I never liked to be on stage. Growing up, I had a severe case of if-I-get-on-stage-and-have-to-speak-in-front-of-lots-of-people-I-might-die. The thought of standing up in front of a classroom of my peers made me want to upchuck– or get up and chuck myself out the window. After years (and I mean years) of tears, sweat, self pep talks, practice, and prayers, I can now read something off of a page in front of a large group of people. And, miracle of miracles, I can now speak, even ad-lib, like a normal person in front of smaller groups of people. If I’m really comfortable in a group, I can even be outgoing and obnoxious. This is what led to my Spanish professor in college calling me a “sinverguenza” or “shameless person.”
I still get nervous nearly every time I have to speak or merely do something in front of people in a formal environment. However, God has definitely, by his grace, taught me how not to let those nerves get the best of me. Still, if I have the choice to either be on stage or in the audience, I’d choose the audience every time.
It’s different with writing. I’ve always felt comfortable with my words on the page. And I actually enjoy it when people read what I’ve written. When it comes to writing, while I appreciate a good book, I don’t really want to be in the audience. I want to be the one on the stage. In the past two years, I’ve been blessed to build this blog into a platform where I get to share my words several times a week. My stats and influence aren’t really that impressive, but every time someone tells me they’ve read one of my posts or that something I wrote affected them, it’s one of the best feelings in the world to me. It shows me that what I love and what (I think) I’m good at actually makes a difference, even if it’s only a tiny one.
Guest posts are painful for me. I like to do them because they give me a break and because there are people I’ve been blessed with in my life who are also talented writers and have great stories to tell. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to share my stage– this platform I’ve built for myself.
Bloggers use the word platform a lot, but the more I use it in reference to myself, the more I realize how similar a platform is to a pedestal. It’s a bitter pill to swallow when a guest post is the most successful post in your blog’s history. But it’s also an important check to my pride and a reminder of what my “platform” is for in the first place. It’s not to lift me up. It’s to lift up my God.
So recently, when a friend’s post on my blog did extremely well, I was excited a) because it was a great post with a message that was obviously touching people and b) because my blog was getting quite a bit of traffic. At the same time, it was a blow to my ego that it wasn’t something I’d written that was getting all the attention. And most people who read his post did not explore the rest of the site (I know– I saw the stats).
I knew it was ridiculous to be upset about this, letting my pride get the best of me, but I wanted to hang on to it, to be justified in my reluctance to share my platform. Then I ran across Psalm 34:3:
Proclaim Yahweh’s greatness with me;
let us exalt His name together.
There is great joy in working together to bring God glory. As I said before, my platform is not about me (at least, that’s not why I built it in the first place). I want it to glorify God. But sometimes, even if we’ve hammered and sawed and sanded a stage with our own hands, we have to let someone else climb the steps, recite the lines, and take a bow. If it’s truly built to serve a purpose, sometimes that purpose must be accomplished by someone else. If this blog is truly here to tell of God’s love and truth, sometimes I must take a step back and let someone else’s words take the spotlight. I can’t say everything. Some things can only be said, some stories can only be told, and some phrases can only be coined by someone other than me.
This concept doesn’t just apply my blog. This applies to you, too. We all have a platform of some sort. It could be writing, but it could also be music, preaching, ministry, teaching, sports, construction, acting, painting, making coffee– wherever you find your spotlight. Sometimes, the best way to use your platform is to share it with someone else. It might hurt your pride, but it can advance your purpose. Especially if that purpose is to glorify God.
COMMENT: When was a time you had to share your platform? What did you learn from that experience?