What do you think of when you read the scripture; 

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Matthew 16: 24-25

In the countries where you can be killed simply for announcing faith in Christ, taking up your cross is pretty clear. In the West it can be a bit more ambiguous, but the call is nonetheless urgent and real. 

 I came across a powerful film recently called Molokai (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Molokai-True-Story-Father-Damien/dp/B0000667LQ).
It is the story of a priest who goes over to serve on a leper colony, that no-one else wants to go anywhere near. Simply by going he was pretty much singing up to die and that decision of self surrender was astounding to watch. I highly recommend the film.

I am also reading an extraordinary biography called A Way Beyond Death, by Jemimah Wright (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Way-Beyond-Death-Infanticide-International/dp/1576584305).

It tells the mind-boggling story of a couple who minister to unreached tribes in the Amazon, learning their language to translate the Bible for them. For starters, the tribe wear no clothes and on day 1, the wife had all of her clothes stripped from her and was thrown into the deep end of nakedness. I am sure for many, that would be taking up their cross right there!

But that is mild in comparison to what this couple faced; infanticide, mass suicide, sickness and multiple times nearly losing their lives, but being willing to do so for the sake of the gospel and this tribe meeting Jesus. It has opened my eyes to the bigger picture and given me a needed jolt out of middle class comfort! 
So whether you are into film or reading, pick one and let God speak to you about taking up your cross. 
Love Thea x