To summarize, the repeated theme was keeping Christ first in your life. Forsaking all for His sake. Embracing weakness to be made strong. And all in a spiritual, physical and material sense. It was just what I needed hammered into me.
The book I was reading quoted a passage I thought worth including here by William James, a philosopher that I'm not necessarily endorsing (especially since I don't know much about him), but I did appreciate his words in the context of regaining the value of self-denial. (And if he thought this true in 1903, how much more so in 2012!)
"Poverty...may...be...the spiritual reform which our time stands most need of.Just to be clear, obviously selling everything or living destitute does not grant you salvation. But that's not the point here. It's the principle of dying to self that is being addressed. We put way too much stock in our material worth than our position in Christ. Keep that in mind and now check out this message from Eric Ludy. He knows how to pack a punch.
Among us English speaking peoples especially do the praises of poverty need once more to be boldly sung. We have grown literally afraid to be poor. We despise any one who elects to be poor in order to simplify and save his inner life. If he does not join the general scramble and pant with the money-making street, we deem him spiritless and lacking in ambition. We have lost the power of even imagining what the ancient idealization of poverty could have meant: the liberation from material attachments, the unbribed soul,...the paying our way by what we are and do and not by what we have...
I recommend this matter to your serious pondering, for it is certain that the prevalent fear of poverty among the educated classes is the worst moral disease which our civilization suffers."
"For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Cor. 12:10