The first time I prayed for community was between my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college. I was beginning to realize what I wanted and needed in friendship. Since that time it has been something that I have wanted and craved at the different places that I’ve lived.
In college, South Korea, moving back to Tennessee, and now in my most recent move to Pennsylvania.
The thing is that I didn’t just want shallow friendship. I wanted to have friendships that allowed us to talk deeply and be honest with each other.
When I read the book Lean On Me by Anne Marie Miller I was floored.
Her writing spoke to me about intentional, vulnerable, and consistent community. Things that I craved. But it also challenged me because in having this kind of friendship you cannot be passive. You see, I tend to be introverted when getting to know people. It is almost painful when getting to know someone to allow myself to be vulnerable and trust others. In this book I found tools and ideas to help. But it definitely challenged me because I have to be intentional to create this community.
Miller not only discusses the need for our commitment and vulnerability to others but also with God. Both aspects of life are vital. She shares truth over and over again that will challenge you and help you on the journey to intentional, vulnerable, and consistent community with God and others.
In telling her own heart in this book I, in return, felt that my heart was open and honest in my need for community and my own conversation with God. There were many times that I felt like I was reading what my own heart has said.
This book also has a study guide in the back so that you can dig deeper yourself, or do with a small group. After I read this book alone, I also did it with a small group. Both times I read it I felt the desire to grow. My copy is underlined, starred, and written in. To me, that speaks of a good book.
I am still learning how to do this intentional, vulnerable, and consistent community with God and others. But this book was an incredible blessing to me.
And no matter what, I know that God cares about community–and friendships, because in each of the places I have lived, God had has answered my prayers. In college I roomed with other ladies who would become some of my best friends. In South Korea the close knit-community between the teachers showed me what community was supposed to be like. In Tennessee I witnessed intentional community and became folded into some beautiful friendships. And now, in Pennsylvania I await eagerly what God will do and how He will grow me with Himself and others.