This Sunday was a rough one. As a worship leader, I’m bound to run into panic-worthy moments, but sometimes I just don’t have it together, even when I think I’m totally with it. I came into the service with some preconceived notions of how I wanted it to go, mostly started with sending out YouTube links to a couple of the songs we were planning to perform. When I got together with the team to practice, I asked if they had watched the videos to get the idea of what the songs were going to sound like. Out of the eight other people on the team, only two had taken the time to watch the videos. Strike One. Then, after teaching the songs how I thought they should go, I was met with mix troubles. I had to do part of the mixing on my own since we don’t have a dedicated individual for our practices, just for the service. I followed up this frustration with added events in the worship line-up and a few switches. Strike Two.
By the time our sound tech got to the board it was 10:50, about five minutes before we were to stop and pray. Strike Three. I was frustrated, downright flustered, and I expressed that frustration when I had trouble hearing what she was trying to say, mostly because I have trouble with background noise when trying to listen to voices. I did this while people were coming into the sanctuary. One of those people was my wife.
This is one of the many reasons I love my wife.
When we got home, she told me, in no uncertain terms, that I was being a jerk and that everyone could see and hear it. This wasn’t just during practice, but throughout the entire service. My bad mood spread across the church like a nasty cold, and I had little idea of how this was affecting others because I was so stuck in this attitude. I was absolutely positive I was the only person that knew what I was doing well enough for the service to be effective. It seems I was off base on this opinion.
She told me straight up that I owed our sound tech, and the team as a whole, an apology. And that I should have my hearing checked. I took some time to pray this afternoon, after a bit of self-pity and pouting, and then I promptly apologized, as my wife suggested, to the entire team and the sound tech.
What I realized was that my heart was not where it was supposed to be. I was there to lead worship, not perform, and it certainly didn’t matter to God whether or not our team was mixed well enough to be recorded and sent out to millions of record stores nationwide. What He wanted was honest praise. I got stuck on arrangements and mix and forgot about worship itself.
So I kicked myself over it for a while and moved on. Next week, I’m promising myself–and everyone else–that I won’t be that way again. God wants me to love Him purely and simply, and he’s not expecting a Broadway show to prove it. He’s perfectly fine with children’s theatre. Or even community theatre. Even really bad “we forgot our lines, and perhaps even the plot in general” community theatre. It’s not up to me to put on a show. It’s up to Him. And that show will go on whether or not I know my lines, and the judgment on the quality of the show rests solely upon the shoulders of the One who writes, directs and produces the lives we live. I know I’ve had moments like this before, but today I was put in my place by the person God designed specifically to do that job.
So, if you too are an impatient, self-absorbed, hearing-impaired jerk trying to put on a one-man show for God each Sunday (or Wednesday, or Saturday, or whenever), please take a step back and realize what God’s looking for before you start stomping around like a tantrum-throwing toddler. He’ll love you no matter what.