A little late...
to be my follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and
follow in my steps."
God is full of kindness, compassion, and love. He takes us back when we're wrong. He gave His Son for us when we didn't even ask to be saved. But Jesus was harsh here. He is serious about this. If we want to truly be counted as His follower, nothing else can come before Him.
And we're not good at doing that.
Luckily, we have Lent. Compared to what the disciples did, Lenten sacrifices are pretty easy. No meat? No chocolate? No soda? Might be tough, but the disciples really did give up their whole lives, their families, and followed Jesus. For us, Lent is merely training. We're learning to come to Him for comfort, to come to Him in our idle time, to spend more time with Him. Whatever you're giving up or doing extra for Lent, you're in training.
God has an incredible plan for you. But you have to take up your cross every day. He didn't say "pick it up once and do a victory lap and the rest of your life will be easy."He said every day. And He meant it. The Cross is heavy, but don't worry, He'll help you carry the load. Just come to Hm.