The other week I totally bombed the sermon at my church.
I had prepared like crazy: but we just moved buildings today, so we had no sound system, the AC broke, the noise outside was horrible, and my thoughts weren’t gelling together.
I knew that mostly everyone was checking out (except a wonderful group of ladies who sit up front and always take notes). It was so discouraging. The environment was affecting me pretty badly too, and the sermon just failed to find a rhythm. So when the whole thing became unbearable, I cut the sermon short by ending with a metaphor and a story. For a second everyone listened, and they seemed grateful I had enough sense to end early. At the very least I was able to land the plane.
I discovered I get easily irritated when “my plans” get foiled by an unexpected turn of events. And really, most of our well-laid plans will get interrupted by inconveniences. Nothing unfolds the way we picture it in our head. There’s no ideal room or perfectly isolated space where perfect magic can happen.
It’s during these escalated frustrating times that we need to think on our feet and be flexible enough to serve the reality of the room. That meant that I had to pay more attention to the people around me instead of just mindlessly marching with my agenda. It meant I wouldn’t get to unroll everything I had prepared; it meant all my careful research and prayer and prep was getting shafted; it meant that I couldn’t function at my best. I could only make the best out of a bad situation.
But that’s okay. I think these moments are necessary to humble us towards the needs of others, to be sensitive to what’s happening. I don’t think we need to get everything right in a day. I think I needed to learn how to serve others in an icky, sweaty, gritty sort of setting, because life is not like the movies where the temperature is always perfect and our speech is so impeccable and the day wraps up with a pretty bowtie. Life is awkward and amusing and raw, and it’s okay to laugh about that. We can meet each other there. And of course, there’s always next week.