Well, all the time in my life that I've spent in church.
Okay, all my life.
"All you need is Jesus. Whenever anyone says that you need Jesus plus anything else, they are wrong. They are talking about religion. They are talking about traditions. They are talking about adding on to Jesus. Jesus is all you need. All you need is Jesus."
This morning, Kristiana and I went to see Glennon Melton, the Mother Superior over at Momastery.com. She is undoubtedly one of the top five speakers I have ever had the honor of listening to. I thought I loved her and her wry, irreverent virtual voice as a result of reading her blog. But seeing her in person, hearing her actual voice, laughing with her, groaning with her, and seeing how she loves her amazing sister (who was there with her), I confess that I'm even more in love.
Anyway, Glennon reminded us of that saying, "All you need is Jesus."
Then she turned it on its head when she added - "I need Jesus and Lexapro and Twizzlers and diet Coke and cute stockings and..." that's when my pen lost track of her list and I had to stop and laugh out loud.
She provided numerous personal examples of how God sets our lives up so that we will need each other, need love, need friendship, need silence, need retreat, need safe spaces, need advise, need shoulders to cry on, need to sit at one another's feet and learn all that we are meant to teach each other, and sometimes we need licorice and soda too. I had to stop my pen at that point and grab a tissue.
Do I need to say that I have spent quite a bit of time this afternoon making my own list of stuff I need along with Jesus? Here's a partial list -
* someplace to live
* a car to drive in and out of suburbia
* clothes to wear and a few pairs of shoes as well
* money to maintain the lifestyle we have chosen
* red australian licorice
* uniball vision elite pens, micro point with black ink
* sweet potato french fries
* solo travel in Spain
* silent retreats in Pennsylvania
* moments when I can scream out curse words and spew hatred towards kanswer
* scarves and hats - especially now that I'm a bald kanswer warrior
* mojitos and lemon drop martinis
* the occasional bacon cheese burger with extra crispy fries
* time in Gibbs' living room with the fireplace lit
* Sharpie and Copic markers
* long phone conversations with friends who live across state lines
* the Real Housewives of Atlanta
* Law and Order Criminal Intent
* sensitive toothpaste
* Advil and Claritin
* toasted bagels with eggs and butter
* peanut butter cups
* long, slow hugs
* alone time, away from everybody, including my family
* my journals, oh sweet Momma Jesus, I would be lost without my journals
* help with occasional constipation
* cloth bags for when I go to the supermarket
* two or three bosom buddies who can handle it when I curse and cry, friends who don't ever, ever judge me
* coffee with milk and sugar
* over-the-knee socks
* books, the library, ibooks, kindle books
* my computer, ipad, phone, and the internet
* secret places to write my truly deepest secrets
* sandalwood incense
* cherry coke
* key lime pie
Again, this is only a partial list...
You would be surprised at how long I've felt guilty for thinking that I needed more than Jesus. I knew that the Bible said that it wasn't good for man (or woman) to be alone, but somehow that didn't seem to count when people said the thing about only needing Jesus. I knew that despite all my attempts to reduce the solution to my neediness to Jesus alone and try to make Jesus the answer to all my questions, I always came up with things and people I needed and questions for which "Jesus" wasn't the answer.
Like - what do you do when the diagnosis is kanswer or bipolar disorder or passive aggressive personality disorder? How do you respond when repeated requests for change go unheeded? How do you continue to be affiliated with an institution that believes that half of the people in attendance have nothing to say to the other half because of our gender? Stuff like that...
I'm not saying that anything or anyone else filled all the holes and empty places inside me, but I knew that Jesus alone didn't do it either. Loneliness persists. Needs persist. Emptiness persists. Even with Jesus. Even with a bone-deep trust in God.
Glennon made a great point - we have all these "holy holes" inside of us, all these empty places inside of us so that we will reach out to one another, create community, find others with similar empty spots and travel this life road together, seeking answers, seeking fulfillment, seeking love together.