So I’m going a little old-school here, but is there a more elegant and reflective love song than Anne Murray’s classic, “You Needed Me?” Go listen and tell me if I’m not spot on here.
I don’t remember not having this song in my mental library. I remember seeing her sing it on television. Her effortless vocals (despite the acrobatics in the melody) were so sincere and grateful. I loved that thought of putting the one you love up on a pedestal, to help them, care for them, pull them from their messes and help them find a better course.
Those lyrics speak volumes about the ways that we can serve the one we love.
I cried a tear, you wiped it dry I was confused, you cleared my mind I sold my soul, you bought it back for me And held me up and gave me dignity
Now those are great lyrics aren’t they? But the one that I just recently began to recognize as it came up on my huge playlist full of (mostly cheesy) love songs is the very next phrase:
Somehow you needed me.
Again and again, the lyrics describe all of the ways she has been loved, but the line comes up again: “You needed me.” It’s the title of the song.
Now let’s be honest. At first glance that doesn’t even make sense. Shouldn’t it be, “I needed you?”
But it highlights one of the most powerful relational lessons I have learned. One of the most powerful ways to build connection with someone is to be humble enough to need them just as they need you. And, just to be clear, I’m convinced we need each other. As a follower of Jesus, you simply cannot fulfill the Great Commandment without loving other people—and necessarily letting them love you too.
People that are close to my life will recognize at even a slight glance that I am surely more needy of my beloved wife than she could ever be of me, right? But I suspect that, if you really dig into it, you would find that my need for her is just more obvious and visible (largely because I’m the big mouth here) than her need for me. We can’t get around the fact that we need each other.
But this is true in relationships of all kinds. I have come to see that one of the best ways to build trust with someone is to ask for their help and then ask how I can help them. And yet, I find that so many of us are so incredibly eager to help others but so slow to ask for help for ourselves.
Do we realize that our unwillingness to need someone else is really robbing us of a much stronger relationship?
Many centuries back, an extremely wise (and exorbitantly wealthy) king shared the notes on his research project to explore every option and seek meaning in all the things that we are inclined to pursue. He said we need others. Consider his words here:
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.Ecclesiastes 4.9-12
You see, the guy who could buy and sell attendants without thought concluded… we need people to lean on. I have a hunch that, if he could listen to Anne Murray’s song, he would say, “Yeah, that makes sense.”