I have spent a lot of time around some fantastically creative, gifted people lately who do not have big platforms. They are in their spot using their gifts in incredible ways and it is changing people’s worlds. HOWEVER, in their honest moments, they sort of wonder if they are measuring up or if their work really matters since their platform isn’t skyrocketing. WE MUST STOP this silly game of numbers and eyeballs.
The lie is this … If it isn’t big—it doesn’t matter. Then because we believe it … we make influence the goal rather than loving God and people with all of our gifts and life.
If you make influence your goal,
… your work will become bland and unoriginal,
… your heart will become consumed with what the world thinks,
… you’ll miss the Holy Spirit’s incredible work right in front of you,
… your soul will get so sick because it will never be satisfied,
and rather than give God away through your gifts, you will use Him to get somewhere.
I don’t know if there is any greater lie from the devil right now.
“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands.” 1 Thess 4:11
This last year I led a Bible study here in my hometown of Austin. It was smaller than the thousands of people I lead when I travel and speak or through IF:Gathering, but I used my gift of writing and created a study/an experience. I taught my guts out, prayed with people afterward and it was the greatest joy!
I am telling you—give me a living room, give me a stadium, but allow me to use my gifts for God’s glory and people’s good and I am so fulfilled.
So what do we do to fight this?
Use your gifts—somehow, some way, anywhere, any time. Forget about size or impact or reach. Just do it for someone who needs what God has given you. As you see God meeting need around you, you forget about ALL THE PEOPLE out there and see the people right in front of you who needed what you weren’t giving because you didn’t think it was important.
Take breaks from the Internet—never have everyone’s accomplishments been right in our space like they are today. Just pull away so you are sure your eyes are fixed on Christ and you are running your race and not looking side to side trying to run someone else’s.
Celebrate character over attention—What do I mean by this?
I will never forget my first Women of Faith conference: I had barely released one book and barely had 100 twitter followers. NO ONE knew who I was—and they put me in a book signing line next to the WOF demi-god Lisa Harper! Her line wrapped the whole arena—and I had three people in my line. I had a choice—I could compare and possibly burst into tears OR I could decide to celebrate that I get to go deeper with the few dear people right in front of me. They had tears in their eyes, they had photos of their adopted kids, they had been changed by something I said or something I did.
I decided that day to celebrate every time I don’t get credit, I am overlooked, I am made to feel small …
because the truth is I am small and I’m not building my name or following—I am building Christ’s.
Scripture is clear that when we receive attention, praise and reward here—that’s it. That is all we get. We have received our reward. I know it is so terribly backward, but we should celebrate when we obey and serve and create and do not get attention here.
We are content and grateful for eternal rewards built from obedient invisible moments, not the jolt of feeling seen and important here.
And when we do get noticed or followed or as the book signing line gets longer—we learn to keep that same attitude. Serve, see, love and make much of God and the person standing right in front of us.
Build small somewhere, with your real life people who help you remember the real reasons we do what we do and the people who will kick you in the hiney if you start to think you are something! I have some right here that do a pretty good job of hiney kicking!
Is having a big platform or following a bad thing? Well obviously it is not. But put your identity in it—your soul will get sick fast.
May we desire to be helpful rather than important.
May we see individuals and not follower numbers.
May we seek to make God’s name great and not our own.
What has been stealing your joy as you have been using your gifts and obeying God lately?