At ward conference yesterday our bishop spoke about "taking up our cross." I have been praying about what I could say or contribute to the whole "giving up" or "giving in" thread and it occurred to me after his talk that its not a matter of either.
Each of us are given unique struggles and trials and experiences and things that refine us, challenge us and help perfect us. Its not so much the trials that make us who we are, it's what we do with them.
The Savior says to "take up our cross," he doesn't say to leave it and walk away from it. He doesn't say to overcome it. For there are some crosses that we can't overcome and only He can overcome. We were never meant to overcome them alone. How we carry it defines who we are and if we trust him enough to allow Him to carry them with us. If we have faith to carry it and put away all ungodliness aside then we can have faith that while the worlds burdens are heavy HIS isn't. He will be the one that comes along and helps us shoulder it.
For me this is where things have often become difficult. While I may say that I want to be faithful, to put aside all ungodliness, its often easy to sabotage my efforts by some of the things I choose to do, people I choose to associate with and the sites I have a presence on online. For instance if I'm trying hard to stay away from negative influences and I want God to bless my efforts if I'm spending a lot of free time on gay social networks trying to make friends or continue associations with people who represent the happiness found when a person pitches their cross and walks away from it. How am I really helping myself? I'm not saying we should judge others, but I'm also saying that we can't build our tents next to the great and spacious buildings of the world to dwell in their shadows and expect the light of the gospel to also play an equal role in our lives. We can't serve to masters. As it was once said we can't live in paradise yet keep a vacation home in Sodem.
I think sometimes I can be my own worse impediment to my own progress. But that takes a lot of humility to admit. Part of learning to bear our cross is learning that struggling isn't a bad thing if it means we are trying hard to continue forward. Struggle denotes a battle. At some point I think we need to realize what we are struggling with. Part of the giving up pride comes when we put that vacation home on the market and walk away from it.
The whole reason we are on the Earth is to gain experience, sometimes those experiences are struggles. Sometimes those struggles are needed to make the path clear. Sometimes we need them. Life is a test after all. Accepting our cross and committing to carrying it doesn't always mean an end to our struggles, but it does denote a decision in what direction we will move forward to. And that's already half the battle.