There’s a fine line between need and want. I think it’s fair to say that the two concepts are related…they are, at the very least, cousins.
But how do you know when want spills over to need, or need becomes want? There are some things that are straight up needs. Air. Food. Water (to state the obvious) These are tangible, undisputed needs.
Other things, though, get a bit more tricky. Love, for example. Friendship. Community. Some categorize them as needs, others as wants. They’re things that make life more enjoyable, full, and vibrant, but at the most basic level I’d say it’s possible to live without them.
However, I would argue that a life lived without these intangible things (and many more) isn’t a very GOOD life. It’s not one that can be enjoyed to the full and appreciated. So then do those things become a need, assuming that we need to have a full, vibrant life?
Because to need something means you cannot survive without it. Need is one of those words that’s hard to even define, because the concept is so deeply ingrained into us. Little kids don’t need someone to explain what it means to need food, they just KNOW. The same goes for want. In fact, Dictionary.com uses the word “want” in the definition for need, and the word “need” in the definition for want. Little kids (such as my oh-so-adorable 2-year-old niece) often use the terms interchangeably, as she says “My need fruit snacks!” (her grammar isn’t stellar yet, but cut her a little slack) Clearly these terms have some sort of overlap, but also some very distinguishing differences.
If you tell someone you want to see them, it’s flattering. Say you need to see them, though, and you begin to sound desperate, clingy, perhaps slightly irrational. Seeing them isn’t essential to your existence, but you desire it so badly it’s nearly a need. Your life would be less full, not quite as good, slightly less great than it could be, without them. So here we go again, stuck in this circle of need or want.
So I smooshed the words together. Nant. (Yes, I realize it’s a ridiculous word, but there aren’t many combinations of two four letter words that aren’t actual words, so my options were limited.) It’s that weird land we so often fall in of something being more than a want, but not quite entirely a need. A nant. You could survive without it, but you’d really prefer not to.
In all this land of nant, I’m finding comfort in something I once heard. God doesn’t need us, he wants us. Brianna! is not essential to God’s existence. However, God has seen fit to make me, and he wants me. Desires me. I’ve been picked, chosen, called. Saved. Because God WANTS me. He could live without me, but he’d rather not.
And that is something worth smiling (and writing) about.
Til next time…