I woke up last night having a realization. I've been trying to go about life while minimizing the seriousness of my own needs and desires. I thought: "Life is easier when I don't have needs and desires, when I just do what God wants." There was almost a bitterness in recognizing the fact that I have needs and desires and that, in fact, they are very intense.
Living life this way is cheating. It isn't taking up my cross, participating in the suffering of Christ. It isn't really sacrificing anything because I have denied that there is anything to sacrifice. And it does cost me my compassion for other people because my needs and desires keep me in touch with what it is to feel pain, and the pain provides me the basis for compassion. Living without needs and desires isn't really what I want or need. It's only my attempt to cope with pain that I would rather not face.