Have you ever messed up in front of a bunch of people? Maybe not Steve Harvey at Miss Universe messed up, but embarrassed yourself enough to get that awful feeling of failure? You know, like Sally in Peanuts, when she said “hockey stick!” instead of “Hark!” Or, in high school, when a girl was giving a presentation in US History, and wrote “pubic works” instead of “public works” on the board. Her audience of 16 year olds was soooo mature.
Well, on Sunday, I was singing in church, and my voice was just shot. After cheering on the Tigers in the rain at Tiger Stadium the night before, and pushing my voice to the limit on a few songs earlier in the service, I knew the song was going to be difficult. It was just so high. So, I got close to the end, hobbling to the finish line, and I missed the mark. My first thought was “I’m never singing this song again.” I kept my eyes closed, afraid to see the looks that ensued. I could feel my neck start to sweat, and my face flush. But we finished, and moved on to the next song. My mind continued to race. This was on video.
Slowly, as we sang a new song with our congregation, I realized how silly it was to pack up a song forever because of one missed note. Ironically, the song was Great is Thy Faithfulness. “Morning by morning, new mercies I see. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.” I heard the church singing along to the last song, Is He Worthy by Andrew Peterson. It’s a call and answer song, where someone sings a line and the congregation answers with “We do” or “He does”. I took my ear monitor out, and the sound of the people confirming God’s love and worthiness was overwhelming. My stupid note did not matter.
It’s easy to get taken captive by your own thoughts. “When Satan tempts me to despair…” It was so easy for me to decide not to sing a song declaring God’s faithfulness because of my own inadequacy. Yes, I’m inadequate! That’s why I need God!!
I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
I will boast in the Lord;
the humble will hear and be glad.
Proclaim the Lord’s greatness with me;
let us exalt his name together. -Psalm 34:1-3 (CSB)
Satan uses our shortcomings to convince us to give up. God uses our shortcomings for His glory and grace. Like Paul said in Philippians 3:14, “I press on to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus” (NIV).
One of my favorite movies is Elizabethtown. One of the main characters gets fired from his job in the first few minutes of the movie because of a recall on a shoe he designed. When he finally tells his love interest about his mishap, her response is:
So you failed. Alright you really failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You think I care about that? I do understand. You wanna be really great? Then have the courage to fail big and stick around. Make them wonder why you’re still smiling.
Why am I still singing? Because His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Because He put a new song in my mouth (Psalm 40:3). Because He rejoices over me with singing, so I’m going to sing back (Zephaniah 3:17). I will rejoice in the Lord, always, even when I mess up.
Sing your new song to the Lord. Your failures and shortcomings will never be enough to separate you from His love. It won’t ever make sense to us, because we can’t love like He does. We can’t comprehend unfailing, never ending love, but we can accept it. We can come to God after every mess up, hiccup, throw up, and He will welcome us in.
Sing your song.