As a blogger, I’m often asked how to build a platform; how to increase readership; how to “get seen”. Other bloggers make a living teaching these things to new writers. But as a believer, I don’t answer these questions. Quite honestly, I can’t.
From the very beginning of my blogging “career”, I committed to never pursue numbers. As hobby became part time job and now a supplemental income for our family, I have been constantly tempted by the appeal of the numbers game. While I certainly educate myself about marketing, social media trends, and blogging issues, I continue to prayerfully remain faithful to what I knew was necessary at the beginning: To write truth and write it well, whether or not anyone reads it.
This doesn’t make sense for a writer. Should I not be pursuing a platform? Should I not be working to get my message heard? If one thing has remained abundantly clear in my walk with the Lord, it is the answer to these questions. And the answer is no.
God does not need my platform, period.
God Gives the Platform as the Message is Preached
I realize that this may be personal to my walk with the Lord and His call on my life. Consider this post descriptive, not prescriptive. But I firmly believe, given what we see of God’s work with mankind in Scripture, that platform is not earned but given. As we are faithful to follow the Lord and to preach the message He has given us to share, He gradually increases our visibility. He does this according to our spiritual maturity; what we can handle in that season of life.
Three years ago, I could not have managed the following my blog currently maintains. It’s not that I wasn’t technologically astute enough; I was not spiritually mature enough. Pride would have destroyed any positive outcome my writing accomplished, and sometimes, that’s exactly what it did. Each time a post of mine went viral, it was followed by long seasons of quiet; times where I had to assess whether I was writing for numbers, for readers, for applause – or for Jesus.
God grants a platform to those who faithfully follow Him into the quietness. Sometimes all we hear is the echo of our own voice. But as it reverberates in our minds and hearts, we learn what should be said better, how we can improve, and what He really wants us to say.
Closet Before Rooftop
Beth Moore once said our priority should be “closet before rooftop”. Before we find a rooftop to declare God’s glory to the masses, we should be spending a lot more time in the closet. The closet is the quiet place, the secret spot, the place no one can see you or your relationship with God. It’s where you hash out what you believe and ask the hard questions. It’s where you meet God in the midst of your own struggles and pain and baggage and instead of advertising it in an Instagram caption, you actually take time to process it with Him.
We live in an age where a quiet time isn’t complete unless there’s a photo of it (read more here). Like the Pharisees who prayed on street corners, we pray and read and seek God on social media, where everyone can see everything, all the time.
This dilutes our message. It limits our testimony.
My testimony of overcoming sexual sin was shared after years of processing with the Lord. I shudder to think what would have happened had I exposed this struggle before I had truly dealt with it. I could have been sucked in by the appeal of “authenticity” and “vulnerability”, both terms we use liberally online. But true authenticity and vulnerability happen best in real life relationships, including our relationship with the Lord.
We need the closet before we are ready for the rooftop, and too many young writers get these two reversed.
Raise Him Up in a “Raise Me Up” World
I have three commitments as a writer:
- To never pursue numbers, but to pursue the Lord’s guidance.
- To not seek to profit off of God’s truth, but to proclaim it willingly and freely.
- To drive my readers to God and to His Word, not to myself.
I hope and pray those things are accomplished in my work. But these things cannot happen if my goal as a writer is to raise myself up; to build my platform so “God” can be heard.
If God wants to be heard, He will be heard.
He does not need me to build Him a platform. He is the ultimate platform-builder. I often think of Peter, who was not well-spoken and was often impulsive. His sermon at Pentecost brought 3,000 people to Christ in one day. But Jesus didn’t tell Him to go to Jerusalem and find a rooftop; He didn’t tell Peter to work for a platform. He told Peter and the other disciples to wait. Wait for the Spirit. Wait for Him to descend in power, to give you what to say in the exact language it needs to be heard.
And when they obeyed Him, He gave them a platform.
God doesn’t need my platform. And honestly? I don’t think He needs yours either. But there’s something He wants.
Your willingness to obey Him, even in the echo.