I am a writer.
I make sense of my world by turning feelings into words—experiences into sentences.
Written words are as much a part of my daily life as eating and sleeping. And while some of my writing is private, and some only for a select audience, much of my writing involves words I long to share. Not because I am an expert or have it all figured out, but simply because I enjoy recording lessons and words God gives me, and I long to share them with others—just as a chef longs to share a new dish with patrons, or a composer longs to share a new melody with an audience.
God has nestled within each of us a desire to share our gifts with others. It is how we were created. And how he intends to bless and provide for his people. And yet, sadly, that innate desire to share our gifts can get twisted and tainted by selfish ambition, jealousy, insecurity and pride.
It is a desire that needs constant monitoring and guarding.
It is also a desire that—in order to be used as God intended it—needs to be surrendered to him daily.
Surrender. One of the two dreaded “S” words of the Bible. (the other of course is that most dreaded word: submit! But we will save that one for another day.)
Have you ever thought about what could happen if you surrendered your talent and gifts to the Giver of those gifts? Even if that means giving up dreams of a big platform, a book deal or thousands of followers?
We are living at a time when anyone can post a blog, self-publish a book, throw a video on YouTube and potentially reach thousands, if not millions, of people. And yet, the reality is the number of those who reach that level of fame or followers is tiny. Teeny-tiny.
But giant platforms are the standard, right? If you are a writer and want to have a book published with traditional publishing houses, most won’t even consider you unless you have 10,000+ likes, followers, comments etc. And so you write and follow and share and tweet and retweet and post and—unless you are one of the chosen few—you eventually give up because it’s exhausting!
All you want is to share a story God laid on your heart! All you want is to share with others the words he’s given you! But now, you feel beat-up, less than and defeated.
What’s the point?
Why is this so hard?
Why isn’t my platform growing? (by the way I vote that we erase the word platform from our lexicon!)
But what if we stop for just a minute, take a step back and consider something:
What if you are meant to share your story? What if the words God gave you are meant to be shared. BUT….what if they are simply meant to be shared in a different way?
A different venue? To a different audience—maybe even much smaller audience?
Would you be ok with that?
Would you surrender to God, your words, your story, and even your audience?
Consider this scenario:
You have lived through something tragic and know that your survival was the direct result of God’s presence and plan at work in your life. You have seen the light of hope and were drawn to it like a moth to a flame. You are living proof that God can redeem the worst life has to offer. And now, more than anything, you want to share your story with the world. You want to tell everyone what God did for you and encourage them, in the midst of their darkness, to look for his light. And so you write your thoughts down in the form of a book proposal. You write the first few chapters. You start a blog to begin building an audience. You schedule some facebook live videos to generate buzz. All so that you can share this amazing story. Because clearly God wants you to share this right? This was all him and you simply want to give him glory and help others. But weeks pass, months pass, and your platform has barely grown. You only have a handful of likes on your videos, a few comments on your blog from your aunt Sally, and an inbox full of rejection emails. “Lord, I just want to share my story,” you cry out, your passion beginning to wane. Feeling dejected and unnecessary, you are about to delete every word on your manuscript when you feel a whisper to your heart that says, “Then share it.”
“But they won’t listen, they don’t care,” you shoot back, convinced you are talking to yourself.
“Then share it with just one.”
The command is unmistakable and yet it goes against everything you have been taught.
“Just one? But this story needs to be told to millions Lord! It is so much bigger than just one! It’s a book! It needs to be a book! It needs a big platform. It needs to become a movement!”
You pretend the divine conversation didn’t happen. You don’t delete your manuscript but you do close your computer and decide to take some time away from building your platform. Then one day, needing a mid-day pick-me-up, you enter a coffee shop. and notice an old friend. She looks tired and far away. You smile and engage her in conversation. She confesses that life has gotten hard and things feel dark. You scoot in front of her in line and buy her coffee and then ask her to sit with you. You share your story with her. All of it. She is riveted.
“How did you survive that?” she asks, weary eyes fixed on yours as if they are a life-line.
You share how God held you through each painful moment. You cry with her. You pray with her. And she leaves. Lighter. And for the first time in a long time, full of hope.
You linger over your coffee, processing what just happened.
And though you will never know the impact your story had on that woman—or how the light of hope cast a glow over her that day that would grow into a flame which would allow her to shine the light of hope into the lives of many others—you suddenly see clearly the power of sharing with just one.
So what if today we erased the word “platform” from our vocabulary and write for just one?
What if we speak to just one?
What if we invest our time into just one?
And what if—just for today—one is just the right number?
If God has placed a story in your heart then share it! And don’t let anyone tell you that your story only has value if it’s bound in a book or shared a million times! Your story matters. Your voice matters. And maybe today there is one who desperately needs to hear your story. So share it, however God leads you to share it—knowing that, believing that, one truly does matter!