What does "carrying your cross" actually mean?

I have this question lingering in my mind recently and I really need help on this one. What does it really mean to carry our crosses? I’ve noticed that people sometimes equate carrying a cross as a burden that one has to remove. Other say carrying your cross means dealing with your problems in life just has how Jesus dealt with carrying His cross so that He can save us from sin. I’m really confused as to which is correct. Or are they the same definition and that some people see too much into the “burden” part? Is my overthinking of anything I cross which I bear?

Speaking of overthinking, another reason why i posted this thread and asking about carrying crosses is that there’s this post on Tumblr that really distressed me. It’s from a gay Christian (non-denominational I guess) and he says that he realized that homosexuality is not his cross but rather his cross is how “society’s”, or at least people’s, discrimination and bullying against him - and his partner. I feel that’s a wrong way to view one’s cross and I need some clarification from you guys because I am really confused and troubled.

It means getting up at 10 P.M., 12 A.M., 2 A.M., and 4 A.M. for babies feeding then getting up at 5 A.M. to get hubby’s breakfast for a few years and oh the dog chewed up the last of the Pampers over night for God knows what reason and your dear hubby for the five hundredth time doesn’t know where his other missing sneaker is and if he’d simply tie the shoe laces together like you showed him how, he’d never have get you out of the shower to find his blessed sneaker before he’s late for work AGAIN! Oh and it gets much better than that later on. Yeppers, that pretty much it. But one more thing: you don’t get to complain about it at all and must wear a smile the whole blessed time!


Glenda did a good job describing what it means to “carry your cross.” Every day we are faced with inconveniences, possible illness, a headach or a stubbed toe, all of which can be offered to God as part of our salvific journey. We can complain or we can offer our daily trials and tribulations to God to do with as He wishes.

As for your question about the gay person saying his cross is not so much being homosexual, but the resulting bullying and discrimination. He is very correct. Certainly he may be able to deal with his sexual orientation in terms of his Faith and life choices, but having to put up with mean remarks, lost jobs and hate…now that is a terrrible and difficult cross for anyone. So don’t discount what he has shared or said.

I learned early on, while carrying for the disabled, that often the disability itself did not disturb them near as much as the behavior and attitude of others and society in general. It really became clear that the expections of the supposed “healthy and able bodied” were a greater burden and source of suffering than thier apparent disability. As one who has suffered from chronic illness for most of my life, I can personally attest to that.

We don’t live in a world that is truly compassionate when it comes to caring for the weak, sick and less fortunate. Handeling my illness is one thing, putting up with the “healthy minded attitudes” of others and our health care system is entirely different. It makes life really hard. And that is one of my crosses to bear.

Our pastor gave a wonderful sermon last week where he stated the cross was NOT burdens that occur in our lives. Also Jesus never says to BEAR your burdens.

Jesus is calling us to take up the cross – to freely choose the good news as the way to go through life.

Burdens are illnesses, unemployment, bad relationships, family disharmony, etc. Many of these things are out of our control. They happen to us as a result of life and we have no or little say in the matter

The cross is a conscious act of faith, of saying yes to God, trusting in Him and committing ourselves to act and live in ways that will reflect our belief. We carry the good news when we face illness, economic upheaval, personal discord in relationships.

Focus on Jesus and you can’t go wrong. as the old song says, keep your eyes on the prize!

“Carrying your cross” means waking up every day and accepting the many struggles that you life may bring, knowing that perseverance throughout our lives will allow us to unite with Christ. It is also the practice of uniting our struggles with the Cross of Christ and offering our struggles up to the father as penance.

In addition, Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Thus, if we look to Jesus, the Prince of Peace, for guidance an assistance, then He will give it to us, helping us in all of our needs.

May God bless you and grant you His Peace! :slight_smile:

Sorry Glenda, Those are not Crosses but multiple Blessings. How many couples cant have babies? How many have a deformed child? How many have no job to go to. etc etc.

I felt you are looking thru the wrong end of the telescope. Everything you mention is a ‘blessing’ for which we should be eternally grateful for. That’s what makes us human.

I think what she meant, is that you have to do what your persona has to do. SOme people have babies, but don’t get up at 10p, 12a, 2am, 4am to feed them or change them. That is your cross which you must carry.

Ny sister has down syndrome, and our cross has been to make sure she has gotten the stuff she needs from speech therapy, to medication which she might need. Its your cross in the sense that you have to do it and not let others do it.

“Carrying your cross” means bearing trials, difficulties, contradictions, slights, etc. as one would carry a cross on one’s way to Calvary. If we carry our cross patiently, humbly, lovingly and cheerfully until the end we will gain great merit and will be able to enter Heaven. God bless you.

Hello Cromwell.

Thanks for the slap. I’ll turn the other cheek. I never said my children or anyone’s aren’t blessings. I said what I’ve been taught by the Church, that everyday we have the Cross in our everyday walks of life and that is exactly what Jesus meant and what He said. Taking up one’s daily responsibilities and uniting our suffering with those of Christ is what it is all about. All I did was flesh out an example. You don’t care for mine? Give one of your own. But don’t twist my words into something you want to or need to see. Hunt for feminists elsewhere.


We embrace crosses because they give us resistance against which we build up our spiritual/mental/emotional toughness. Life resists us, like machines at a gym for which we pay to resist us. Working against that resistance both demonstrates, and builds, strength.

That’s why we love our enemies. They give us challenges. Without them it’d be like we were in school but never took a test or quiz. Are we learning anything? We don’t know without our crosses.

1 Peter 1:6-7
In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Thanks Mystical.

Guess the above slap was a learning experience. Oooops. Shoulda seen it. Thanks.


I didn’t really notice the “slap” until you mentioned it and I scrolled up. It was interesting that by associating “cross” with the chores you do for your loved ones, it must have given the impression to some that you consider these things as negative aspects of life.

I don’t see the difference between “crosses” and “blessings.” Yes it does take work and perseverance and all that, to take care of the precious children you are blessed with, to take care of. Just because something is a cross doesn’t mean it is not a blessing.

It’s tempting to consider the cross as “bad” that we have to go through to get to “good,” but it can be a stumbling block or a steppingstone, depending on whether you pass the test. Becoming emotionally and spiritually strong can make what first appear to be stumbling blocks, into stepping stones. Or better yet, a cornerstone of something Even Better.

My wife and I have raised six children, and we suffered from over 12 years of disabling mental illness – thus we raised them in poverty conditions. Yes it was a cross but that cross was the price of the field where the Real Treasure lay buried. So to me, crosses and blessings are one and the same.


We all I am sure have heard the Serenity Prayer, but not as many have heard the full version of this. The second half of this prayer (what I highlight in italics below) I think sums up carrying our crosses really well.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference; living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardships as a pathway to peace, taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will, so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen

This life can be tough, and as we saw with Jesus, he accepted all the hardships that came His way. I’m sure He didn’t want to have to die on the cross, but he so loved His father, and us, that He did it, because He knew it was what needed to be done.

Many of us are born with illness, or other hardships. It amazes me those who you never see complain about it, but look upon it as a blessing. I wish I could be more like that as I know that is what Christ would do.



Hello Mystical.

I think the person who read my post about the Cross of motherhood as an example saw something in my statement that wasn’t there. I guess his personal experience colored how he saw my words and so he reacted as if they said something else. I can understand that.


“Carrying your Cross” also means not dragging it.

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