1.23.2015

"Lean On Me" Review

Lean on Me by Anne Marie Miller
The book "Lean On Me" by Anne Marie Miller has a deceiving title, in my opinion. The author calls this a book about building community, but it's really more of a chronicle of the dark places she has been in her life. Through a divorce, failed jobs and moves, and financial troubles, Anne Marie candidly shares her struggles and reveals just how her community, or "team" as she calls it, helped her back into God's light. Back into a place of vulnerability and joy, despite the darkness she had been through. She shares her challenges in overcoming her introverted and isolating tendencies, and beginning to participate in a committed and vulnerable way with those around her in order to build authentic relationships.

Anne Marie's ability to be raw and open is refreshing and relatable; something that can be hard to find among perfectly crafted lives displayed through blogs, social media, and television. We have all been to those dark places that make us want to hide from the world under our guilt and shame. "Lean On Me," challenges you to break free of those self-imposed chains.

In my favorite part of the book, Anne Marie talks about a church service that she attended where the elders had offered to wash the congregation's feet. After a long, hard year following her divorce, she was anything but vulnerable, especially with God. She writes, "As the choir sang and the rest of the congregation had their feet washed, I realized how hard it is for me to choose to receive love, and learning to receive love is just as important as giving it." I'm pretty sure that if I asked you to raise your hand if you had ever felt like you had a hard time just receiving love, many of us would have ours lifted high. I know I would.

Vulnerability is hard and scary. Annie Marie does not try to hide that truth. Instead, she lovingly encourages her reader to express those things that take root in them and begin to position themselves in a place to receive a refilling. Otherwise, she explains, we will run dry.

Although this is called a "Christian" book, it's not full of biblical references. It's also not full of a tidy to-do list of steps to take in order to create the perfect community or learn how to be more vulnerable. It is, however, an honest book that can begin to open your heart to the importance of building a community. It also comes with a study guide, which would be a great tool to utilize with a church group or close friends!

I will be honest and say that this book was nothing like I had expected. Now, we all know that's not necessarily a bad thing. Instead of pulling out my journal to take notes on how to step outside of my comfort zone and create an intentional community with other women, I found myself looking back on my own life. To the things that hurt me; the things that made me shut myself off from community. This book will challenge you to take a look at your life from a new perspective and challenge you to think about whether or not you like what you see.

*BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review. All opinions are honest and my own.
 
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7 comments :

  1. This is sounds like a good book - adding it to my list!

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  2. It really was! It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but not at all in a bad way!

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  3. Thank you, Cassie! I appreciate your honest review. You're not the first one to discuss the misleading title...haha! I guess something we all in publishing can learn from. Appreciate your gracious words...and your blog is lovely!

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  4. Thank you for taking the time to read this, Anne! It means a lot that you respond to constructive reviews! Actually, the title is what caught my attention in the first place, so maybe not completely misleading- just didn't meet my preconceived notions! I look forward to reading more from you!

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  5. This certainly sounds like a book I'd be interested in reading! Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

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  6. This book sounds excellent. Thank you for telling us your real thoughts about it!

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  7. Thanks for taking the time to read! It really is a great book- I think everyone will be able to relate to it at one point or another.

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I would love to hear from you! I try to respond to all comments.