I wanted to share some words from "The Imitation of Christ" by Thomas A' Kempis that I thought were incredibly challenging.
"We might enjoy much peace, if we would not busy ourselves with the words and deeds of other men, with things which do not concern ourselves... Blessed are the single-hearted: for they shall enjoy much peace. [Some saints labored] to mortify themselves wholly to all earthly desires; and therefore they could with their whole heart fix themselves upon God, and be free for spiritual contemplation. We are too much led by our passions, and too solicitous for transitory things... The greatest, and indeed the whole impediment, is that we are not disentangled from our passions and lusts, neither do we endeavor to enter into that path of perfection which the saints have walked before us; and when any small adversity befalleth us, we are too quickly dejected, and turn ourselves to human comforts. If we would endeavor, like men of courage, to stand in the battle, surely we should feel the favorable assistance of God from heaven... If we esteem our progress in religious life to consist only in some exterior observances, our devotion will quickly be at an end. But let us lay the axe to the root, that being freed from passions, we may find rest to our souls... O, if thou didst but consider how much inward peace unto thyself, and joy unto others, the example of thy holy life would bring, I suppose thou wouldest be more careful of thy spiritual progress."
Words like a dagger through my heart. It always seems to come back to the same thing, die to self to be alive in Christ.