Last week, I attended daily mass with the kids at one of the Catholic grade schools here in Lincoln, and the priest named a quote that really resonated with me.
We are, more often than not, the carpenters of our own crosses.
I don't know if this statement could be more true or more applicable at this point in my life and in society in general.
After stating the quote, the priest asked the kids to name some crosses in their lives. I don't think they quite got the full message (some of their answers were a bit off), but I know all of the adults in the back of the church were creating quite lengthy lists. Our crosses vary in size, severity, and frequency, but I know we all have them. Our crosses are the burdens that we carry around on our shoulders, in our minds, and in our hearts as well.
Think about many of the issues that cloud your thoughts on a regular basis. The constant worries and anxieties that seem to be on repeat in our minds are often the result of our doing, not necessarily the work of others. Granted this is not always the case, but for today's purposes, we are going to focus on the crosses in our lives that we create.
One of the biggest crosses that we create for ourselves happens through the comparison trap. When we compare ourselves to others with regards to our appearance, career, family, health, etc, we are literally setting ourselves up for failure. In a sense, we are taking the pieces of wood necessary to build a cross and hammering the nails in, one after the other. Thinking we aren't good enough, doing enough, or being enough is a huge burden or cross than many of us carry on our shoulders.
Another common cross can be health concerns. In a society marred by chronic disease, many people are constantly seeking out answers to their health problems that are affecting their daily lives. Financial strain and career dissatisfaction could also be on the list of common crosses that we shoulder on a daily basis. Our crosses can be tied to a material item, or they can also be fragments of our own imagination and live solely in our own minds.
However, no matter the crosses that we each have in our own lives, it always comes down to our realization of what we are doing. Sometimes the answer to stopping our worry and anxiety is quite literally getting out of our own way. Stepping outside of our comfort zones is scary, intimidating, and overflowing with fear. But, we will never fully experience all that life has to offer unless we take those chances from time to time.
Today, I encourage you to take out a piece of paper and list off some of the crosses you bear on a daily basis. How many of those are created or amplified by your own doing?