Do you have a weed problem too?

I. hate. weeds.

One of the reasons I hate weeds is because I know the energy it takes to get rid of them – not only above the surface, but below the surface too. And if you don’t get rid of them below the surface and remain vigilant, they come back.

Several years ago, a group of college students I was leading tackled a wash area near our church. With all sorts of tools, gloves, etc., we transformed the wash on a Saturday morning from an overgrown mess to something more respectable.

There was a sense of accomplishment by the time we broke for lunch. We had fixed something. They were gone. The space looked new.

The wash didn’t have to be source of neighborhood blight. It wasn’t predestined to be an inviting place for trash, graffiti, blowing debris. Many of us bore the marks of our battle with those weeds, our battle to transform that wash into a different space.

(If you’ve ever gone after some serious overgrowth, you know “marks” and “battle” are not exaggerations.)

I finished a book recently entitled, Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God’s Voice Above All Else by Steven Furtick. Furtick is the pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. Elevation is one of the fastest growing churches in the country and Furtick is a gifted, creative communicator.

In the book, Furtick speaks into the noise and chaos of competing voices that battle for preeminence in our minds. He seeks to help his readers claim their identity in Christ and listen to the God’s voice amidst the chatter that easily derails and defeats our efforts and intentions.

Early in the book, one line grabbed my attention. I underlined it and starred it. While reviewing the book earlier this week, I found the line again.

Furtick believes that unconfronted lies lead to unfulfilled callings. In walking through some places that impacts our lives, he asks this question…

“What weeds are in growing in the cracks of some God-inspired ideas you’ve abandoned?”

overgrown weeds - car

I am not sure whether it is was the wording of the question, the time I read the words, or my deep aversion for weeds…but that question arrested my attention and I’ve been “weeding” through the consequences ever since that moment.

I do have weeds growing in the cracks of God-given ideas I’ve abandoned.

The weeds are things like fear, insecurity, intimidation, uncertainty, lack of confidence and procrastination.

These weeds now stand in the way of building my dreams.

What are your weeds?

Maybe fear or insecurity. Maybe something else.

But I think Furtick is on to something.

Far too many of us abandon our dreams because of the “chatterbox” in our heads (and all around us), which deafens the voice of God and derails us from stepping toward His purpose for our lives.

Unconfronted lies do lead to unfulfilled callings.

Fear may whisper that you have nothing to say – but God has called you to use your voice to speak for those who have none.

Insecurity may leave you feeling vulnerable – but God has declared you are beloved and set free, even before you did anything worthy of a prize or the label “success”.

Uncertainty may leave you anxious at other’s response – but God’s response is always grace.

Procrastination may have robbed you of some time – but God is saying the next best time to begin is now.

I’m excited to be taking my own advice. Beginning now. Refusing to wallow in the self-defeat talk that looks at all the time I’ve missed. All the opportunities I lost. Accepting the past and embracing the opportunity I have in the present.

If you’re looking for a great resource to navigate the noise and tune into the voice that matters most, I strongly recommend getting a copy of Crash the Chatterbox.

If you’re realizing that there are weeds growing where you’re dreams once shined, then join me…

Join me in weeding out those spaces so we can see our dreams become reality.

Sure, we’ll get sweaty and nasty, probably cut up and in the middle, wonder what we were thinking.

But hey, isn’t it better that way?

We can do this.

Top Posts from March 2012

March was a great month here at the Joshua Collective. 2012 has been a great year so far. Each month, we’ve set a new record for visits (not including October 2011 when we used this blog to promote Francis Chan’s visit to North Phoenix). Thank you so much for reading what I post here and sharing it with your network of family and friends, especially those of you who share it through social media.

Here are the top ten posts from this past month.

1. One Pastor’s Take on GCB: Part 1 (March 2012) – I’m glad my response to the popular and controversial new show on ABC got lots of visitors. I hope I added a different perspective to the conversation.

2. When Our Fears Get in the Way of Our Dreams (December 2011) – This reflective post came at the end of 2011, as I shared rather transparently about how I’ve allowed my fears to hold me back for far too long.

3. One Pastor’s Take on GCB: Part 2 (March 2012) – In my follow-up post, I tried to unpack the lessons the Church and followers of Jesus can learn from the caricatures that GCB provides. I believe we can learn from criticism, even when it is hard to swallow.

4. Your Favorite Bible Verse: 1 Corinthians 10:13 (January 2011) – This post helps to reset some common misconceptions about stress, difficulty and the involvement of God in our lives. Beware of Christian cliches, my friends!

5. Surprised by God: Our car-buying story (March 2012) – My wife, Danalyn, shared in this guest post about how God worked in miraculous ways as we bought a new car.

6. The 100% (March 2012) – This guest post from my friend, Robert Payne, was a part of his Kickstarter campaign. On April 1, just a few minutes before his deadline, Robert exceeded his goal and I am excited to be a supporter helping him to make an incredible record, full of awesome music.

7. 5 thoughts about boredom (September 2011) – I should not have been surprised to see this post about how an over-stimulated, constantly-entertained culture struggles with boredom stay popular.

8. Dallas Willard and the Gospel of Sin Management (April 2009) – This older post continues to get lots of hits each month. Willard unpacks this idea in his book, The Divine Conspiracy, which continues to get a lot of use in my work and ministry.

9. A speaker’s worst nightmare (March 2012) – This funny video from the TED conference was hilarious for me – as a speaker and as a Mac user.

10. Your Favorite Bible Verse: God helps those who help themselves (January 2011) – This post about the most famous Bible verse that you cannot find in the Bible gets a lot of hits each month. I hope it leads to a more healthy understanding of God.

Thanks again for reading this blog and I look forward to a great month of April and the rest of 2012.