What Mistakes Can Teach Us

by Yancy Richmond

Have you ever made a mistake? I know, I know. I’ll rephrase the question: When was the last time you made a mistake? I have made many mistakes over the years, on stage and off. The issue isn’t whether you make mistakes or don’t make mistakes, rather it’s how you respond to those mistakes. I’ll give you a couple of examples.

A number of years ago, I was leading worship for our student ministry. We were singing a new song that night, and when it came time to start singing I opened my mouth and the chorus lyrics came out. The problem was, it should have been a verse. There was nothing I could do. No, cover up. No, “maybe no one will notice,” option. The only solution was to stop and start again.

There have been times over the years I stepped foot on stage knowing I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know my material. I wasn’t prepared enough and there was a huge risk that it was not going to pan out. And who was responsible? Me. In those instances you can beat yourself up over it for days or you can choose to forgive yourself. It may even be that you need to go ask forgiveness of the leaders you’re serving with and admit: “I blew it. I messed up. I’m sorry.” That’s a great first response to the situation but no growth happens without thinking through and planning how to handle that situation in the future. What could you do better next time to prevent the mistake from happening? The same thoughts and attitudes apply even when someone else on the team is responsible for making the mistake too. On this particular occasion it was an issue of me not knowing the song well enough. This was my mistake and I had to own it.

About 12 years ago, I was at a Sting concert where I saw him forget the words to “Every Breath You Take.” He dropped the words and had to rely on the audience to sing the right ones and get back on track. His band, The Police, had a hit song with that one, and at this point he’d already been singing the song for 20 years. Was this mistake an issue of him not being prepared, rehearsed, etc.? Absolutely not, he knows that song backward and forward. Let’s be honest, if I forget the words to “How Great Is Our God” at this point in life it is not an issue of me not knowing the song well enough. It’s just an honest to goodness mistake.

Despite all of our attempts at perfection, we are human and well . . . we all have moments when our brain fumbles and we can’t remember something we should. Experiencing Sting’s mistake was so freeing for me. I realized that mistakes are going to happen even when I’m prepared and know my material. It was a great lesson in learning to live in freedom no matter what happens.

1John 1:9 says, “But God is faithful and fair. If we admit that we have sinned, he will forgive us our sins. He will forgive every wrong thing we have done. He will make us pure.”

Ask yourself:

  • What has been your biggest mistake on stage?
  • For the sake of a good laugh, what is the funniest mistake by someone on stage you’ve ever experienced?
  • What did these lessons teach you?

Yancy is an artist, songwriter and worship leader who has shared the stage with some of the music industry’s brightest stars. Her ability to lead all ages in worship is unparalleled. Yancy currently travels the globe sharing her music and leading worship. When she’s not creating and performing music, you can find Yancy working behind the scenes with AmberSkyRecords.com to give direction to the music and content delivered on this site. She and her husband, Cory, and their son, Sparrow, live in Nashville.

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