In September 2018, I posted the following request on Twitter as I was finishing up the manuscript which has now become Influence: Building a Platform that Elevates Jesus (Not Me):

I was overwhelmed by the number of great responses I received from people who could relate.

Sadly, the section in the book where I was hoping to use these responses got edited out (as often happens during the revision process, right?) — but I still wanted to make space to share some of the stories I received . . . and yours, too, if you have one that you’re willing to share!

SHARE YOUR STORY

So this is a special edition link-up, where I’m inviting YOU to share your own story relating to one of the following topics: 

  • How did your childhood, culture, family, and/or upbringing shape your view about whether or not you should promote yourself or be proud of your accomplishments?
  • If you’re a Christian writer or speaker, what are your thoughts about platform building and self-promotion? What are your fears? How have you overcome them?
  • What tools, resources, books, or Scripture verses have helped you as you seek to boldly (yet humbly) share your message as a Christian communicator?
  • What are some of the moral and spiritual tensions you feel regarding platform building as a Christian?
  • Or another story you’d like to share about your experience with self-promotion, sharing your work, or seeking to build a platform. 🙂

Want to join?

If so, you can either share your story as a blog post comment below, or you can post your story to your own blog, then link up the post using the blue link-up button below.

More instructions on how to link up can be found here.

This link-up will be open for one week, through Tuesday, February 5th.

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By the way, if you haven’t gotten your copy of Influence yet, you can find it on Amazon or in the Five Minute Friday shop. Hope it’s a blessing to you!

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Affiliate links to Amazon have been used in this post.

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And now, for some of the stories I received in response to my request on Twitter:

From author Shawn Smucker:

“All four of my grandparents left the Amish community – my mom was around 12 when her parents left, and my dad hadn’t yet been born. All of my ancestors were born and raised Amish, going back 13 generations, and all here in central PA. So, I have a very strong cultural influence in my life – the Anabaptist ways of life run deep in me.

There are some real positives in this: family is important, as is community. I grew up learning that it is important to work hard, to live with integrity, and to treat your neighbor as you want to be treated.

But there are downsides to growing up in “strong” communities – individual accomplishments are looked at with suspicion, as is individual success and talent. I’ve heard stories of Amish businessmen who have become too successful, only to be told they need to sell the business or leave the Amish.

The arts haven’t been historically valued within the Amish community; I think it’s because it draws too much attention to the individual. People aren’t encouraged to tell their own individual stories, because it could give a negative impression of the community or raise up the individual in a way that could bring about pride.

I think I took on this mindset unknowingly as a child, not wanting to draw attention to myself or the things I did. My parents were always very proud of me and encouraged me in sports and reading and whatever else I loved, but I think I picked up on my community’s cues, that one shouldn’t think too much about what one did or accomplished.

Fortunately, I had some mentors who took me under their wing when I was in my late 20s, men who asked me what I was afraid of, why I was sabotaging my own efforts, why I wasn’t willing to put myself out there.

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Their questions led me to a greater self-confidence and a belief that my calling was important, that I should follow the desires God had placed in me, and that I should give it my best. This really freed me up to pursue writing in new ways.”

~ Shawn Smucker, shawnsmucker.com

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From author Andi Cumbo-Floyd:

“I grew up in the South as part of fundamentalist congregations, and over and over, I heard sermons on the sin of pride and the delight of humility. Add to this that I was female in the fundamentalist, Christian, southern culture, and soon, I became convinced it was completely wrong to even talk about what I had done well. Such a thing was bragging, a sure sign of pride. Besides I was not supposed to let my right hand know what my left hand was doing, so it had to be wrong to tell other people about my accomplishments.

It took me decades, literally, to undo that false teaching and to come to a place where I believe sharing — with an openness to correction, a spirit of community, and a relinquishment of outcome — is part of the calling I have as a writer.

After all, if I write and don’t share, then I am not living fully into the way I have been made. And I think God delights when we step fully into who God created us to be.”

~ Andi Cumbo-Floyd, andilit.com

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Before you go, I also wanted to make sure that you know about our upcoming Influence Series:

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SIGN UP HERE to get the interviews in your inbox twice a week for six weeks (beginning Monday, February 4th).

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Click the blue “Add your link” button below to join the link-up, or leave your story in the comments below! Thanks for being here!

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