“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves,
and take up their cross and follow me.” Mark 8:35
“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.”
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.
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 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.
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” –