Why "71º & Sunny?"

I consider 71º to be the perfect temperature. Not too cold and not too hot. I also love perfect sunny days. The vast majority of days are not 71º & Sunny and yet, all days were created by God's hand and they are still gifts, even if they don't fit my ridiculous definition of perfection. My struggle with OCD has at times imprisoned me in an impossible attempt to achieve perfection. I'm now learning to love all kinds of days that don't even come close to 71º & Sunny.

Please leave me a comment below. I really want to know what you are thinking!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Lessons Learned From A Complete Technical Disaster

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!

16 comments:

  1. So often when we mess up (or think we mess up) we imagine that others are noticing or thinking the same thing. So nice that people saw the good you were trying to do in the situation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I really appreciated the kind comments, Linda. It's true, I was so focused on myself that I just wrongly assumed everyone thought I was doing a bad job.

      Delete
  2. Isn't that something that you worry will happen--that the sound system will mess up? Well it did, and you survived! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha ha great point, Kristina! Yes, it kinda was my worst fear, and even so, we all made it through in one piece.

      Delete
  3. I think sound systems (or at least a microphone) should pretty much be expected to go out every now and then - actually, if it is just rarely, you are doing good!

    I make the "mind-reading" cognitive distortion, too. Comes so easily, leaves so ... well, it tries to never leave.

    I hope this Sunday went well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha ha I like your viewpoint, Abigail! You know, it's funny because someone said something similar to me yesterday about that - that it's amazing we don't have more problems like that.

      Oh, "mind reading" comes entirely too easy to me too. I've heard it said that it's none of my business what someone else is thinking. I think there's a lot of wisdom in that statement.

      Things went MUCH better this week (though I wasn't the one running sound - hmmm, I wonder if that's the difference? ha ha ha)!!!

      Delete
  4. I hope this Sunday went more smooothly, Sunny!

    I'm sorry for all the mishaps, but I'm so glad that people reacted so positively and kindly. Technical difficulties happen, and I think most people understand that and don't blame others.

    I would have thought similar thoughts to yours, though, because I tend to think I caused problems, even when there's no evidence to that fact. And I tend to think others will blame me. There's that mind-reading that I do . . .

    And what if we do cause a problem? It would be a mistake, not a character flaw. I have to remind myself of that.

    One thing that hit me hard when I read this was that you thought it might be your fault because you didn't pray for the service beforehand. That is so me, Sunny. I have such a dysfunctional relationship with prayer, and I tend to treat it as something magical instead of a conversation.

    Sorry this comment is so long, but just wanted you to know that I understand how you felt and I'm impressed that you got through it so well! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Tina, yes things went very well yesterday. Though as I said to Abigail, I wasn't the sound tech this week, but I'm still grateful that there were no sound issues.

      You are right - people were very gracious and I think they do understand. I forget that - especially if there is anxiety in the mix.

      Oh that is such an awesome point - I LOVE that - it is NOT a character flaw to make a mistake. Why do I always confuse the two???????!!!!! Thank you for that reminder. It is much needed.

      I'm sorry you struggle with prayer, too, Tina. Sigh. I just worry that God is mad at me if I don't do everything perfectly (like remember to pray for everything). So I often assume that if something goes wrong it is because I did something wrong first. Jim often has to remind me that God is not out to punish me at every turn.

      Oh, DON'T EVER apologize for the length of your comments!!!! I love to read all of your comments (long or short). It's like we're having a conversation and I always appreciate what you all have to say. I take a lot of comfort and get a lot of wisdom from all the comments. Thanks for sharing. It does help to know that you understand my little struggling brain so well! Hugs.

      Delete
  5. I just love your analysis of the situation, Sunny, and your lessons learned. I know for me, whenever I "mess up" at something, it's always a MUCH bigger deal to me than to anyone else. In this case, you didn't even do anything wrong, you just happened to be around when the audio decided not to work. But now you know you can survive that situation! Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your encouragement, Janet! It's amazing how many times I tell myself, "Oh, if such and such happens, I'll just die!" but then it happens, and yep, I've still got a pulse!

      Delete
  6. These lessons are terrific? Now can you just pass them by osmosis to my brain so I can learn them once and for all? ;)

    I so identify with that sense of perfectionism and hyper-responsibility, and ESPECIALLY with putting thoughts in other people's heads. Your story is a good concrete reminder for me to carry around.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha ha, well, Anna, I need to pass them to my brain too. I can come up with all kinds of "lessons learned" once the anxiety has passed, but during the stressful event . . . not so much. I'm so glad you found this helpful. : )

      Delete
  7. A wonderful positive message. Thank you for sharing your experience and how you handled it. Blessings my dear.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Things like that happen (usually to me). I'm glad you realised it wasn't your fault. Blessings. - Lauren

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha ha I feel like that too, Lauren - that if something is going to happen, I'm usually in the vicinity when it does! Blessings back at ya!

      Delete