When things don't go to plan – lessons from Mae Muller

Mae Muller performing at the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool.(Photo: SVT1 Direkt)

As the golden confetti rained down to herald Loreen and Sweden's victory, it was a glumly familiar feeling for those sheepishly waving Union Jacks.

Last year's hit 'Spaceman' delivered by the effortlessly charismatic Sam Ryder had propelled the UK to a second-place finish behind only Ukraine. But, in contrast, this year's entry 'I Wrote A Song', written and performed by MaeMuller, spluttered to a second-to-last place finish with just 24 points.

And all the while, tap tap tap went the keys of the laptops of the nation's press. A quick search of 'Mae Muller' the next morning brought up headlines such as: 'Mae Muller made about as much impact as a broken cuticle' (Daily Mail); 'Mae Muller should not have been allowed to represent the UK' (GB News); and even 'BBC accused of ruining Mae Muller's Eurovision chances' (The Telegraph).

Muller herself tweeted in the early hours of Sunday morning:

'i just want to say thank u x i know i joke a lot but we really put our all into the last few months, not the result we hoped for but so proud of everyone & what we achieved on this journey. Congrats to all the countries, I'll never forget this journey and I love you all.'

The 25-year-old performer opted not to drink from the toxic vial of accusatory reactions that typified the responses of various media publications. Rather, she recognised what had been achieved. Someone's got to come second-to-last, and it happened to be her. For Mae, the explosion of colour and vibrancy that is Eurovision trumped all things – even finishing near the bottom of the leaderboard.

And we can all learn from Muller's gracious response and big picture viewpoint. When we pour lots of work into something that doesn't go to plan, it's tempting to start pointing fingers. But as disciples of Jesus, we're to call upon a grander and greater perspective. Yes, we missed a sales target, didn't perform to the best of our ability in an exam, or struggled to persuade our screaming toddler to put their wellies on... but we're still dearly loved children of God.

So, the next time a Jesus-follower is faced with one of these stress-inducing situations, their behaviour has the potential to change – it's an opportunity to be kinder, gentler, more patient. Without disregarding the importance of whatever's going on, a reframed view grants them faith that, no matter what happens, they're still of infinite value to the Almighty.

Sam Brown is a Church Advocate for the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (LICC).