My wife will tell you that she does not see me get angry very often. In fact, for the first couple of years that she knew me, she says that she did not know I was capable of getting angry. Then, one fateful night, while leading worship, my wife was totally taken by surprise.
As a college student, I led worship for the youth group at my church. It was something that I loved to do. I spent hours preparing music, hauling equipment, rehearsing the band, and doing everything I could think of to lead worship well. But, there was one thing that I didn’t prepare for. I was not ready, nor equipped, for times when others did not engage worship the way that I was planning on.
This particular night of worship started out like most other nights. We played some fun, energetic songs. Everyone seemed to be connecting (from what I saw) and we were moving into a more intimate time of worship. Then, I saw something I didn’t expect…
Ice. Ice was flying through the air from the back of the room towards the stage (it wasn’t really a stage, the band was just set up on the floor at the front of the room). It wasn’t just one piece and it wasn’t just one time. And then there was the laughing from the back of the room. Sadly, I wasn’t so concerned about the disruption to the worship. All I could think about was ice and the electronics that it was flying towards.
And then it happened. Through the microphone. I started yelling at whoever it was that was throwing the ice. I don’t remember what I said. I do remember the shock. I couldn’t believe it – and neither could anyone else – I couldn’t believe the response that came from me! I finished my lecture on the evils of ice throwing, or my rant, or whatever it was that I said. And then I tried to finish leading worship. We played the music. People tried to sing. But the moment was utterly destroyed.
It wasn’t really the ice or the other kids that caused the problem. My response, my anger, led us away from where God wanted us to be.
In looking back at this story, I see so many things that I could have done differently. Since then, I have learned a lot that has helped me handle similar situations without destroying the moment. Here are just a few things that I have learned:
- Expect that unexpected things will happen.
- Think through your response before you say or do anything.
- Give a lot of grace. Then, give some more.
- Nobody perceives things the same way I do.
- People will go where I lead them – I must set the example.
- Pray Before. Ask God to prepare you for unexpected things.
- Pray in the moment. Ask God to show you what is important for that moment and to lead you through the moment.
I realize now that a little ice is not that big of a deal. I have learned that people are not always going to know what I know, have the perspective that I have, or even want what I want – all of which creates opportunities for things to not go as planned. And I have learned that it is possible to take unexpected turns and still get to where I am supposed to go – especially if I don’t lose my cool (at least too much).
What stories do you have of a time when you blew it? What have you learned that helps when you get angry? You can leave a comment below.
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