In other words, a concept of self-emptying, my own will to be completely receptive to God’s will. It is elementary for me to be under the illusion that this might be easy to do when in reality, it’s not. Why is it so difficult for me to self-empty even though I genuinely desire nothing but to understand God’s will? The answer is simple to derive.
Before the moment of our birth, God placed us exactly where we were for a reason and gave us a community to belong to; the Coptic Christian community. I did not ask for this, and as a pupil, I even tried to leave it because I thought the church was boring. However, it became a part of my life; to grow up with the same people for years, to know everyone’s face in our church, to be recognized by Tants and Uncles who would greet and kiss you and make you feel so wanted. It seemed to be nothing but a blessing to be growing up in such a large community. However, then things started to stir up. The constant unconscious behavior of comparing to others has grown stronger and stronger. The illusion we are put into is that if someone seems to be doing better than me in one aspect, they must be doing better financially, emotionally, and academically. How can I self-empty if now I have become self-obsessed? This aspect of the community seems like a burden to us. Still, what if we look at different communities within the same college we go to?
It might be hard to realize because we are so into only our own community and not out exploring and belonging to other communities. Not a lot of other groups go through the same issue of comparing. Some groups act in smaller groups and openly give out their grades yet indeed be happy for each other and push each other to their full potential. Others are by themselves and never feel this essence of feeling the need to compare; it’s them against the world. However, it’s not some “spectrum” of assessing how each community/group is designed and how it’s run as we think. It’s not those exact stereotypes that I have just listed; there are many possibilities that we cannot even begin to imagine, yet our brains make it seem like we understand the world as a whole. So, what’s the point?
Humans are social creatures, from Adam and Eve to the baby that is born right now. This way of gathering information and using it to survive is shown in no other species. In sharing this information, we were able to survive and reproduce right until now. Nevertheless, the way we share information in our communities is so unique to one another that we cannot fathom the thought process of people not belonging to our community. We make everything a part of our community so normalized, and anything not a part of us is neglected. However, that’s the way that every other community works! The unselfish way of thinking is that God gave us this community to prosper and to struggle, to be able to identify ourselves in others, and others in ourselves, to either all increase or decrease. The community that God gave others also has its own issues. Still, those issues are not the same as ours, and neither will the method of solving it be similar. In Jeremiah 1:5, God says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” God already knows the struggles we would have of not only being self-obsessed but any other sin we would struggle with. Yet, he gave us a plethora of opportunities for us to self-empty. To self empty will always be complex, no matter what community you grow up in. However, our weaknesses will always be our biggest strengths. Our failure in attempting to self-empty is facing the reality that we can NEVER do it alone. There is no alternative way to self-empty unless we all admit to our weaknesses and desire for each other to succeed, cutting off the cycle of self-obsession.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2).