Saturday, January 8, 2011

All I Need

I used to love the worship song Draw Me Close to You. Really pretty piano part. The kind of chorus that makes you want to throw up your hands and sing really loud. One of those songs that can bring even a really stoic worshiper to tears.

But lately, it's been kind of annoying me.

Not because I think it's been overdone (I actually haven't heard it in a long time). Or because I stopped liking pretty piano-based worship songs. Or even because I think it might be a little bit emotionally manipulative.

No, I think I just don't believe it any more.

Not the closeness to God part. I still think that's good and important. But the overall theme of that song (and a few others) has really not been working for me.
You're all I want. 
You're all I've ever needed.
I just don't think I buy that. And I'm not sure that I'm supposed to buy that. (Though, frankly, I'm sitting here waiting for the lightning bolt to come and get me for even writing that last sentence.)

Okay, let me try to explain.

When Jason and I first got married, I set aside pretty much all other relationships. We had been a long distance couple the whole time we dated and were engaged, so I wanted to spend 100% of my relationship time with him. But really, that didn't work for either of us. He was and is incredibly important to me and I can't  even begin to imagine my life without him. He is my best, best friend. But he's not all I need. Having other friends is absolutely essential to my mental health.

My relationship to God is really important to me. I consider my faith to be one of my defining characteristics. I spend time in prayer. I'm learning to enjoy reading the Bible again. I love time in worship. This isn't something that I consider to be a side relationship -- it's definitely there.

However.

This relationship is simply not enough to keep me going alone. If all of the other people in my life were gone, I don't believe it could sustain my relational needs. And while passages like Luke 14:26 seem to suggest that Jesus is all we need, I can't help but think of the creation story. In it, God says of Adam's situation that it's not good for him to be "alone." Despite being there with Adam, God still considers Adam to be alone without another human person with him.

It sounds very poetic and beautiful and devoted to say that God is all we need. I felt very spiritual when I would sing those songs. But it's just not true. I truly believe that we are supposed to need other people too. That need isn't something that makes us weak or less connected to God or too worldly. When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, he considered loving others on par with loving God. In Galatians 5:14, Paul writes that the whole law and all of the commandments can be summed up by loving others as ourselves.

I'm a fan of paring down my needs to real essentials. But in trying to cut out the clutter, I don't want to deny genuine, God-created needs.

What do you think? Am I mis-reading the "all I need" idea about Jesus? Or is it just something that maybe isn't a good idea?

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