FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Finding Quiet on God’s Journey for You: Jamie Grace

with Jamie Grace | May 21, 2024
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Award-winning musician Jamie Grace has struggled with Tourette's, ADHD, and anxiety. Here's how she's leaning into God's journey for her—and found quiet.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Award-winning musician Jamie Grace has struggled with Tourette’s, ADHD, and anxiety. Here’s how she’s leaning into God’s journey for her—and found quiet.

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Finding Quiet on God’s Journey for You: Jamie Grace

With Jamie Grace
May 21, 2024
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Dave: Before we get started, we’ve got a question for you: how can we pray for you?

Ann: I love this question—

Dave: —I knew you would.

Ann: —because we talk about a lot of serious things here on FamilyLife Today, and those details about our families—they often need our prayers. So, can we pray for you? We’re serious.

Dave: Here’s how you can let us know: Text FLT plus your prayer request to 80542 to let us know. It would be our privilege to pray for you. That is: text FLT plus your prayer request to 80542.

Ann: We want to pray for you.

Dave: What are the statements you hear most in your head?

Ann: Oh?!

Dave: —almost on repeat.

Ann: “My husband is so handsome.”

Dave: That’s what I was thinking. [Laughter] That’s what I figured you’d say. I didn’t think “handsome,” but I thought, “awesome.”

Ann: “Hot.”

Dave: “Wonderful. I can’t believe I got this guy.”

Ann: “Amazing.”

Dave: Okay. Now, seriously, I know—

Ann: —did you think I would say that?

Dave: No. I thought—you’ve never even thought that one time. Maybe in our first year of marriage, but after that—

Ann: —it’s not true. I think that all the time.

Dave: Okay.

Ann: But it’s interesting; the thoughts that come through my head now are different than what used to come into my head.

Shelby: Welcome to FamilyLife Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I’m Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at

This is FamilyLife Today!

Ann: The thoughts that come through my head now are different than what used to come into my head, because my thoughts in the past have been super toxic: “I’m ugly,” “I’m fat,” “I need to lose weight,” “I need to be better,” “I’m failing,” “I’m not smart enough,” “I’m not doing enough.”

It was just a constant barrage of that negative self-talk. Would you have thought those were my thoughts in my head?

Dave: Not initially, but it didn’t take long after we were married to realize you hear that a lot.

Ann: Yes. I don’t anymore.

Dave: Yes, I think a lot of people hear a lot of negative self-talk. You know, working with pro-athletes for 33 years, there was a lot of negative thoughts of guys—

Ann: —super-successful guys.

Dave: —that are at the highest level. And you think, “Wow! When they line up for a play, they are hearing, ‘I’m not good enough. I’m not going to be able to make this play.’” You’re like, “What in the world!?” The truth is, and we know this: “How we think is how we live.” Belief—you know me, as a preacher: “belief dictates behavior.” So, whatever I’m believing about myself is going to dictate the way I live.

The reason we’re bringing this up is we’ve got Jamie Grace back in the studio with us.

Jamie, first of all, welcome back!

Jamie: Hello! It’s good to be back.

Dave: What were you thinking as we’re talking about this? [Laughter]

Jamie: Oh, this is so great! At the very, very beginning, I was like: “Guys, I’m right here! [Laughter] You can stop flirting! This is really weird—super cute, but I shouldn’t be here.” [Laughter]

But all of that resonates with me, even when you were asking that initial question.

Ironically, I do pre-flirt with my husband in my head, because when I try to flirt out loud, it doesn’t—I’m not always very successful, so I’ll practice my flirts in my head.

Ann: Ooh, maybe I should try that.

Jamie: It still doesn’t work. I’m not—

Dave: —practice your flirts!

Ann: But you’re good in your head, aren’t you?

Jamie: To me, I’m like [guy’s voice], “Oh, that’s going to do it!!” And then I’ll say it out

loud, and he’s like, “Babe.” [Laughter] I think he’s used to it at this point, but I’m so

awkward. There are like families listening, so I won’t give any examples, but I’m just awkward.

Dave: I’d love to know what goes on in your head because you’re very successful. In terms of like being a pro-athlete, you’ve reached that in the singer/song[writer] world.

Ann: Yes, Jamie’s a two-time Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, and an actress.

Dave: And a Dove award winner for New Artist in 2012. Am I right?

Jamie: Yes, that was spot on; yes.

Dave: Yes, I went on and learned all your songs. I’m going to sing them. [Laughter]

Ann: You really are successful. I mean, as the world looks at you, they would think,

“Oh, she’s made it!” And you’ve written a book called Finding Quiet:

Jamie: —yes.

Ann:My Journey to Peace in an Anxious World.

Dave: But in the book, you start talking about this self-talk.

Jamie: —those daily thoughts, and I still have them.

Dave: Really?

Jamie: Yes.

Dave: What does it sound like?

Jamie: Very similar to yours. I mean, I’m a first-time mom, and especially [in] that post-partum season—those six to twelve months: “Oh, you need to lose weight,” “You’re not successful,” “You’re not doing a good job.” It’s constant, and it’s frustrating. I’ve done a lot of work, personally, in therapy, church small groups, [with my] pastor. A lot of times what will now start to happen is a lot of pep talk. You know what I mean?

Ann: Yes.

Jamie: And I’m proud of that. A lot of times, I’ll have this kind of [thought] in my head: “You’re so dumb. That song is terrible that you wrote.” But I’ll catch myself and immediately, start to [say]: “But the song you wrote last week wasn’t that bad, and you did a good job. You know what else you did? You swept. Maybe it was two weeks ago, but guess what? You did it, and you cooked dinner, and it was awesome. Your husband liked it, and you guys are probably going to kiss later [kissing sounds].”

I’ve definitely done a lot of conscious work to try to override a lot of those negative

thoughts. A lot of times, I’ll do it out loud as well, even from a spiritual standpoint and stuff like that, with Scriptures and things like that.

Ann: Yes, it’s a journey; and it takes a lot of work.

Jamie: Yes! So, when I catch myself doing that mentally [negative self-talk]:

“You’re this… You’re that,” I’ll start walking through the house, saying things like, “You are a child of God! You are a daughter of the King!”

Ann: Yes!

Jamie: Some people might think this is cheesy, but I mean this genuinely. Sometimes,

I’ll quote my lyrics out loud, not in a way of [bragging voice]: “Look! I wrote it!” Not

like that, but because everything I’ve written is genuinely something that the Lord gave to me in a moment of desperation.

Ann: Give us some lyrics that you would say.

Jamie: Yes. So, I have this one song called “Daughter of the King.” It says, “The Maker of skies, the Maker of seas, the Maker of every beautiful thing, He made you.”

The first time I ever said something like that, it was during a show. There was a girl in

the middle of the crowd, that was—later, I processed, but [she] was—kind of the outsider in the young adult group that she was in. I just stopped in the middle of my set, and the Lord told me to tell her, “The Maker of skies and the Maker of seas, He made your face.”

My lyrics aren’t necessarily something where [I’m thinking], “Oooh, I got to write something catchy.” They really do come from moments of the Lord really speaking to

me. Scripture is obviously way more powerful than anything that I could come up with, so I’ll just start reading Proverbs out loud.

Right now, I have a Proverb book on my bathroom mirror. If something else, something from Psalms, or Galatians, or Habakkuk, or whatever it is, speaks to me in a couple of weeks, I’ll put that up there, too, and just try to speak out loud the words of truth; speak out loud the words of wisdom, because it can be so much more powerful than whatever is happening in my head and [it] can help get me into a habit of hearing those things and saying those things instead.

Dave: Yes, and I think even the song—a very poppy song—I’m guessing this one was

one of your Grammy nominations: “I Love the Way You Hold Me”—

Jamie: —yes.

Dave: —as poppy as that is, that lyric is, in some way, very profound. It’s said over and over in the song [with] TobyMac and the whole thing, but then, when you think through what you’re singing, and you know that kids are singing this, you think, “A lot of times, I don’t believe He’s holding me right now.”

Jamie: Yes.

Dave: “I’m saying it in a song, but I don’t believe, [in] the thing I’m going through”—

Jamie: —yes.

Dave: —"He’s got me.”

Ann: You’re saying, “God is God.”

Dave: “God is holding me. ‘I Love the Way You Hold Me’.” So often, we [think], “I don’t know if You are right now.”

Jamie: Yes.

Dave: Because the self-talk is “I’m alone.”

Jamie: Yes, right.

Dave: “I’m struggling on my own.” That simple lyric is like, “No, you’re not.”

Jamie: Anybody that knows me knows that I have—it’s not an obsession, because that’s not a very healthy word, but my big sister is my literal hero. I love her so much.

We got—for her senior year in college, I was at the same college, and we got—an off-

campus apartment. I know, we were really cool! It was a Bible college, so that kind of stuff was just like—

Ann: —and you were young. How old were you?

Jamie: We were 16 when we started college. She was 20, in her senior year, and I was

17 or 18.

Dave: Wait, wait, wait! Why were you starting college at 16?

Jamie: She’s smarter than I am. I don’t like to take too much credit for my intelligence,

even though I do think maybe I’m smart sometimes. But the thing is, when you’re the

oldest one, I think you’re the smartest. She started reading at three. My mom is just an

amazing educator, so she had Morgan reading at three. I was younger, so I was just doing whatever she was doing.

Yes, okay, I think I’m a little bit smart, but I credit a lot to my mom and my sister, because I just showed up, and they were already doing the work! [Laughter] I [thought], “I might as well help them read stuff.”

My sister graduated high school at 14 or 13, but my mom wasn’t ready for her to go to college, so she just made up a bunch of extra work for her to do for a couple of years until she was ready to go to college. But we were living in this off-campus apartment, and we were supposed to do that until I was done with college. That was going to be our thing. I was going to live in this cool apartment for three years.

Ann: Let me add—let’s go back a little bit for the people—

Jamie: —yes—

Ann: —for our listeners, that maybe missed our first episode (go back and listen).You were given a diagnosis—

Jamie: —yes.

Ann: —at age eleven. Share a little bit, just as a reminder.

Jamie: Yes, yes. I had already been given this diagnosis of Tourette’s syndrome, which is a movement disorder, a tic disorder, as well as a generalized anxiety disorder, which is—just as a quick synopsis, imagine everyday worry times 20—but basically, because of neurological stuff, and then, obsessive compulsive disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which is OCD and ADHD. I had all of that that I was dealing with on a daily basis.

Ann: That’s why I wanted our listeners to know. So, now, you’re in college!

Jamie: Yes. The main stipulation for college was that I went where my sister went. I

wasn’t as far along mental health-wise as I thought I was going to be to go out of state, which is what I wanted to do. But it’s okay, because we both graduated from a school called Point University in the Southeast, and we really loved it. I loved getting to be near her, so that was a huge blessing.

But then my sister went off and did the very stereotypical pastor’s daughter Bible college thing and got herself a suitor. She gets so mad when I say that word. [Laughter]

But she started dating someone, who is now her husband. Super-cute; whatever!

Ann: [Tongue in cheek] How could she do that to you?

Jamie: I know! So, here I am, in this apartment. I’m supposed to be watching “Cheetah

Girls” with my sister every night, eating pizza, and they’re sitting on the couch. She started watching superhero movies all of a sudden. [Laughter] She’s like—I guess they are like Christian dating, so I’m still in the house. I thought, “This is just dumb! Be your own accountability. I need to go!” I was miserable. Anyway, that’s how I wrote “Hold Me,” because I thought, “This is stupid!” [Laughter]

Ann: That’s when you wrote “Hold Me?”

Jamie: All of my songs that sound like I’m in a good mood—I was crying; all of them.

Dave: Really?

Jamie: I was crying my eyes out when I wrote “Hold Me.” I was sitting in my room, all by myself, just thinking, “I’m going to be single forever. No one’s holding me.”

Ann: I didn’t know that about that song, because it’s so filled with joy, and yet, you were saying, “No.”

Jamie: Yes.

Dave: Well, here’s the other thing I find interesting [about] what you just said.

Jamie: Yes.

Dave: You do—I think it’s your second chapter—you call it the “The Noise of Feelings.”

Jamie: Yes.

Dave: It’s almost how you stifle and hold feelings in. When I read that, I thought, “Oh,

boy! I do the same thing.”

Jamie: Yes.

Dave: I don’t like them. I sort of—I cry at movies; I don’t cry in life.

Jamie: Yes.

Dave: But you just shared how you express your feelings. Talk about that.

Jamie: Yes, well, I really do have a love/hate relationship with feelings. I do love to feel feels, you know. I love—especially when it comes to music; it’s such a safe space for

me to feel, whether I’m listening to a heavily emotive song, or I’m playing a very emotional song, [or] writing something very personal—I really do enjoy that.

But it can oftentimes be difficult, around other humans, for me to go there, emotionally.

With my family, sometimes—my mom is so sweet, and she’ll say, “Oh, you know, when

I’m with your daughter, it reminds me of when you…”—and I [will say], “Ooh! No, mom!

Nachos.” You know? I just can’t do it.

Dave: Did you say “nachos?”

Jamie: Yes! “Just talk about food. Just change the subject.” [Laughter]

At our wedding, I laughed through the entire ceremony—not like dissing or whatever, but I just thought it was funny. I thought, “This is hilarious that I tricked this really hot guy into marrying me.” [Laughter] I was just laughing the whole time; but then I cried later. I [thought], “I don’t want all these people to see me cry!”

It’s so weird. I’ve always had a really challenging, back-and-forth relationship with feelings; but as I get older, I’ve just tried to become more and more intentional with choosing to feel and choosing to be okay with feeling.

The Lord is not mad at me because of my feelings. The Lord is not upset with me for

having feelings, you know? I think, for so long, I just wanted—well, I still feel this way

sometimes: I just wanted—everybody to be happy. I just wanted everybody to be okay. So, I never wanted my feelings to interrupt that. I’m always just trying to be conscious of: “Okay, I’m dealing with this medical diagnosis.”

Again, it’s a journey. I still deal with really bad days of Tourette’s stuff or anxiety stuff. So, I’m just—even when I’m having those days, I’m constantly—thinking, “Is my husband okay?” If I feel too much, then I can’t be conscious [of whether] he’s okay. If I feel too much, then I’m not looking out for my daughter. When reality is that the Lord has given me a spouse; that’s a part of marriage—me being able to be open about how I’m feeling and the challenges that I’m facing, and vice versa.

And the reality of parenthood and motherhood is that she needs to see me cry. She needs to know that, “Mommy gets sad sometimes. Mommy’s working through it, and it’s going to get better,” you know? My own relationship with feelings kind of gets in the way of that sometimes, and kind of just causes me to shut down a little bit and only practice feelings when songs are on.

Ann: I think that’s pretty big. Dave, I’m looking at you. You can relate to that because you have run from your feelings in the past, a lot.

Dave: Yes, I didn’t know it for decades, but it was a defense mechanism to protect

myself. I can remember, being the father and the pastor, doing my sons’ weddings. I can remember standing in the chapel, looking at my son and his new bride, and feeling like, “I can’t feel! I should feel this moment.”

Jamie: Yes.

Dave: And part of me is like, “Well, I have a job to do. I have to officiate the wedding.” But I think I was afraid. And I know this, from Ann in our marriage, she wants

Ann: —oh, yes! I want you to feel and emote that.

Dave: —because I think, in some ways, [we]’re not fully present when we guard our


So, when I was reading your book—even about finding quiet and finding peace, [I thought]: sometimes, we’re afraid to step into those feelings, and we never get to the other side, which is peace, if we’re willing to go there.

Jamie: Yes, yes.

Dave: It may be scary; it may be uncomfortable, but it’s like—anyway, for me, I feel like, “Man, I want to make the last 30 years of my life feeling years,” in the sense that I want to cry in life, not just in a movie theater. Part of that is [that] I’ve got to be willing to go into it.

Ann: One of the things you say in your book is, “I started to realize that it wasn’t my

purpose to bring people joy.” A lot of us—I think, especially, as a mom, I could feel that.

I do feel that—

Dave: --yes.

Jamie: —yes.

Ann: —for my kids, for my friends: “Oh, I want to bring them joy.” You say, “Instead, it was my purpose to live a life full of joy in hopes of directing people to see the Source.”

Jamie: Yes. Every few months, I go through this—I mean, this is a little bit of my

personality; this is a little bit of my anxiety as a human; this is a little bit of my anxiety

disorder, but every few months, I go through—an “I need to fix the world” phase. I’ve

gotten to the point that I can talk myself out of it within a day now, so that’s a huge

step! Because the first time I tried to fix the world, I was about seven. It took me months to realize, “I’m doing too much.”

But I’ll literally see brokenness in the world, and it starts from genuine pain that I feel, right? What I don’t do is feel the feelings and go to Jesus, which is what I should do. That’s the first thing I should do.

What I instead do [is I think], “Oh, God, You feel sad about what’s happening in the foster care system, what’s happening with poverty, racism, injustice, all of these things. Okay, Lord, You know what we’re going to do? We’re going to fix this. Jesus, You sit up on Your throne. I’m going to get on my phone. I’m going to come up with a PDF. I’m going to file for a non-profit; seven non-profits—actually, fifteen non-profits. I need 33 interns—actually, 34 interns. They need to be paid. I need a grant. Who can give me a grant?” I’m trying to fix it all.

Ann: I just want to say—to restate this: “You just sit on Your throne while I get on my phone.” [Laughter]

Jamie: I don’t think I’ve ever said that out loud, and I’m a little embarrassed; but it’s so real. It’s so real. I have to remind myself that I’m not called to be all things to all people.

I think a lot of times, and this is not to be received as a big theological unraveling or anything, but I think, a lot of times, as believers, we get caught up in words like “purpose” and “calling,” especially young adults who listen to my podcast. They ask, “What am I supposed to do?” “What college am I supposed to go to? I don’t want to make the wrong choice!” “What career? I don’t want to do the wrong job,” “I don’t want to marry the wrong person! How do you know the one?” You know? This kind of grand scale of: “What is my purpose, and what is my calling?”

Sometimes, the Lord is [saying], “I want you to wake up tomorrow and extend grace to

everyone you see. That’s your purpose for today,” you know? Just choosing to be more

present has allowed me to do that. Even—you know, what you were saying a minute

ago about your son’s wedding: “I’m just trying to do the job and not feel the feels. I’m just trying to complete the task at hand.”

I dealt with a lot of that, getting famous at 17, with my music. My job was to make everybody happy. [I thought that if] I stopped making people happy, “I’m not relevant anymore. I’m not famous anymore.” And then, I’m seen as a failure. “If I stop playing 2-300 shows a year, people see [me] as not successful.”

That was one of the main things in my life that really took a hit at my mental health and

really took a hit at my feelings. I was so much better at feelings before I was famous.

[Laughter] I had such a healthier relationship with feelings before I realized that feelings

could easily become a currency, and that it was just my job to keep all the feelings as

high and happy as possible, at whatever expense to myself.

That’s what happens, whether you’re a mom, or an artist, or a dad at a wedding, a

pastor at a wedding, when you’re so caught up with: “Let me just monitor everybody else’s feelings, and create and serve joy on a platter,” as though it’s mine to give. When we’re constantly doing that, then we’re completely neglecting ourselves. We’ve completely avoided every aspect of who God calls us to be and what that purpose looks like.

That’s really where the book started for me: realizing that, by trying to make

everybody so happy, by literally being one of two of the main musical resources for

most Christian families in America for like four years (who had young girls); by just

stepping into that role of being “it,” I was completely neglecting who God made me to


Ann: Yes.

Jamie: I was completely neglecting any kind of feeling of just doing the job. There was no connection to my own feelings and my own needs. Finding quiet became a literal thing. I walked away from all of it, and I just sat in a quiet house and healed for a long time.

Ann: I think that that’s important, what you just said, “I just sat in the house and healed.”

Jamie: Yes.


Ann: I think men are like this, but women, maybe, it’s a different way: we’re fixing,

we’re helping, we’re taking care of so many people that, a lot of times, it feels selfish to focus on our own mental health.

Jamie: Yes.

Ann: And I talk to a lot of moms and women who are really struggling with that.

Jamie: Yes.

Ann: Jamie, I think it’s really wise—

Jamie: —thank you.

Ann: —to say, “It’s not selfish. You need to plug into Jesus.”

Jamie: Yes.

Ann: I think that you’re saying that therapy has really helped, and that can be a great thing. And also, to have some other people—your best friend is your sister, your mom—

Jamie: —yes.

Ann: —so, you have some other women around you, speaking life and really walking

you through some of those things.

Jamie: Yes.

Ann: Those things are good; but to go to Jesus, too. He says, “Come to Me, all you who are weary…” [Matthew 11:28]

Jamie: Yes.

Ann: I think that’s the first place to go, and He’ll give us wisdom.

Shelby: Are you someone who feels weary right now? I know so many people who would shout, “Yes!” in response to that question. If that’s you, Jesus is calling you to himself and saying, “I get it. Bring it to Me and let me carry it for you.”

Being needy isn’t really something that we champion in our culture today, as capable people who want to get everything done with excellence. But Jesus loves needy people. He loves using the weak to shame the strong. Run to Him in your need and watch Him show up in better ways than you ever could have imagined or even tried to do on your own.

I loved this conversation today with Jamie Grace.

I’m Shelby Abbott, and you’ve been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Jamie Grace on FamilyLife Today.

Jamie has written a book called Finding Quiet: My Journey to Peace in an Anxious World. You can find your copy right now by going online to, or you can get it in the show notes. Or just give us a call at 800-358-6329; again, that number is 800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.” Just request Jamie Grace’s book called Finding Quiet.

Now, it’s the month of May, which is an exciting month here at FamilyLife because every gift that you give to the ministry of FamilyLife is going to be doubled dollar-for-dollar up to $550,000. That’s right. Thanks to some generous donors who have offered to match every gift that comes in this month, we are able to say that any donation you make will be doubled up to $550,000.

You can give online right now by going to When you do give, as our “thank you” to you we’re going to send a copy of Neighborhoods Reimagined by Chris and Elizabeth McKinny.

In addition to that, when you become a monthly partner, you get to participate in our new online community and be part of the conversation happening at FamilyLife, including a live Facebook event with the Wilsons and myself on June 5th at 7 p.m. Again, that’s for all monthly partners who contribute and become a part of the ministry here at FamilyLife Today. You can find out more by going to the show notes or heading over to and clicking on the “Donate Now” button at the top of the page.

So, what’s the impact of the element of shame on relationships and self-worth? It’s probably quite a bit more than you’d imagine. I’d love for you to join us tomorrow as Esther Liu talks with Dave and Ann Wilson about the topic of shame and how it deeply impacts almost every element of our lives. That’s coming up tomorrow. We hope you’ll join us.

On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Shelby Abbott. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

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