So, I’ve started reading Steven Furtick’s Crash the Chatterbox. You’re shocked, right? Me, reading a book by Steven Furtick? I know, what the Fu***ck… but it’s true. Heck, I even paid real money for it. #TrueStory
Here are my thoughts and a synopsis of this book’s introduction.
Apparently, there’s a war happening inside Steven Furtick’s head. And also his heart. It’s been going on for years, longer than the war in Afghanistan. In fact, according to Furtick, his head-and-heart war is never ending, a constant battle that he wages every single day of his life, even on weekends and holidays. “I wake up every day to the crow of the chatterbox,” he writes in the introduction of Crash the Chatterbox.
Then, Furtick offers us a real-time glimpse of the so-called clash happening inside his head/heart:
The thoughts are flying so fast now that I can’t keep track, much less sort them out and put them where they belong. Thinking about these thoughts at all only seems to feed them. That’s why they keep overpowering me, because I keep feeding them. I know this, but it never stops me from doing it. Not this time, not ten years ago, and it won’t be any different ten years from now, I’m beginning to believe. This is so stupid. I’m being so stupid. It’s only a light bulb. A burned-out light bulb has turned into a mini-midmorning meltdown in my mind, and I can’t find the switch to shut it off. The meltdown, I mean, not the light bulb.
As the pastor of Elevation Church in North Carolina (6000 members!) jumps into the shower, the war regarding the burned-out light bulb intensifies:
I noticed, for the third time, that the middle bulb was out over the sink on the other side of the bathroom. Now that I’m in the shower, stranded, phoneless, how am I going to put in Evernote that the light bulb is out? With my pathetic attention span, what are the chances I’ll remember to replace the light bulb after I get out? I definitely don’t have time to change the light bulb— I’m already going to be ten minutes late for this meeting. If there’s no traffic...
Are you hooked by the drama? The bloodshed? The possible loss of life? There’s a light bulb out in Steven Furtick’s bathroom, y’all.
…I’m always running late for meetings. I’m a late person. It’s because I hit the snooze button three times every morning, because I’m spiritually apathetic. Pastor Mickey used to get up at 5 a.m. and spend two hours with God, and he said, “He who runs from God in the morning will scarce find Him throughout the day.” They should put that on a Starbucks cup too. Either way, God is gone for the day, and it’s not even 9 a.m. And now I’m running twelve minutes late, and the light bulb is still out. I’m screwed.
This is getting good. I mean, seriously, Pastor Furtick is in the shower losing his shit over a burned-out light bulb. That’s compelling stuff. I wonder what’s going to happen next…
And who am I kidding? Even if I had time to change the light bulb, yeah, right, like I have a clue where Holly keeps them. Now that’s really pathetic. What would people think if they found out about that one: the woman changes all the light bulbs around that house! What kind of example am I setting for my kids? Did I even pray with the kids last night? the night before that? Dunno. But I did Instagram that sunset shot with the kids at the creek last Friday. So there’s that.
Then, Furtick writes, “Cock-a-doodle-do.”
You’re probably thinking, COCK-A-DOODLE-DO?! No, there’s no rooster in the shower with Furtick. The sound of the cock crowing, Furtick says, is the chatterbox informing him that he’s now 14 minutes late. And furthermore, the rooster that isn’t there also informs him that he sucks as a person.
I’m feeding the machine, and it’s eating me alive. And the chatter will continue to race through my mind until I decide to downshift and put things back in perspective: Calm down, Furtick. It’s. Just. A. Light bulb.
Don’t you sort of want to hit him? I mean, I haven’t hit anybody intentionally since the eighth grade. That’s when I punched a kid named Michael in the gut for spitting on a seventh-grader named Angela. Still, I do sort of want to punch Furtick. Maybe it’s because I’m imagining his anguish about the light bulb happening in his $1.7 million dollar mansion, a 16,000 square-foot home he says was a “gift from God.” I’m sure he’s telling the truth about not knowing where the light bulbs are located. Hell, in a house that size, he’d likely doesn’t know where Holly and the kids are, either.
But the size of his house is not the only reason this story bugs me. It’s also the story itself. Furtick’s light bulb tragedy is a prime example of rich white pastor problems. And sadly, I struggle to even believe this story is true. Sure, there was likely an out light bulb. In a 16,000 square foot house, there’s always a burned out light bulb! My house is 1/8th the size of Furtick’s and there’s at least four burned out light bulbs that need changing. The part I don’t believe is the mental drama Furtick forces here, the “I’m screwed,” “I suck,” and “Did I pray with my kids last night?” self-talk b.s. I don’t buy it. Could it be true? Sure. But how it’s written makes it hard to believe…
While Furtick’s light bulb tragedy is over, the pastor says the war will begin again shortly. He writes: “So much doubt, panic, raw impulse, and bogus conjecture stream through my mind.” He compares his soul to that of a Twitter feed (<-he’s so relevant). Despite the fact that, on real Twitter he only follows 334 people, his soul follows a ton of people on Twitter. He writes: “I’m following a million of the most annoying people ever, and I can’t find the Unfollow button.”
But God is faithful to speak too...
Furtick spends a few pages reminding us of all the ways that God speaks. According to Furtick, God made him AWESOME! He writes: “He has perfectly designed me and totally enabled me for everything He’s called me to do.” And God reminds Furtick that he’s AWESOME all the time. How? Well, like this…
Sometimes He’ll do that through a simple picture, song, text, or conversation that rings with affirmation for days.
And sometimes God will speak directly to Furtick. Once, as the plane he was on started to land at his home’s airport, God spoke to him.
God said to Furtick: This is your city. I’ve called you here to pour out your life for My cause. Be confident, because everywhere you set your foot belongs to Me, and you belong to Me, and together we’re going to take this city for My glory.
Then, God said: And I’m going to get you a big ass house, too. You’re gonna own one of the biggest privately owned mansions in all of North Carolina, Steven! It’s gonna be “Sweeeeeeet!”
Disclaimer: Just to be clear, that last paragraph is not in the book. That was me putting words in God’s mouth.
And then, regarding what God told him, Furtick writes, “I’m sure my translation of this conversation isn’t word perfect, because you know how tricky cross-cultural communication with God can be.” So true! Especially when Steven Furtick is doing the translating.
And then Furtick asks his readers some questions:
Is it possible to be the kind of person who can be distracted to the point of utter despair by a blown light bulb and still hear God calling you to do great things as you stare down at your city through a sunset?
That question is rhetorical.
Can God’s voice coexist with maniacal chatter— within the same person?
Mmm… morsels of humanism.
And how can I silence the voice of the enemy when the enemy is in me?
**Cough** Buddhism. **Cough**
According to Furtick, God has gifted us with the ability to make choices! Which is something Furtick didn’t realize until recently. Which changed everything!
Everything changed when I began to realize God has given us the ability to choose the dialogue we believe and respond to. And once we learn how, we can switch from lies to truth as deliberately as we can choose the Beatles over Miley Cyrus on satellite radio… Winning the war of words inside your soul means learning to defy your inner critic.
Wait a minute. This is starting to sound like Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of the Mind or William Backus’s and Marie Chapian’s Telling Yourself the Truth or one of the plethora of other books about “self talk.”
Furtick says that often “we feel powerless to crash the chatterbox.”
But never fear! Because DING! DING! DING! Furtick isn’t powerless! He knows exactly how to crash the chatterbox! In fact, by crashing his chatterbox, he learned that he wasn’t really screwed and that he doesn’t really suck. He says that all of us need to learn how to crash our Furticking chatterboxes. Because crashing his has made him feel much better. Much less guilty. And he no longer cares about the burned out light bulb.
And he closes his introduction by telling us that he’s going to teach us how to crash our chatterboxes, too.
END NOTE: Furtick, Steven (2014-02-11). Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God’s Voice Above All Others (Kindle Locations 213-215). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.