How to Build Your Following
I have a problem. Not enough people like me. Not enough people follow me. As they say “If you think you’re leading, but no one is following, then you aren’t really leading.”
Looking at my social media following, I’m not leading.
This was never a problem before but now I have a book coming out this summer and theoretically I was supposed to have a big email list and social media platform by now…and I don’t. Watching webinars and reading articles about how to build one stresses me out to no end and sort of feels like the slow beginning of soul suicide. Anyone else?
Anyone else wish you had more clicks, more hearts, more laughs, more reposts…?
When my head starts spinning out, I try to step away from my flat screen, get out of my chair, and be more present in my own body. So, I went for a swim.
I love the rhythm of the pool, the way my arms and legs move, and the sound of being underwater. I love the way the water rushes over me when I push off the wall like a coiled frog. The thick black line on the bottom of the pool captured my focus, and calmed me with it’s clear direction towards the other side.
Oh, Lord. If only my next step were as clear as following this black line.
“Stay the line”
The words came suddenly. Stay the line. I don’t ever feel like God’s direction is a thick black line clearly running through my life like a path on the GPS, in fact I’ve rarely seen Him lead that way (no matter how often I ask). But…if I really thought about it…I might not know how to be famous…but I could think of the next small step that felt like obedience. That’s when it hit me:
I don’t need to build my following online, I need to build my following of the Holy Spirit. I don’t need to be a bigger or better leader, I need to be a more diligent follower.
Stay the line.
I love the way I breath intentionally in the pool. Stroke, stroke, stroke, Breath in. Exhale underwater. When taking a breath in freestyle, you inhale the air from just behind you- slightly looking back. Sometimes my best air comes from being grateful for the past. I decided to play a little game with myself. Could I name one way God has been faithful to me so far in the time it took me to take 3 strokes between breaths?
Stroke, stroke, stroke…I got to write a book!
Stroke, stroke, stroke…he gave me the right friends at the right time.
Stroke, stroke, stroke…he gave me such great mentors.
Lap after lap I stayed the line, I inhaled God’s goodness to me. I began to sing the broken parts of the lyrics I remembered from an old hymn, “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.”
God’s Many Voices is my first book to be published, but it’s not the first book I started writing. One of my early projects had the peppy little title: “Unseen, Unloved, & Unimportant.” You can guess the mind space I was in.
We live in a world that tells us our impact, our influence, or success, and our worth can be added up on a platform. We are all scrambling to lead a following, and some of us even have great motives for wanting to be helpful and get a good message out.
No matter how many likes, emails, click or followers we get, we will always be chasing the next thing. If you really want to feel Seen. Loved. Important. Only God can speak that truth over you in a way that won’t leave you empty. Build your own following muscles, look for the next step that feels like small obedience in the way the Holy Spirit is leading you. Be grateful for the way God has spoken, provided, and shown up in the past. Breath it in.
Stay the line.
I decided that morning in the pool that I’m not going to chase down followers, I’m going to chase down Jesus. If he leads me straight into obscurity I will happily follow. If he leads me onto a bigger platform I will do my best to keep my eyes on him and stay the line.
I’d rather be a follower than have a million followers.
And I’d rather you follow the line God has for you than to follow me anywhere.
Stay the line, friend.