Platforms vs. Influence

I used to think I wanted a platform. In fact, I spent a lot of time dreaming about my platform.

I wrote blog posts. I thought about all the future books I could write. I dreamed about what I could wear. I fixated on what my platform could look like, if only…

It’s that if only that started to kill me. If only I was married to someone whose salary could pay the bills for me to focus on building my platform every day. If only I knew people who knew people who could help me be seen so my platform could be a little bit higher. If only I had more experiences to write about. If only I had a little bit more discipline to actually work on the platform I thought I so desperately wanted.

This year, I decided to stop waiting for my life to be more interesting, for me to be a more disciplined writer and for more flexibility. I paid better attention to what brought me life, energy and excitement.

Yes, podiums are an amazing place of proclamation. Books have a farther reach than I could wrap my mind around. But, as I listened to the whisper of my heart, I started to understand that I did my best work across a table from someone. You can’t look someone in the eyes across the pages. You certainly can’t reach for someone’s hand from a podium. I started to wonder if I really wanted that platform. And if I didn’t what a platform, what did I want?

Maybe what I really desired was influence.

I wanted to influence people for Christ. I wanted them to see that Jesus had called them to live an abundant life, and to help them move towards that. I wanted to see women break out of bad routines, patterns and thought processes, and be able to flourish.

The more I thought about it, I realized that I already had influence. I just had to make the most of it.

I could do that in my right-now life. The if only’s started to fade away. I didn’t need someone else’s salary, or even to be married. I didn’t to know the right people. I didn’t need more experiences. More discipline is always good, but once I was serving closer to my sweet spot, I also had more motivation. My current circumstances weren’t to be resented, but embraced.

My prayers changed from, “God, give me the opportunity to…” to “God, help me make the most of each of the opportunities I have.”

The irony is that new opportunities began to present themselves. Six weeks ago, my friend Kate and I led the first week of a 6-week Disciple-Making Training. We sat around her dining room table, surrounded by women, and our Bibles open. We shared our stories and talked about the Holy Spirit. After a brief activity, I lifted my eyes from right in front of me to across from me. I thanked God as the moment passed, remembering that around the table is where I feel most like myself.

I used to think that I needed a platform to have influence. But, what I’ve learned is that I have influence every single day. The real question is: what am I going to do with it? 

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