In some areas of the world taking up one's cross is following Jesus, and it may cost them their lives. Taking up one's cross may be less dramatic than literally laying down your life for Christ, but it always involves suffering and self denial. Everyone must take up a cross of one sort or another.
Sometimes it is obvious to other people and sometimes it is not. But each of us is called to take up our cross and follow Jesus. In his classic Christian book The Imitation of Christ, the fifteenth century priest Thomas à Kempis wrote about the universal calling of taking up one’s cross: “No man’s heart can experience what Christ endured in His passion except the man who suffered as he did. ... The cross is, therefore, always in readiness for you and everywhere awaits you. Wherever you choose to run you will not escape it because you always take yourself with you and you will always find yourself.”
[Click image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZsalHQB7aM For the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sing "Take Up Your Cross"]