When You Fail in Front of a Crowd
Sometimes walking off of the stage is easy… and fun.
Sometimes, it’s really, really hard.
Like this time.
I placed my guitar carefully in its stand and smiled out at the good-sized crowd as the lights changed, leaving the band in relative darkness and illuminating the speaker.
We were leading worship for the second of three services at a thriving church in Lansing, Michigan. There were hundreds in attendance – maybe nearly a thousand – and I had just made a pretty significant timing error on a song, causing the team to narrowly avoid a musical “train wreck.”
It wasn’t the kind of mistake that “only a musician would notice,”
So let’s just say that my smile felt pretty forced…
As I threaded my way backstage, passing the musicians on the team, it was a supreme effort of will to keep the smile in place. I’m convinced that when a team member makes a mistake, it’s crucial to encourage him (or her) but when a LEADER makes a mistake – especially a significant one – it’s important to take responsibility.
So I did – with a valiant attempt at a smile and an upbeat attitude, I apologized for putting the team in a tough, embarrassing spot, and promised that I would fix the problem for the next set.
And then I left the room.
And fled the area, in an attempt to find the most secluded spot I could.
I settled on an out-of-the way bathroom in the back of the building and burst through the door – leaning both hands on the sink, I just stared at my face in the mirror for a moment, then shook my head and spoke out loud to God,
“How am I supposed to deal with this, God? What do I do with this? I feel like an idiot.”
I don’t do failure well.
Especially public failure.
And then, almost immediately, I felt a stirring of peace. I really don’t know how else to describe it, but where my emotions had been churning in an almost physical way, I felt just a little relief – just a touch of peace – that unmistakable touch and presence of God.
And in my heart I heard the faintest question:
“Is this about you or is it about Me?”
And that… was a very good question.
I believe that the pursuit of excellence is crucial in what we do. I believe that we need to offer God our very best, for His sake, and for the sake of reaching the multitudes of people that He desperately loves in the United States and around the world.
But when it comes down to what’s REALLY important, is it about my professional appearance? Or is it actually about God getting the glory He deserves, and about reaching people with the selfless love of Jesus?
The answer, in this case, was painfully obvious…
“It’s about You, God. It really is about You…”
I paused for a moment.
“So can I at least mention my mistake next service so people know that I understand and I don’t usually make mistakes like that?”
“Is this about you or about Me?”
And then I understood.
The knowledge of my mistake still hurt – like a small ache in my soul, but my attitude had genuinely changed. The worship director for the church (an excellent, inspirational leader) came backstage to encourage the team and I, and the next service went smoothly. Many people in all three services were impacted by the love of God, and the crowds were supportive and encouraging.
But it was my failure that taught me the lesson of the weekend.
It really is about Jesus and His incredible love for people.
And I never want it to be about anything else.
Because this is why we do what we do.
Our passion is to share the love of Jesus with as many people as possible around the world, to give the lost, the hurting, the bound, and the broken an opportunity to hear this message and experience true freedom with Him forever.
Over the last year, we have been privileged to have the opportunity to share this message with tens of thousands of people in several nations, and by the grace of Jesus, we’ve seen thousands say YES to the love of Jesus.
This August, we are scheduled to travel to Malawi, Africa with On The Go and evangelist Keith Cook to partner with Andrew Palau in an effort to reach several cities with the love of Jesus. Our goal is to reach as many people as possible with the Gospel message, and to do so with integrity and solid follow-up. Shortly after Malawi, we are scheduled to participate in similar large-scale evangelistic festivals in Myanmar and Costa Rica.
Please pray for us as we prepare, follow us on Facebook for daily updates from overseas, and click HERE if you’d like to partner with us financially in our mission to reach multitudes in every nation with the incredible love of Jesus!
Also, several weeks ago, we released our latest CD, LOVE IS WIDE, and we have been humbled and blessed by your response – if you haven’t gotten a chance to listen, we invite you to check it out on ITUNES, listen on SPOTIFY, or purchase the CD at our STORE.
Thanks so much for your love and friendship, and God bless you, dear friends!
Zach Blickens and White Ribbon Day