It’s one of the worst feelings! Turning off my lapel mic, taking my seat, and realizing deep down in the depths of my gut that the sermon I just preached sucked. I hate that it feels like a cloud of failure is meandering over my head.
I don’t know. Sometimes it’s due to a lack of energy that sucks the jam out of the preaching event. On some occasions it was due to sheer procrastination during the absolutely vital prep time. Other times I just didn’t have enough prep time to “bring it” the way that I intended.
Here was a space and place for someone to encounter a divine ‘nitty gritty’ love that was ultimately contrived by an incompetent messenger. It’s like a missed opportunity. That is the worst part.
“Move on” a voice whispers in my head. The problem is that the voice full of doubt which questions if “moving on” is even possible.
Look. I get the thing about brokenness, and how the failures of a pastor are just inevitable because pastors are people too. I get that. I get that God uses broken stuff and even though I may have screwed up royally in bringing a lackluster sermon, there are still ways in which God can use that kind of stuff.
Sometimes I feel like the works I do for God are like a picture created by a toddler. When my son was 16 months old he grabbed a few markers, his mom (my wife, just for clarity sake) took off the caps, and he proceeded to scribble on a piece of paper. His mom gave it to me, and it was one of the most beautiful works of art I have ever seen. So I hung it on my bulletin board in my office. Let’s be honest, without any emotional or genealogical tie to my son the few scribbles on a piece of paper are quite insignificant and even ugly.
In my head I like to think of God taking our works, as miniscule and lackluster and broken and incomplete as they are and hanging them on a divine bulletin board beside other such works. I am sure some surely look like Picasso, and some, like mine look like the scribbles of a toddler. Even though I am all the active synonyms of brokenness, I like to think that God participates with me in my works like the mother of a toddler who works with the kid who doesn’t know that he needs to take off the caps of his markers. I like to think that God takes a look at what I do like I would look at the picture my son made. That it is beautiful. In a way, that is what makes failure so difficult.
I am a pastor and I am broken.