”
Words that run deep in all of us telling us to turn away and against ourselves. Our needs, desires, dreams. Writing it all off as our “selfishness”.
Women told to deny themselves and serve their families.
Parents told to deny themselves and provide for their child’s every need.
We’ve told it to slaves.
Told it to gays and lesbians.
“Deny yourself. This is your cross to bear”.
It happens early, subtly. The denial of our own self-hood.
It’s taken me a lifetime to learn that the quality of my relationships and effectiveness of my ministry is directly proportional to the care I provide for myself.
Get enough sleep. Eat regular meals and healthy food. Exercise. Take time for rest and renewal.
When I start here, providing for these basic needs, my ministry, my relationships, my life, blooms.
When I don’t, I suffer and the people in my life suffer as well.
It’s taken me a lifetime to learn that self-love and other-love are not opposing forces.
That self-hatred is not the way of Jesus.
To really listen to Jesus, “I came that you may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
If you are in a relationship where you are telling yourself, or being told, to put aside your human dignity and self-worth –
Encouraged to write it off as your “cross to bear” –
5 thoughts on “Not Your Cross”
i know a lot of battered women who can use this “good news” message. Thanks.
Rev. Marie Fortune, FaithTrust Institute
Thanks Marie – and yes I hope this might be an opening to imagine a different way forward,
Peter,73 years and I still tend to beat myself up!
Yes, Sara, 53 and me too! But I love Jesus’ invitation that maybe there is another way to do things and be with ourselves! Good stepping into that today to us both!
Thank you for this. I know first hand what abuse is. Also, I’m getting to old to beat my self up.Like you it’s taken a life time for me to learn this. It’s time I let go of the pain and let god in.