Last month, I detailed my goal to read one book a month for the entirety of 2015. That may not sound like much, but for me, it’s a big goal. One book per month equals about 12 times as many books as I usually read in a year. To be honest, a few days ago I thought I wouldn’t make it out of February with the goal intact. I had three or four days ago and a lot of pages left, but somehow the time came. Against all odds, my reading adventure carried on into uncharted territory… two books in two months. I know, this is too exciting for you to handle. I should have warned you.
February’s book was Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick, the pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. The premise/purpose/subtitle of the book is “hearing God’s voice above all others.” As somebody who has a constant mental conversation going upstairs (I promise you I’m not crazy), this sounded like an intriguing read. Shout out once again to my friend Jenn, Kristen Wiig’s twin, because she’s a major fan of this book and recommended it to me. I have a hard time believing she actually read it, though, because that acting schedule must be crazy, right?
Crash the Chatterbox was a big change from Blue Like Jazz, because the two books are completely different in style. Blue Like Jazz basically functions as a collection of memories with profound insights about God and life along the way, but Crash the Chatterbox is more of a pep-talk meets how-to kind of book. Donald Miller and Steven Furtick also write very differently. I’ll just say it – Miller is a much better writer. That doesn’t make Furtick a bad writer, though. He’s actually very good at crafting memorable, quotable lines that stick around and can serve as reproducible advice:
“When your perspective is preloaded with the Word of God, lies lose their power over your life.”
“We don’t have to fear what we face when we know who we’re trusting in.”
“[The enemy] loves to project the past into the future, thus squeezing out the potential of the present.”
“Don’t let what you expected keep you from what God wants you to experience.”
While I love those easily reproducible one-liners, here are some larger lessons I learned from Crash the Chatterbox:
- We waste an excessive amount of mental time and space with our “what-ifs.”
- God WILL carry me through any unfavorable circumstance I will ever face.
- Many of my worries are unwarranted and unproductive.
- I AM a child of God.
- I can distinguish between the voice of the enemy and the voice of God.
- It is possible to deflect the harmful thoughts the enemy sends my way.
- I have believed many lies the enemy has told me, causing many insecurities to develop.
There are many other principles I learned by reading this book, but most of all, it helped me in a practical manner. Over the course of reading this book, I’ve found myself veering away from useless worrying sessions that have crept in and caused destruction in the past. I’ve learned to distinguish between what Satan tries to tell me and what God IS telling me. I’ve learned to rest in the security that is found in my very identity in Christ, rather than allowing insecurity to make a home in my heart and mind. I’ve caught myself many a time ready to drift into another harmful state of worry, when suddenly, it’s almost as if I hear the voice of Elrond saying “There is nothing for you here, only death!”
While that’s a somewhat cheesy and overused quote from Lord of the Rings, it’s TRUE. Matthew 6:27 says “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
No. The answer is no. There is nothing for you in worrying, only death.
I’ve always said that I’ve always been a worrier, but I’m no longer willing to accept that as a part of my identity. My identity is in Christ alone. Whom shall I fear? No weapon formed against me, especially the voice of Satan telling me to worry, shall prosper…
Crash the Chatterbox helped me realize the detriment of worry. While that’s a different lesson than many people probably take from the book, worry is the most frequent type of mental chatter that plagues me. When I let worry stay, and then grow, and then allow it to make its home in my heart and mind, it blossoms into full-grown insecurity. Crash the Chatterbox has assisted me in simply telling worry to leave. When it knocks on the door, I’m having dinner with some good friends named Identity in Christ and Blessed Assurance, so I can’t answer.
As somebody who overthinks and over-analyzes, I’m very thankful for the mental rest that Furtick’s words have helped me find. That rest has always been available to me in Jesus, but this book was a road map of sorts to help me find its exact location.
Clearly, Crash the Chatterbox was a practical and useful tool for me, and it’s very quotable, to boot. However, I do have a few critiques about this read:
- I’m not a huge fan of Steven Furtick’s writing style. It’s often too choppy. While quotable, the highlight content comes in small chunks rather than flowing throughout large sections of his writing.
- I feel like this book could have been much shorter and accomplished the same purpose. It was pretty repetitive and contained what seemed like a lot of filler content.
- A little bit of celebrity pastor arrogance was present throughout the book.
- I had a hard time connecting with the author on a personal level, which was tough because he tried to write the book in a very personal manner.
- It didn’t dive deep enough. I was waiting for the plunge, but I felt like many of the book’s topics floated near the surface level.
All of that being said, I did like Crash the Chatterbox and I would recommend it to anyone who struggles with fear, worrying, insecurity, or any other type of mental chatter that you feel like you can’t control. God is bigger than the seemingly ongoing battle taking place inside our heads. Victory is real, and fear is a liar. Crash the chatterbox that says you can’t read one book a month for a year. Crash the chatterbox that says you aren’t worth it. Crash the chatterbox that says you won’t get through this. Crash the chatterbox that’s constantly trying to take what can’t be taken from you – your identity in Christ.
Crash. Crash. Crash.
2 down, 10 to go. Next up: Creation Regained by Albert Wolters, which I’ll be reading as a possible basis for my senior thesis project.