My blogging journey from the beginning for those who are interested. Each week I will include one of those original blogs from Martin Scott’s Perspective site. February 4th 2010 and the blogging began. Never did this before, but what therapy, what a joy, what a chronicling of a journey that never ends. In many ways things have developed, but it is good to see where we come from to appreciate where we are. All in the healing. Enjoy or endure…
I have realised through my Christian walk that we just love labels. It is like an obsession with us. What is our gifting? Where do I fit in? With every label comes a sense of identity but also a huge bag of expectations and boundaries. We all want to know who we are in Christ and how we can fit into this Body of His. I have always struggled with labels. I have always felt like a square peg in a round hole. I never seem to fit in with people’s expectations. I have always struggled to be what was expected of me rather than be who I was.
From the age of 22 until four years ago (39) I was employed as a Pastor. For the first five years at a place called Lutterworth in Leicester-shire, and then for the following twelve years at Tonyrefail in South Wales. There was some stuff that I loved; the preaching/teaching, training people to their potential in Christ, relating and meeting with other leaders and churches etc. There was other stuff that I had to force myself to do; visitation, evangelism, endless stream of meetings, chasing people up for missing meetings (how naughty of them!!!) etc. What I soon realised was there were loads of expectations that came along with the label. The name in itself conjured up a sheepherder who cared for everyone and would feed, heal, lead, help, defend, do literally everything for the life of the sheep 24 hours a day. I realised I did not fit the label very easily in so many ways and would often feel a failure, pressured, out of place with all I was doing. I realised I was so much more than a pastor. My vision and gifting was bigger than a local church. After all, I was beginning to discover more and more, there are five-fold gift ministries not just one.
I realised more and more that God had gifted me prophetically and apostolically. I loved nothing more than releasing personal words over people’s lives and seeing them blessed because I had spoken something only they had known. Then I started releasing national words, one particularly comes to mind when I prophesied an earthquake would hit Cardiff, and not long after a tremor did shake the city. This lead to invitations to Prophetic conferences and Prophesy schools. Loved the freedom here and the radical way I could walk in this gifting. What I soon realised though was along with a new label comes new expectations. In every gathering I was expected to bring a now word from God. Individuals would line up to hear what God had to say to them. That is great for the ego but not so good when you feel nothing to give. Can I be honest in this blog? There were times I gave stuff just hoping it was God because I really had nothing to give! Did not want to prove a failure. Was so convinced that the prophetic was the way that I set about planning a journey where I would give up the pastorate and just become an itinerant prophetic voice around Wales. Then came Emerge Wales… With it’s emphasis on the supernatural and a young radical voice doors opened for them instead. I was left outside everything. No church to pastor, didn’t fit in there, no prophetic voice in the Nation, didn’t fit in there.
This led to rejection, loneliness, pain, bitterness, hurt etc…
I was sitting in a gathering one time when we were all asked to write on a piece of paper what gifting we felt everyone else in the room carried. Of course most put down prophet for me at that time. That was the label for that time and how those people saw me. I then did something that totally ruined the meeting but I realise now how much God was in it. I was reminded of the time when Jesus was talking to His disciples about John the Baptist. He asked them what labels people were giving to him. Some said Elijah or one of the prophets. Then Jesus replied with something that has stuck with me, yes he is a prophet but I say to you he is
MORE THAN A PROPHET.
He is more than any label any person can thrown at him, and so am I. I am more than a pastor, a prophet, I am what I am. I am Paul Leader. I can only be who God has made me to be. I am that square peg in a round hole. The only role I can truly fulfil is the one God has made me to fill.
Now here I am working the night-shift at Walmart/Asda. A role I was not prepared for in the slightest. Next time I will share about this transition and how the rejection and struggle with identity nearly swallowed me up. But also how the light rescued me and brought me into the reality of this more than life.
I am so glad that I am no longer identified by my role or gifting or label, but by who I am in Christ. Maybe I have found my square hole after all!!!!!