Yesterday was my 11th Spirthday (spiritual birthday). It was 11 years ago, yesterday, that I made that life changing decision to say goodbye to this world and follow after my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. I can’t lie, every year I expect Abba (Father God) to do something special as a birthday present. Reflecting on yesterday, I see that He definitely did do that. However, if you had asked me at any time before 11am yesterday, I would have told you that it was the worst. Birthday. Ever.
I’ll save you the build up story this time (lol I mean, I’m a story teller, that’s what I do well) and skip straight to Monday morning, 20th November 2017... to say I felt really sad, doesn’t quite express exactly how I was feeling as I arrived at training yesterday. All I knew is that I wanted to cry, but was trying my very best to hold everything in. But why? What was even wrong with me? It would take a one hour hiatus to the toilet alone to uncover the problem.
There, in the middle of training, I cried... and cried... and cried. You know when you thought you would shed a few little tears and then head back out like everything was normal? Yeah well, that didn’t happen. Lol. The tears would just not stop flowing. “This is the worst birthday ever!” I sulked to the Father. “What is even wrong with me?” It was there that the Holy Ghost began to minister and unfold the key theme that had caused me to feel the way I had been feeling over the past few days... I’m an outsider.
Since the age of 16 I have been an outsider, and that is just the choice you make if you truly want to live for Jesus. He sets you apart; in the world, but not of it. Always a part of things, knowing many people, but always feeling as though you’re looking through a glass box. There’s something that always prevents you from truly being one “of” them.
The Holy Ghost began to show me that I didn’t “have” to be an outsider, I am free to be “of” the world if I really wanted to. If fitting in and gaining a sense of “belonging” with them was really important to me, I could do what they do, and go where they go and surely in no time I would develop “more friends” and be accepted as one of them. However, as He said this, He also showed me and I realised this simple fact also... I don’t want to. The reality is, after 11 years, my desires have changed. I don’t actually like the things of the world. I don’t have any desire to go where they go or do what they do. I know I’m set apart, but over the weekend it REALLY dawned on me.
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9, NLT)
So, I’m set apart... okay. But that really wasn’t the end or fullness of the struggle I was experiencing inside. However, it was enough for the morning. It would be later during a conversation with a sister in Christ that the Holy Ghost would shed even more light.
During the week, the Holy Ghost had said these three very powerful words to me, “just be honest”. He was speaking about just being who He has called me to be, fully and unapologetically, and always saying those things that He has laid on my heart to say. In essence, He was speaking to me about being purity, 100%. The last 11 years, the Lord has had to kill my flesh and strip me down layer by layer regarding the fear of “what people think”. He has finally brought me to a place in life where what people think cannot hinder me from doing the will of God. However, at times, I can still consider how something might be received, but I don’t even want to have these thoughts or feelings.
Last night though, the Holy Ghost highlighted something deeper... my refusal to accept who He has called me to be... Now let me explain (not to defend myself, because of course the Holy Ghost is right, but just simply to explain). I have known for donkies that the Lord has called me to ministry; however, my struggle has constantly been the fact that it doesn’t look the way I have always felt ministry should look. I have moved in obedience to Abba in order to be where He wants me to be now, but although I am physically where He wants me to be, I have struggled in my heart because I guess I do not want this to be the way I do ministry. It’s one thing to preach from the pulpit or be observed from afar, but to live and do daily life with the people He is calling you to reach is another. It is a tall order to be fair.
So how have I dealt with this? I have tried to fulfil the function without accepting the title that comes with or summaries the function. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to accept, but it is. To truly take on the title is to take on the full responsibilities and the honest truth is that I have been hiding...
Pastor T... that is actually who Abba wants me to be. Not just the title, neither just the function. But both. The truth is, I was ordained over a year and a half ago now, but I have refused to accept this fully. To fully accept this really does mean you have to be an outsider because the Lord has called you to a position of leadership. To accept this really means I’m saying, "Yes, I’m a leader, follow me as I follow Christ." To accept this is to bring context to the way I currently function.
I cannot explain how hard it is for me, and how much it kills my flesh to accept this position in totality. Anyone can accept this role and then hide. Anyone can also take on a title and not fulfil the function... but Abba wants me to be in order to do. He wants me to accept the title and fulfil the function.
So here’s me, FINALLY introducing myself to the world as Pastor T.
May Abba have His way, for my life is not my own.