Compass Resources for Leaning on Others

“We all need somebody to lean on. Lean on me when you’re not strong and I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on. For, it won’t be long, till I’m gonna need somebody to lean on.” – Bill Withers

In 1972, while some drove their Chevy to the levee and hoped music could save their mortal soul, Bill Withers released his chart-topper “Lean on Me” and its timeless message provided a valuable reminder that still resonates deeply: we all face challenges, and when we lean on one another, we find solace, encouragement, and the strength to persevere.

The sentiment is beautifully simple and true. If it’s so simple, though, why do we live in a world that is constantly becoming more isolated and disconnected?

Why We Don’t Lean On Each Other

A primary factor is the fear of vulnerability. Authentic community requires us to share our thoughts, emotions, and experiences with others and this level of openness can leave us feeling exposed and susceptible to judgment, or worse, rejection. Isolation becomes an easy-out, especially in a culture that values and celebrates individualism, self-reliance, and self-sufficiency. The rise of social media and virtual interactions have created a paradox where we are more connected to others digitally, but that connection is mostly an illusion while lacking the depth and intimacy that true community provides.

An experiment called Rat Park, conducted by Canadian psychologist Bruce K. Alexander, highlighted the value and influence of community. The experiment involved two groups of rats: one living in isolated cages, and one living in community in a stimulating and enriched environment called Rat Park. Both groups were given equal access to two water bottles, one with plain water and one laced with morphine. During the experiment, the rats in Rat Park consumed significantly less morphine-laced water compared to the isolated rats, and when the previously isolated rats were introduced to Rat Park after 57 days of choosing the morphine-laced water, they quickly switched to drinking only the plain water. The study underscored the vital role of community in overall well-being and demonstrated that fostering a sense of belonging, fulfillment, and connection is crucial for individuals to lead healthier, happier lives.

God Wants Us to Lean On Each Other

In a world often marked by isolation and self-centeredness, Scripture tells us time and again of the transformative power of authentic community. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up.” Proverbs 27:17 states, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Galatians 6:2 reminds us to, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” And John 10:10 recounts Jesus saying, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Fear of vulnerability will tell you to keep to yourself, but don’t allow it to hold you back one second longer. At Crucible, we believe wholeheartedly in creating communities where we can lean on one another. Fear is strong, but abundant life and authentic community wait on the other side – come join us!