My toes slip through cool sand and find the first step of the boardwalk. It leads over a dune and onto the beach ahead. As I stand on top of it, I catch my breath. The view is breathtaking. My word sisters pause to look with me. We wrap our arms around each other’s shoulders. It’s good to be here together. I feel full and whole and grateful. My heart takes a snapshot of the moment.

Months later I stand on a balcony in another city, arms crossed. The view is beautiful too but I can’t shake a restless frustration inside me. I think of all the expectations I feel like I have to meet, the duties I’m supposed to complete, the people I hope will like me. My world narrows and I feel alone. What if I mess up? What if I let people down? “Get it together,” I whisper to myself.

What made the difference between the two?

One was a platform and the other a pedestal.

Lean and listen, friend: Even if you feel called to have a platform…run-run-run from the pedestal.

Platforms are for sharing.

Pedestals only have room for one.

Platforms are for reaching out and giving back.

Pedestals demand that we hunker down and guard our territory.

Platforms come with space to grow and find freedom.

Pedestals trap us into a life where we can never make a wrong move.

We don’t mean to end up on a pedestal. Yet it’s easy to find ourselves there anyway. How can you tell if that’s happened? Three ways…

- You’ve lost the joy of what you’re called to do because there’s so much pressure to get it right.

- You find yourself sharing what you think others want to hear rather than what’s really happening in your heart and life.

- You experience a lot of fear, worry, defensiveness and when someone else succeeds it feels like a threat.

Here’s the good news: Pedestals can be expanded. You just need to add some new planks.

That happens first when you recognize where you are and that you don’t want to stay there alone. Then you reach out to others and say, “Hey, let’s do this together. And by the way–this is what’s really going on in my life. How can I support and encourage you?”

Then you do a foundation check and say, “God, I think I may have hopped on this thing with my own effort and agenda. Will you please rebuild whatever you need to so that you are my security and source of strength?”

And, finally, when others try to remake your platform back into a pedestal (and they will–even though they don’t mean to) you actively do whatever you need to avoid that happening. You speak your struggles, name your fears, own your mistakes and put your arms around the shoulders of your sisters.

Platforms build us (and others) up.

Pedestals eventually brings us down.

Let’s stand tall together where we belong, sisters.

Are you with me?

–Holley Gerth, author of the new book You’re Made for a God-sized Dream

 

photo by Dawn Camp

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  1. 2

    :)

  2. 3

    This is a perfect post for me right now!! Thank you friend!

  3. 4

    “You’ve lost the joy of what you’re called to do because there’s so much pressure to get it right.” I didn’t even realize this was it until I read those words. Thank you, friend. I have a great group off buddies, now off to gather some planks.

  4. 5

    Word sisters, standing together. I love that :) “together” is really what it’s all about, isn’t it? It’s what keeps me focused on God, away from the pedestal, and covered in prayer.

  5. 6

    brilliant. and true. and a great reminder for writers/bloggers/speakers. and yes, one he lifts you up on to and sustains you there. the other requires your own stepping up and effort to stay on. thank you holley. –kris

  6. 7

    Thanks for reminding me to wrap my arms around the shoulders of those who walk with me. We’re meant to do it together:)

  7. 8

    “…run, run, run from the pedestal.”

    Added that to my journal! Three areas of my life need this prescription; thank you Holley!

  8. 9
    Kathleen says:

    Wonderfully said, and so true. Thank you for this, you are a good friend
    and “sister”…..kl

  9. 10

    Beautifully said…and gives me a lot to work on and pray for. Thank you!

  10. 11

    Great post, Holley! Gives me much to think and appreciate in the sisters and women who walk with me!

  11. 12
    Andrea says:

    Perfect in its entirety. The eloquence and truth to your words are like a giant hug and refreshing reminder. Thank you…. All to often I worry that the things I do won’t positively affect people and I worry I will offend others. Thank you thank you thank you.

  12. 13
    Barbara Wilson says:

    So very true. it’s a lonely person who stands alone. No man is an island.

  13. 14

    So good Holley. Thank you!

  14. 15

    Yes!! I love this—thank you for sharing the difference.

    Blogging/writing really is about community and once you aim your platform in such a way, it’s way more exciting and empowering, I think. :)

  15. 16

    You make a great point and important distinction between a pedestal and a platform. It can happen so gradually we don’t even realize it, so I love your admonition to do a foundation check. I’ll be putting that on my calendar as a regular must-do event!

  16. 17

    Wow, LOVED this post. Sometimes you are feeling things that you can’t quiet pin point or figure out and I believe with all my heart that this post was for me! Thank you for your obedience to write it and share this with everyone. I need to make sure that I am more on the platform and throw that pedestal to the “curve”. Blessings!

  17. 18

    So awesome! I literally was typing a post about a wonderful opportunity I have and the ‘platform’ God has given me. Yes, I had just typed the word ‘platform’ when my email notified me fo an email. It was this post! If you ever feel called to have a PLATFORM!! Amazing, our Father, just amazing. I am sitting up and listening, trust me!!! Thanks for sharing this!

  18. 19
    Joanie says:

    Thank you for this. I don’t ever comment, but this is one of the few posts that I feel crosses all aspects of my life – mom, wife, lawyer. This is what I want to teach my daughter . . . and my son.

  19. 20

    Yeah! Holley, your humility continues to inspire me. Bless you for keeping it real.
    Peace and good, dreamweaver

  20. 21

    Thank you for this :) “sigh”

  21. 22

    Ahh, the platform.
    Yes, I want to be there….not on a pedestal!

  22. 23

    Oh Holley I am SO with you. I feel that the Lord just gave me this revelation within the last few weeks and it is life-changing! I will take this timely post as His gracious and lovely confirmation. THANK YOU.
    Love & joy,
    Sherri

  23. 24

    Holley,
    Thank you for this; it was such an encouragement to me. There is so much comfort in leaning into the support of others and just being real… I’m learning this more and more in my own journey. In an age where platform has such emphasis, this is a refreshing reminder of what that truly means. Thank you! :)

  24. 25
    Jen in VA says:

    Yes. This. Thank you for giving words to how my life has felt lately. In all areas.

  25. 26

    Such inspiration for this journey. It’s so easy to go from platform to pedestal. Easy to make it about me and not God and others. It was so good to read this, this morning!

  26. 28

    This is so perfect for me… last week as I fought thoughts of “not having it all together,” before I stepped onto the (at this point under construction) platform…our sweet Daddy chuckled and whispered to me “Do you really think it’s ME who expects you to have it all together? Oh, sweetheart.. that’s my job!” I just returned from #BeechRt- what a weekend to lock arms with “word sisters” And, I signed up to host in(rl)!
    Love it- Thank you! Be blessed!

  27. 29

    Hmmm, I love your point. Besides, It is much less lonely on a platform than a pedestal.

  28. 30
    Alice Hoffer says:

    Thank you, Holley!
    Your words always challenge me
    to walk on higher ground.
    Thank you for being so honest about
    your own internal conversations and struggles.
    I see myself in them and it really
    helps turn my head around
    from a place of being too caught up in my own “stuff.”
    :)
    You’re a blessing to me.

  29. 31

    Ouch. Just realizing there are times that I’ve been on that pedestal but had not realized it happened until the duties had me so stressed out… you gave it words I couldn’t. And I walked away from it a while ago and feel free… :)

  30. 32

    I needed to read this today! My book launched this week, and I’m losing sleep over marketing it and “having a platform.” This post was a good reminder that it’s not about me. Thank you.

  31. 33

    Holley, I’m with ya sister!
    What a great post and reminder. I never considered a platform becoming a pedestal, but of course they can and do. Duh!
    I check myself before I speak to a group or individually… what is my motive and where is my humbleness?
    We all have a platform to share from. It is our life’s journey and God’s faithfulness through that journey. Mine is brokenness, and His faithfulness through it all. Most people can resonate with that… as most do not escape brokenness.
    I pray I never find myself, or others find me on a pedestal. He is my goal, my joy and my desire. God protect us from pride that tries to consume us.
    Thank you for this reminder today Holley!

  32. 34

    Is it RIGHT or wrong to earn money from your platform?

    • 35

      Right or wrong except where Scripture clearly gives an answer is the language of the law, friend. You’re under grace and you’re free. Ask God what would bring him the most joy and do that. I think the answer about how to use our platforms is different for each one of us. Cheering you on in the ways you use yours!

    • 36

      I’m not an expert here; however, I think it’s a heart-check thing (that everyone should do for themselves, not their distant neighbors).

      Maybe asking:
      Is it right or wrong to earn positive feedback from your platform?
      Is it right or wrong to gain friends from your platform?

      My personal opinion is that anything that can motivate you (gaining positive feedback, friends, guilt, money) can also twist your total motivations, but that those things are not necessarily bad – they’re only bad when they become idols or when they become the point of something that’s not supposed to be about them.

      So: is getting money compromising your message/mission? If so, then step away from it and try to disentangle those motivations; if not, then just keep an eye on it? It’s great to be able to earn enough to live on *while* doing what you feel called to do – it means you can spend more time on important stuff. It’s just when the earning messes you up that it needs to be re-evaluated.

  33. 37

    This is so amazing and very true. Right now I am involved in a huge project and it is imperative that one remembers who is in charge and who gets all the praise. We are His instruments. That is how we keep the joy in it. Thanks for this!

  34. 38

    Thanks so much for your encouragement and wise thoughts here! So grateful to be sharing this platform with you. :)

  35. 39

    God used your words to organize the thoughts I haven’t been able to put together neatly, thanks. The battle with our sinful selfish pride seems to come in all direction. Thanks for the encouraging reminder to be real and not to think to highly of ourselves.

  36. 40

    Wow! Sometimes God speaks so loudly that it knocks you off your feet! I am on my knees asking Him for guidance to rebuild the platform. Thank you for being obedient in writing this posting. Blessings.

  37. 41

    Oh Holley, you put words to it and even gave us what to do when it happens, so we don’t need to be afraid! Thank you.
    Last October my best friend back in CT asked me to give a eulogy. I flew back two weekends in a row (first to be with her, second to give that eulogy) and on the second flight back I realized this is what ladies who go speak travel like. It was a glimpse into the downside. It was a small taste so I wouldn’t covet that but pray for them. I was covered in grace and the funeral was a blessing, truly.
    This new year I am on a platform (new church plant) with my husband and another couple. It doesn’t all depend on me (when does it ever, really?) but we are all so well matched and each do our part with joy, in love. It’s a small group, but it is God’s work. Thanks and praise to him!

  38. 42

    Pedestals isolate, platforms create community. ;) Thanks for sharing this today.

  39. 43

    I loved this so much!

    Thank you, Holley!

    I am copying this to my desktop to remind myself during need.

    God bless you!

  40. 44
    Cynthia Treen says:

    Thank you for providing monthly calendar’s! I love using it as my screen saver! I love the calendar days, the beautiful scriptures and the picture for the month. I have been trying to download the calendar for February…it is not posted yet. Please post the new month calendar. Thank you for keeping my inbox with your daily posting of in courage! Have a blessed day!

    Sincerely, Cindy Treen

  41. 45

    So good Holley. Such a great perspective to keep in front. Speaks to me as a Worship Pastor’s wife for sure…you’re up in front whether you want to be or not. Most of the time it’s joyous because it’s for Him. But, sometimes…well you know. So thank you so much. I will keep this in my heart over and over again.
    Love your writing. “Word Sisters”—that’s awesome.

  42. 46
    Robrenna says:

    Thank you for this post it is so me. I’ve been called to a time of silence and reflection which for me means not imposing my “wisdom” on others but focusing on listening to what God is telling me and opening my eyes to what he is showing me. Reading this just reinforces that He sees me and knows me. He is talking and I am finally listening.

  43. 47

    this is one of the many things i love about God…that He finds you right where you are and encourages you with someone’s words, someone’s thoughts, someone’s life. your very post and a majority of comments shows that we are not alone. we are never alone. whether standing on the platform or falling off the pedestal, there are people going through the same. life is a struggle. a constant struggle…to do right, to make things right, to make right choices. to honor God with everything and hope that there is more of Him in us than there is “us” in us. i’ll pray for you, please pray for me. because both platforms and pedestals should always have room for Him. thank you…

  44. 48

    A really insightful post. It makes me think of Jesus — a platform of faithful disciples who knew his heart. Beautiful and powerful info as I expand the horizons of my platform, gaining breathing room to blunder forward!

  45. 49

    There are no words to tell you how much I needed this today. One day God will tell you Himself! Thank you, Holley!

  46. 50

    Thanks for sharing such an important and insightful post. Really spoke to me.

    Megan

  47. 51

    Yes! With you, my friend. All the way.

  48. 52

    What a wonderful post, Holley! The metaphor of a pedestal vs. a platform. Exclusion vs. inclusion. Solo vs. many. Monologue vs. dialogue. Intorspection vs. collaboration. Thank you for this thought provoking post.

  49. 53

    This really spoke to me today in terms of my music ministry at church. I feel like I’ve been put on a pedestal and that there are so many demands and expectations. Thank you so much for posting this for me today. I needed the encouragement nad the reminder.

  50. 54

    What a great analogy between Platforms and Pedestals. I have made some notes as a reminder.

  51. 55

    I’m with you! I love the contrast between “pedestal” and “platform.” Not only do I think we need to be careful about trying to “build our pedestal,” but we also need to be careful about putting others on pedestals. Most likely, they don’t want to be there, but something in us wants to put them there. I’m thinking about godly women that I have admired through the years and have mentored me through their books – Elisabeth Elliott, Anne Lotz, Edith Schaeffer … No way would they want to be on a pedestal, but if I’m not careful I can put them there. Then the message God is communicating to me through their writing brings out comparison and defeat rather than encouragement to become the woman God made me to be. Thanks for a great article!

  52. 56

    Holley
    I can’t even begin to express how much this post ministered to me today. I had a very similar experience last fall when I got to speak at my first blog conference in September. Instead of feeling joyful and rejuvenated, afterwards, (like I usually do when I get the privilege to speak) I felt defeated. I was sooo nervous that I would mess up that I didn’t really share my real heart when I was speaking. The next opportunity God gives me to speak life into other women I will be thinking of your post and God’s grace.

    Thank you for using words to encourage women. You are appreciated and loved. Thank you for your honesty and transparency.

  53. 57

    I like the “team work” involved in a platform vs. the “me work” of being on a pedestal. Walking along a journey is so much more blessed when you have the combined talents of a body of Believers. Well worded Holley, and the comments are excellent here!

  54. 58

    Thank you, Holley, for the insightful definition-statements of a platform. They give MUCH help in clarifying their purpose and place in our lives. This post is a keeper for frequent future reference!

  55. 59
    Joni G. says:

    Pedestal and platform, they are a terrific analogy. Thank you for bringing that so clearly into focus! Yesterday God showed me a pedestal vs. platform area in my life. Your analogy comes at a wonderful time to crystalize the perspective.

  56. 60

    Thank you for clarifying this issue. Being a minister’s wife, sometime it seems you are on a pedistal without even trying. But I love the practical ways of building others up around you so that it becomes a platform. Thanks so much.

  57. 61

    Working on speaking struggles and naming fears moment by moment, with lots of mercy thrown sprinkled in. This was a wonderful reminder to keep grounded with God, first and foremost. Thank you, Holley.

  58. 62

    Beautiful!

  59. 63

    My life has been spent carrying this principle in heart…..

    Thanks for the beautiful reminder….

    Platforms are for sharing. Pedestals only have room for one.

    “No man is an island in the kingdom of God!!” Ann Voskamp

    Sweet Joy friends! Love being on the Team Dreamers….sharing the platform with Christ made-worthy women!!

    For His glory….

    Mel

  60. 64
    Marinalva Sickler says:

    Fantastic!

  61. 65

    I loved this conversation with all of you today! Thanks for hanging out here with me. :)

  62. 66

    I’m a little late commenting. But I tend to be on a pedestal often. Pride… I just struggle with it. I want the Lord to be my strength. I want friends by my side instead of beneath my gaze. Thank you for this blog.

  63. 67
    Beth Williams says:

    Right now I feel as if I’ve lost the joy of my job. can’t seem to find the happy I used to have & the me I used to be. Working hard on it, though.

    I try to share “platforms” with others & put my arms around their shoulders and encourage them in their journey!

  64. 68

    How timely this was.That you Holley this was such wise advice.

  65. 69

    Hollie,
    This was simply excellent! God in you revealing His excellent way of “in humility, considering other’s interstes ahead of your own”. How I struggled with this after I launched my blog (a “platform” God had given me). When some errors were found (ways I miscommunicated, Scriptures I’d misinterpreted, etc.) I was horrified! And for the most part that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach was due to the fact that my platform had become a pedestal – not because I had possibly led others into untruth. This is something God has been revealing to my heart, and I praise Him for giving you the words to express it so beautifully convictingly :)

    “Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Your Name, Oh Lord, be the glory!,
    Laura

  66. 71

    :-) with you! thank you for the great visual . . .
    such a timely reminder —- dealing with a co-worker who seems to enjoy the pedestal and is intentionally using divisive actions to destroy the platform of friendships…

  67. 72

    I watched the television show, “Nashville” last night, and it spoke to me about this very same thing. About being true to yourself and not living for someone else. It isn’t about what other people want, or our image. It’s about living authentically ourselves.

  68. 73

    Yes. Thank you for this. I’m still new to figuring out the world of “platforms” and love this direction to avoid its ugly counterpart–the pedestal.

  69. 74
    Marilyn says:

    I am with You Holley together in unity being about Our Father’s business it what God wants Amen

  70. 75

    Oh Holley, where were you 10 years ago? :)
    I remember each of your three stages. All I knew to do was to climb down, turn my back on ministry and run away from the pedestal. It was an awful place of pressure and fear; of being pushed forward while others seemed to back away. I wish I had known the concept of ‘platform’ then.
    This is such encouragement ladies; listen well.

  71. 76

    I love this post, Holley! Beautiful and so well said.

  72. 77

    We were often taught to get up to the pedestal on stage
    to speak about a view. It seemed to make us feel important:
    Your thoughts Holley are so encouraging: it’s the platform of
    our friends and sharing together, without fear. I think though
    my experience was a pedestal!! The Lord has shown me how
    important friends are, to share only when asked, a response
    Of few words from a loving heart. I’ll not be a pedestal
    gal again!!! Thank you for your insight.

  73. 78
    Mary Ellen says:

    Holley–Your words really cleared away a cloud of misunderstanding. Realized, while I don’t want to be put on a pedestal, I’ve been living my life “doing it all myself.” Already, just in this last week, I put the platform mentality into practice and feel the joy of partnering with others and the freedom of less stress. Thank you SO MUCH.
    This is a huge principle and you could not have stated it better.

  74. 79

    Thank you so much for your continued support and encouragement. Thank you for continuing to step out in faith and share what The Lord has laid upon your heart. God uses you almost daily to reach into the depths of my soul and pull out what’s good in me as well as the things I need to rid myself of. Today I’m choosing to maintain a platform and not let the friends who mean so well move me to a pedestal! Thanks again! Please know you are allowing Him to make a difference:)).

  75. 80

    I needed to read this TODAY! I’ve been writing my first eBook and have been at a standstill. I felt the Lord leading me to share the message with others but I found I’ve gotten too caught up in trying to please the masses. My husband and I had a long talk last night and he urged me to pray and to share what God had given me to share from my heart. I want a platform and not a pedestal. May God get all the glory for what He does in me and through me.

  76. 81

    Holley, I know I’m late responding here but I just needed you to know what an impact this had on 42 twenty-something’s and hundreds of kids around the world! I was in Ireland directing an international tour when I received this. Traveling with me were those 42 young adults, performers who are also teachers with The Young Americans, an organization of 200 who travel the world teaching three day singing/dancing workshops to kids 7-19. We were having a bit of a pedestal issue, and I had been praying about the way to best handle it as their director when I received this…an answered prayer! I read it aloud to them and they said, “We love you, Mama!” (Their dear nickname for me) when I finished. The rest of my time spent with these amazing hearts, we all said to each other “platforms, not pedestals.” Soooo….thank you, thank you for listening to Him, sharing this message, and inspiring so many. Your words will touch hundreds of young lives through those 42!!!

  77. 82

    Attractive element of content. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and in accession capital to assert that I get actually
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