Lean on Me–Book Review

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Communityit’s a word that gets thrown around quite often. Our culture (especially within the church) talks about how important it is to be a part of a community. Last month, I was working at a conference and watched as these creatives were drawn to each other. Friendships and collaborations quickly formed as they helped each other get to the next level.

During this time, I also was able to hang out with one of my oldest friends. Throughout our lives, we’ve gotten in each other’s face when one has gotten off track and encouraged each other to stay on the paths we were made for. Our adult lives have been lived across the country from each other. Phone calls, email, texts, and Facebook have been our lifelines. We realized though, that the distance makes it easy to cover up when things might not be going so well. To only share when and what we want. That there is definitely a difference when we are face to face.

It got me thinking about what real community is. My closest friends really are my oldest friends, but I am horrible about just living life and not thinking it’s important to let them into the day-to day stuff. And to choose when I’m vulnerable and what I’m vulnerable about.

I came home and started reading Anne Miller’s book, Lean on Me, and she talks about how true community happens when you are vulnerable and intentional. I realized that I’ve been so bad in both of these areas for way too long, and then I wonder how come I don’t feel as close to people as I would like to. That needs to change, and I am the one who needs to start with making the change.

To be close to the people in your life, you need to start by being honest with who you are and where you are. When you do those things, the right people will be drawn to you. This is not something to fear, but to embrace. God has created us to be in relationshipnot just with Him, but with each other. It’s what makes our life on this earth whole.

When You Feel Weary

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Well sometimes my life just don’t make sense at all
When the mountains look so big
And my faith just seems so small
So hold me Jesus ’cause I’m shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace

As these lyrics washed over me, the tears would not stop. This song came back into my life at just the right time.

Sunday, I walked into church alone…again. It was a fight within myself to go in the first place. Church is one place that is so difficult to enter as a “table of one.” I found my seat and as the service started, it turned out that I was the only one sitting in my row. The music starts and God’s presence is so palpable to me that it is taking up the other seats in the row. It’s like He’s letting me know that He longs to fill that place of loneliness for me. To be all that I long for. To trust that He knows what I truly need and believe that He will fulfill it. I can’t stop being grateful for those moments of getting just an “extra dose” of God’s presence.

Christmas is a time of anticipation. My pastor had talked about how before Jesus was born, God had not spoken to His people for 400 years. 400 YEARS! (Yikes…I get bummed after a few days of silence.) The point was that God wasn’t being silent just to be quiet. He was busy getting things ready for His biggest message to the world ever — the birth of Jesus.

Again, when we think things aren’t happening, we have no idea what is going on behind the scenes. I have a tendency to get wrapped up in what is not happening. Thinking those steps backward are because God is taking something away from me, or I’ve done something wrong, or that He doesn’t want me to succeed. (Yep, the downward spiral gets ugly) I struggle with keeping the faith that God is preparing me for something beyond my wildest imagination.

As this Christmas season comes to an end, I want to end it well. I want to have the spirit of anticipation that Mary and Joseph had. I want to chase after Jesus like the shepherds and wise men did. I want to have the faith that Mary did when she just said “yes” to God. Those extra doses of God’s presence serve as reminders that He is there…ALWAYS.

I pray that this Christmas is encouraging for you. That as the last present is unwrapped, the last piece of food is eaten, and the decorations are taken down, that you will reflect on just how God is always there for you even when you don’t feel it. And sometimes you get a special moment with Him when it’s needed most.