I don’t know if I ever have loved writing purely for its own sake. I love writing because of the gifts it gives me or others: satisfaction, comfort, companionship, courage, hope, clarity, energy . . . If “writing” was a person, my relationship with it would be all take and no give. How terrible! Even so, the primary reason I love writing will likely forever be because there is some sense of me needing it in order to survive and/or thrive.
The sort of love I have for writing is not unlike how I love God.
C.S. Lewis, modern master of Christian thought, writes in his book The Four Loves,
Every Christian would agree that a man’s spiritual health is exactly proportional to his love for God. But man’s love for God, from the very nature of the case, must always be very largely, and must often be entirely, a Need-love. This is obvious when we implore forgiveness for our sins or support in our tribulations. But in the long run it is perhaps even more apparent in our growing-for it ought to be growing-awareness that our whole being by its very nature is one vast need; incomplete, preparatory, empty yet cluttered, crying out for HIm who can untie things that are now knotted together and tie up things that are still dangling loose. [This] Need-love, the greatest of all, either coincides with or at least makes a main ingredient in man’s highest, healthiest, and most realistic spritiual condition.
I’ve always thought that loving someone out of one’s need for that person to be very unlike love. In fact, I’d see it as an offense to what real love is. Love is patient, love is kind, love is not self-seeking… however, by default, there is some degree of this need-love in every relationship. In reality, lack of community is just as deadly as dehydration. Starvation of human friendship simply provides a slower, subtler death over physical starvation. We need each other and that’s okay. Lewis references, and I repeat Genesis 2:18 – “It is not good for man to be alone.”
Acknowledging that loving someone partially out of need is not always a bad thing is not an awe-inspiring concept for me.In human-to-human relationships, need is part of what love is, but hopefully not all or even most of it.
What is enlightening is the idea that I can best love God not by:
1. doing good things for Him
2. trying harder
3. feeling a connection with Him
4. spending more time alone with Him
5. trying to love His character more than His gifts
The best way I can love God is to acknowledge how very much I need Him. All the other things, frankly, may or may not follow in this life, and if they do, it will be more of a sporadic, faltering process than I would like (as it has thus far been in almost-24 years). For a person who feels weak and needy the majority of the time, this thought is overwhelming in its magnitude.
Jesus, Bread of life, Living Water, I love You the only way I know how at this point . . . and perhaps it is not as inferior of a love as I have always imagined . . .
I need you.