Blog Pick Up Your Cross… by Tricia Tembreull Well God, here we go again: the beginning of another ministry year. Freshmen are imploding at Life Night with a mixture of energy and nerves. Seniors already are suffering from senioritis. Veteran Core is setting the most excellent example by showing up late for the excited new Core Members. And parents are complaining about the Confirmation calendar for the year because our retreat falls on Homecoming weekend for the smallest school in my parish boundary. All this before even one Pumpkin Spice Latte has touched my lips. What’s that God? You want me to head over to the chapel and read the Gospel from this Sunday: Luke 14:25-33? Okay… Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” See you know what I’m dealing with here God. I’m not saying I hate anyone, but I know you know what I’m going through. I’ve been picking up so many crosses I could start a CrossFit gym in my ministry. Which cross do you want me to pick up first? Cause I have had a crazy summer and just this week, one of my Core Members passed away, and our parish community is struggling with grief, and the teens have so many questions about why you would take away someone so in love with you Lord, someone so young and marvelous. And there is a teen whose dad has cancer and the family is struggling so much. Oh and what about the cross I’ve been carrying for the teen that has been struggling with addiction and is about to enter rehab? Not to mention her sibling in Edge and family who have been journeying with her. So which cross do you want me to pick up first? Read the scripture again? Seriously? Fine! “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” My own cross… Not other people’s cross? I don’t know what my own cross is. You got to help me here God. I’m at a loss. I’m so busy praying for others and the ministry that I don’t know my own cross. I guess if I’m honest with you, I’m fearful about a lot of things. I’m afraid my hours will be cut, or my new pastor won’t like what I’m doing in the ministry I’ve put my heart and soul into and fire me. What’s that God? Do I trust in your call and your provision? Sometimes… I wish all the time… but truthfully, just sometimes. Well, now that I’m thinking about my crosses, I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’m prideful. I feel like no one notices all the work I put into the ministry, all the hours put in, all the things I do for the teens, and the parish. Well, really for you God. Is it really for you God? I can’t believe you’re asking me that? Well… I know I said I would be honest… I guess it’s not always for you. I want recognition; my pride is something I truly struggle with. I need to work on this cross a lot. What else is there you ask? Well, I’m exhausted, but I don’t know how that is a cross. This summer has been crazy busy! I had a Steubenville Conference, mission trip, summer camp, leadership training, and Mass and Muffins every Wednesday at 8 am. I mean what youth minister is even awake at 8 am? Did I take a Sabbath day? Well, I work on Sundays, so I take a half-day on Monday after staff meetings. Does that count? I guess I’m doing more than you are calling me to do and don’t rely on other employees and Core that much. Now that I think about it, this is probably my biggest cross. I want to appear to be the best, “got it all together” youth minister. There’s that pride thing again. How do I work on my pride God? Continue reading the Gospel? Sure, no problem. “Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion?” What are you trying to build in me, God? What do I need to do? What will it cost me? I mean, what are you asking me to surrender, to let go of, to take on? Maybe I need to sit here with you for a while to understand what you want to build in me and in the ministry you have placed in my care. I suppose I need to let go of some things in my life and ministry to make room for you to move. I know I need to stop carrying everyone’s crosses and start to feel the weight of my cross. I need to feel that weight so I understand what I need to surrender. I want to follow you! I do! I hear you… Yes, I will do better this year… this year will be different, I promise. I love you too.