Last Sunday at church was a complete and utter technical disaster. It was my turn to run the audio equipment, and unfortunately, during first service, there was a major malfunction with the mixer and we lost all audio capabilities. This meant that the preaching pastor's mic would not work, there was no sound coming from the worship band's instruments, and there was no audio being recorded for the weekly video we make of our sermons. The last issue was truly awful, because it meant that we had no sermon to deliver to our downtown campus, which has a live band, but they usually receive and play a video of the sermon first preached at our campus. Thankfully, a group of us was able to get the mixer working to a basic level by our second service, and we were also able to record the sermon for the second service held at the downtown campus. Even so, I felt absolutely terrible and like a total failure.
I was convinced that everyone was thinking that I really messed up and that it was all my fault. To be honest, I was also thinking that it really was my fault. Not that I did anything technically wrong (at least I didn't to my knowledge - the mixer simply froze), but I'm not exactly what you would call a "prayer warrior" and I was thinking that maybe because I hadn't prayed for that day's service that it was my fault that the mixer failed. I was also embarrassed because it was such a public thing and that is painful for someone who struggles with perfection. I was incredibly dejected and considered that maybe I should quit the sound team.
Imagine my surprise when I received messages from at least 3 different people saying nice things about how hard I (and others) worked to get the mixer back on line. The pastor even put something on Facebook about what a great team there is in the tech booth and he later sent out an email message pretty much repeating the same thing. On Monday morning, I was really comforted to read my daily Bible phone app when it randomly (or was it truly random? Thanks God!) came up with this scripture: "But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded." 2 Chronicles 15:7
A few days later, I walked nervously into my usual Wednesday meeting at church, unsure of what the reaction would be to such a catastrophic technical mess. I shouldn't have been nervous. Everyone was extremely gracious and jokingly kidded that no one wants to be the preacher when I'm on sound in the future! (They really were truly just teasing me - I definitely took this as a sign that no one was upset with me.)
So . . . here are a few lessons I've learned from this (most unpleasant) episode:
1) I should never assume that I know what people are thinking. Ahem, cognitive distortion, anyone? I was convinced that everyone would be upset and disappointed in me. Au contraire mon ami - people went out of their way to let me know they appreciated all the hard work us "techies" do to keep the service up and running.
2) Once again, I took the blame for something going wrong. Should I be praying for each morning's service? Yes, I think it's a great thing to do. But not praying doesn't mean that I caused the mixer to fail. Hmmm . . . sounds like a little hyper-responsibility when I think back on it.
3) People can be really gracious and very often, they are not as judgmental as I seem to think they are. Maybe I'm the judgmental one, especially of myself.
4) I don't have to be perfect to be loved. Someday that will sink in.
5) We often learn more from "failure" than success. This can be a bitter pill to swallow at times, but honestly I do believe it is true. I learned some very interesting things (both personally and technically) from our mishap last weekend. These things will not soon be forgotten.
Here's hoping that the mixer behaves tomorrow morning. Last weekend ended up turning out alright, but that doesn't mean I want a repeat of it!