Why I Rewrote “Seek”

I love songwriting. For the past 13 years, it’s been one of my greatest joys. I remember some of the first songs I wrote back in the day and I’m glad no ever heard them. They were trite and horrible, but I learned from them. I am now writing songs that I’m happy with and others think are good.

The first song I wrote that my church started singing was called Seek. Most of the song was written during a spontaneous worship time, but the verses were written quickly afterwards without much thought in a rush just to finish the song. Overall, I never took the time to craft the song to make sure its focus, grammar, and theology was right. Yet our church loved it! (Note: there’s a sermon there. Just because people like it doesn’t mean it’s good or theologically correct.)

It’s been 10 years since I’ve written the song. Since then it’s been played in multiple churches, recorded on my EP project, and memorized and loved by hundreds of people. In the last 3 years, I’ve become more and more uncomfortable with the lack of focus I’ve given this song, particularly theologically. I finally decided to re-write the verses to the song.

Here were the old words to the song. You can listen to the song here.

Verse 1
How lovely is Your temple
Majesty You bestow
Your name is holy alone
You are my loving Savior
Righteous in all Your ways
I bow before you Lord and say

Pre-chorus
That the one thing I always have desired
And the one thing I always have sought (is)

Chorus
To dwell in the house of the Lord
To worship Him, praise and adore
To stay in the presence of the King
This is what I want, this is what I seek
You are what I want, You are what I seek

Verse 2
I stand in awe and wonder
How You could love me so
How could you call me Your own
Your grace, it overwhelms me
It causes me to draw near
Knowing that You will hear my prayer

Pre-chorus
Chorus

Bridge
You’re all I want
You’re all I need
You’re all I’m asking for
You’re all I seek

Here are a few reasons why I decided to change the above verses.

Unfocused cliches

In the recent years, I’ve never liked how unfocused the verses are. They are basically random worship cliches  thrown together with no focus and nothing they truly link to. The verses don’t paint a story or declare a message. I wrote them in 2 minutes and that’s exactly how it reads. There is little weight or theology behind these words. While the pre-chorus and chorus are pulled from scripture (Psalm 27), the verses are lacking in any grandness of theology or greatness of God.

Self-centered vs God-centered

The biggest problem I’ve had with the old verses is how they are self-centered. In the last few years, I’ve been acutely aware how most worship songs (including mine) are more about us than about God. I’ve refocused my songwriting to make God the center of the song instead of me. Even singing us is better than singing I or me. While I still write lyrics that are personal, I am striving to write more and more about God and what’s He’s like and why He is deserving of worship.

Emotion vs a response

In reading the verses, they are quite emotional. While I like and believe in emotion, I wanted a higher vision for the song than our passion for God. In reading Psalm 27, where the song is taken from, the psalmist desires to dwell with God, not from his own personal passion but in response to what he has seen. I don’t think this point can be overstated: we worship God, seek Him, love Him, desire to stay by Him…all in response to God revealing Himself. When we see God, we love Him and want more of Him. I found this to be a much better source and foundation for the song than my own passion.

This even changes the implication of the song. The old words made it a lie if you weren’t passionate for God when you were singing it. I wanted the verses to declare that worship was about who He is and how He moves my heart to love Him, not how my performance sometimes moves me to self-centered worship.

Teaching by example

In our church, we have several people who are starting to write songs. They ask for my advice and help and I’ve been teaching them and giving them a few tips. I realized that while I can tell them that theology is important and crafting a song well is needed, it’s all meaningless if I don’t follow what I say. It’s just words unless I am willing to teach and lead by example. The song’s popularity can help drive this point home: there is no song too sacred or popular that negates the need to fix poor theology.

Seek, Revised

Here are the new words to Seek. The changes are in red.

Verse 1
How lovely is Your temple
Majesty You bestow
Your name is holy alone
You are the Lord of glory
Over all things You reign
You are now and always the same

Pre-chorus
And the one thing I always have desired
And the one thing I always have sought (is)

Chorus
To dwell in the house of the Lord
To worship Him, praise and adore
To stay in the presence of the King
This is what I want, this is what I seek
You are what I want, You are what I seek

Verse 2
You stand alone in wonder
Matchless in strength and awe
Who can compare to You o God
Your love burns like a fire
Your grace compels my soul
To draw near and approach the throne

Pre-chorus
For the one thing I always have desired
And the one thing I always have sought (is)

Chorus
To dwell in the house of the Lord
To worship Him, praise and adore
To stay in the presence of the King
This is what I want, this is what I seek
You are what I want, You are what I seek

Bridge
You’re all I want
You’re all I need
You’re all I’m asking for
You’re all I seek

I am praying that these new lyrics accomplish what I set out to do. While they make not be uber-artistic, my main concern was making the song focus more on God. In that, I feel more comfortable with this.