I own a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
In Lean On Me, Anne Marie Miller tells a very personal story of her struggle to find an “intentional, vulnerable, and consistent community” through which to heal and change her life to one which would be open to leaning on others and allow others to lean on her. While she presents her biographical timeline, the acknowledgment of her need for others to come alongside began at a particularly low point in her life when physical symptoms of that need began to incapacitate her. The time had come for her to completely re-evaluate decisions made and the path she had chosen. The road to recovery began with a phone call to a friend who, she knew, would ‘tell it like it is’.
Anne Marie points out that, as humans, we have a dichotomy of emotions: we long to be independent and yet a part of us wants to belong. She talks about different kinds of friendships that we all have. Some relationships are superficial, where we commit nothing and are in no way vulnerable. In other relationships, we can have a commitment, and yet still not allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Or vice versa. But how many of us can actually say that we have relationships where we are both committed and vulnerable? And yet this, she says, is what makes a community.
I found this book to be very challenging. Not to read; it was a quick read, flowing easily, and logically laid out. Not that it wasn’t deep; it was extremely deep, and scripture-based. But it was challenging for me on a personal level; I found myself questioning my own relationships to re-evaluate also, and to climb over that wall we tend to build when we’ve been hurt. While the narrative of this book is moving and revealing, I believe the Reader’s Guide at the back which asks questions, then presents next right steps followed by a prayer, is what will change the lives of those who read this book. I have read the book through once, but now my goal is to reread chapter by chapter, honestly answering the questions from the guide for that chapter. Saying so in print is my commitment to re-examining my choices and to begin forming a truly “intentional, vulnerable, and consistent” community of my own. I challenge you to read this book and see if you are inspired to do the same.