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Deny Myself?

by Krissy Hanna

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

I’m pretty sure that I don’t understand how to deny myself. I live in a “get what you want when you want it” culture. I don’t know it any other way. I don’t have to eat broccoli if I want pizza. I just order the pepperoni (or whatever toppings I want), have it delivered, make it myself, or pick it up whenever I want. It’s a wonder I ever eat anything but French Silk pie. (And if I order a pepperoni, and I accidentally get a rogue sausage, so help me…)

If I want new shoes, I just click a couple of buttons on my phone, and they arrive at my doorstep in 2-5 business days. Sometimes even that same afternoon. And I don’t even have to have the money in my bank account; I can just charge it. 

I can watch whatever movie I desire, at any time. Whatever I “feel like” doing, I can do.

Oh, I love basking in the beauty of the menu of life’s pleasures as they sparkle right in front of me! With so many easy things to occupy my time, why would I ever pick what’s difficult? 

How is it that often the more God allows me the blessings that I seek, the more ungrateful, spoiled, and ungracious I become. I know instinctively that the enemy of growth is comfort, and yet I still choose comfort over growth. And I find myself immature, devoid of wisdom, and desperately empty. 

How on earth can I learn to deny myself? 

Jesus, I know that I cannot do this without your help.

One of the ways that I’ve learned a little is by choosing to be in relationship with other people. Often what I want and what my friend, coworker, husband, acquaintance, nephew, son, or sister wants clash. And I have to either plead, bargain, cajole, bully, or convince them to deny themselves, so that I don’t have to. Or, I can allow my own wants, desires, passions, dreams, or cravings die instead.

I’ve been pondering other ways to crucify my own desires. Here’s my list so far:Let others choose.Give away money.Give away time.Allow others to go first (at the grocery, the bank, the drive thru, the fast lane).Give away my stuff (even things I still enjoy).Live for something bigger than me.Champion someone.Let someone walk over me. (Wait, is this ok?)Fast from food.Fast from technology.Fast from buying stuff. 
These are the things on my denying myself list so far. What would be on yours?
I’d love to know.