I was 7 years old when American singer-songwriter Bill Withers released Lean on Me” the first single from his second album. Even then, I really liked that song and remember belting it out whenever mom played it on the stereo. I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed jamming to this song; it was a hit across the United States and around the world. This song has a vast appeal, as people from just about any background can relate to the lyrics. Its message translated across demographic lines. At some point in our lives, we will all come to realize that “We all need somebody to lean on.”
Perhaps this song resonates with us because it strikes a chord at the heart of God’s plan for us, relationships. God created us first for a relationship with him as well as relationships with one another. We were never meant to do life alone, in fact, the greatest commandment—to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind and to love our neighbor as our self—is all about relationships (Matthew 22:36-40).
Ladies, it’s not always easy to admit that we need anything, especially in today’s world, where women have become more self-reliant and self-sufficient. However, God made us need. Needing God and others is not a weakness, it is human. Emotional connectivity remains a core part of our being, and very often we may feel an emptiness when we are not plugged into God and others. Oh, how well I remember having that feeling before my relationship with God. My heart ached for something more, someone trustworthy, somewhere eternal.
How about you? Do you see your need to build, maintain, and expand your relationship with God and others? Now, we know that it’s not exactly easy all the time; relationships are messy and challenging but necessary — especially your relationship with God. So, how about starting by telling him how much you need Him. Be honest with God. Matthew 5:3 says “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs” (New Living Translation).
Additionally, how about we tell the others in our circle that we need them. Let’s be humble and accept that life is a team sport. As I age, I have come to value the innumerable people who have contributed to everything I am and have accomplished, just by meeting a need in me. I would not be the woman I am if it were not for the many women who invested time, instruction, and love in me to help me as a wife, mother, leader, and career woman. As a daughter who has lost two parents to cancer, I can’t imagine going thru that pain and sorrow without friends to lean on. As a wife and mother who has gotten to the end of my rope, I’m afraid to think of not having friends to lean on. As a leader and career woman who instructs and empowers other women, I shudder to think about not having a circle of advisors who are honest with me, even when it hurts.
The truth is, we need others as much as others need us. Each one of us has a unique gift that is meant to be used to serve others. Like the song says, maybe, “I just might have a problem that you’ll understand, we all need somebody to lean on.” We each have something inside that others can lean on. It might be your ability to listen, your heart of compassion or your knack for speaking the truth in love. Whatever it is you have to give, the people you love and care about need you, and you need them. Expressing this to them might invite deeper more meaningful relationships.
Shawn E. Patterson, (@spattersonlife), Author, Motivational Speaker, Leadership Developer, Ministry Leader who passionately educates and empowers others to discover their true purpose and navigate the uncertainties of life. She is the author of Women Who Dare to Dream and the Co-Founder of M&S Patterson Life Consulting which provides marriage and parenting workshops.