My Platform Dilemma

I grew up in the racially diverse community of Marianna, Arkansas, and in the 1970s, aka my formative years, platform shoes were popular among many people.

Stacks, we called them.

I knew several people who wore them, boys and girls, including some who even had platform tennis shoes. I thought they were the coolest things ever. They looked cool and they made you taller. Not me, mind you. White guys didn’t wear stacks. I’m still not sure why, but it still makes me sad.

Thirty-plus years later, platforms are popular, and not just the kind you wear. Now days, you need a “platform” to grow your “personal brand” so you can market yourself in the digital age and make some money off the “Internet of Everything.”

Platforms are measured in things like, well, … likes. And followers. And re-tweets. And shares. And klout scores.

Some people naturally have platforms: Entertainers. Sports stars. Politicians. Speakers. Famous authors. Preachers.

Missing from that list? Me.

I’ve spent most of my life blissfully in the background. Frankly, I’m in no hurry to find fame. It scares me. I’m not worthy of it, and I’m pretty confident I couldn’t handle it.

So this brings me to what I call my “platform dilemma.” I have been involved with a couple of books that are about to hit the market. I wrote one and co-authored the other because I believed I was given a message to share that would help people.

That’s not a bad reason. I didn’t write them to get rich. I’m not opposed to getting rich, but that’s not why I wrote the books. But books are darn near worthless if they aren’t read. So I want people to read these books and, hopefully, gain something positive from them.

Since I don’t have a substantial platform (or own platform shoes), I’m going to count on something even better to get the word out about these books: God. I’ll try to do my part, because, as the saying goes, hope is not a strategy. So I have a website and I post stuff on social media. But I’ll trust God for the results.

I figure that what ever my “platform,” it’s big enough that God can use it. If people read the books and like them, they’ll share them with others. They’ll buy copies for their friends and co-workers. They’ll donate copies of Grow Like Jesus to their church. They’ll buy copies of Forging Grit for their work teams. They’ll talk about them on social media. They’ll do all sorts of things to spread the word and the message.

Their platforms will become a platform for the books. It’ll be just like junior high school. But I’ll be happy, not sad.

 

Sit Down and Grow

One of the most important steps we can take if we want to grow like Jesus is to simply spend time with Jesus. I know, it makes sense in a way that makes you say, “Well, duh.” But in light of the obvious truth we have to ask an obvious question: Why don’t we actually do it?

It’s not like God isn’t available to anyone who wants to spend time with Him. Ask and you will receive. Knock and the door shall be opened. God is there – everywhere, all the time. Omnipresent.

I know a man who claimed to have a near-death experience. You know the kind: The doctors said he was gone. Call-the-hearse-dead. Then, mysteriously, he was alive again. As far as I know, he’s the only person alive who claims to have died and then didn’t write a book about it. But he did tell me that while he was “out of body,” he spent part of the time sitting on a log visiting with Jesus.

I neither believe his story nor doubt his story. He was, as they say, eccentric, but in a believable sort of way. But I do believe we don’t have to die (or nearly die) to talk to Jesus. He gave us the Holy Spirit. He gave us the Bible. He gave us prayer. So if we want to grow like Jesus, we can start by sitting down and talking with Him. Not just to Him, but with Him. The means we talk some and we listen a lot. Then we obey.

We don’t spend more time with Jesus, frankly, because we think we have better ways to spend our time. Harsh, but true. We’d rather sleep a little later, work a little longer, play a little harder. We have things to do, places to go, people to see. Color me guilty. But when those “things to do” don’t include spending time with Jesus, we miss a chance to connect with the God of the universe and experience real spiritual growth.

Bill Hybels, the pastor at Willow Creek in Chicagoland, tells a great story of how life-changing it can be to pull up a chair and spend some time with Jesus. Here’s a link to the 10-minute video. Watch the video, then pull up a chair and spend some time with Jesus.