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