Who Am I?
About the Guest
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We are all on a journey of figuring out who we are. On FamilyLife Today, hosts Dave and Ann Wilson interview “You Be You” author, Jamie Ivey, about discovering God’s purpose for our lives.
Who Am I?
Bob: Author and podcaster, Jamie Ivey, says all of us need to embrace what is our true identity. But as she says that, she adds this disclaimer—
Jamie: On this side of heaven, I don’t think we’re ever going to be fully content in who we are—because we are broken; we have sin. There is evil in this world that we have to fight against; there are forces at play here that are bigger than what we see in the flesh. So we are not content here because it’s not our home.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, January 18th. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson; I'm Bob Lepine. You can find us online at FamilyLifeToday.com. How can we better understand and embrace the person God has made us to be? How can we celebrate that appropriately? We’re going to talk more about that today with Jamie Ivey. Stay with us.
Bob: And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. I’m just sitting here, thinking about junior high.
Ann: Oh, please; why?
Bob: Was it like the worst time of your life?
Ann: Yes; it was a rough time, I think.
Bob: For you [Dave], was it a hard season?
Ann: No; every season was a good season. [Laughter]
Dave: What are you talking about?!
Ann: You loved every season, because you were the season guy.
Dave: It’s funny; when you asked that, all I think about was sports. I’m like, “Yes; it was pretty good!” [Laughter]
Bob: Yes; “I was doing pretty well!”
The reason I’m thinking about it is because I think our guest today has figured out that a lot of people are still processing the junior high issues in their 20s, and 30s, and 40s, and beyond that.
Dave: I told my youngest son last year—right or wrong—I said, “I think at 50 years old,
60 years old, 40 years old—you are who you were in high school.”
Bob: That’s interesting.
Dave: Obviously, you’re not; but there’s something still connected to who you were as in junior high school.
Ann: A lot of people just thought, “I sure hope not!”
Bob: I just thought, “He’s had a mid-life crisis,”—is what I thought. [Laughter]
Dave: I have had one of those; is that what we’re talking about today?—I don’t think so.
Bob: Jamie Ivey is joining us on FamilyLife Today. Welcome, Jamie.
Jamie: Guys, I am so glad to be here.
Ann: You’re like, “Where are we going?!”
Jamie: Let me tell you about what I think of when I think of middle school. My parents and I—we have resolved this; I have forgiven them—when I was in sixth grade, we moved from a super small town in Texas to a large suburb with one month left of school.
Ann and Dave: Whoa!
Jamie: I had grown up in one town my whole life. One school in town; you know, small town.
Bob: Jamie is a podcaster extraordinaire—we should say that.
Jamie: Well, thank you! I’ll take it.
Bob: Your podcast is heard by millions of people; it’s called Happy Hour; right?
Jamie: The Happy Hour; yes.
Dave: Great title by the way.
Ann: I love it.
Bob: Jamie has written a new book called You Be You.
Do you think I’m right, that there are still people dealing with their middle school identity issues when they’re in their 30s?
Jamie: Yes! I think we all are, at different stages, like you said. We’re going, “Okay; what does my life look like now?” Whether you’re a parent now, or now you’ve been in a job for 20 years, you’re thinking, “Is this it?” or whatever. We’re all doing it; yes.
Bob: So did you write this because it’s the journey you’re on or the journey you’re watching thousands of other women be on?
Jamie: Both; but I’ll tell you why I wrote it mostly—is because—so I released my very first book in 2018; that was fun/exciting. But then I started to hear—women were always going—they weren’t dissatisfied with their life, because they didn’t like their life; I started to hear them being dissatisfied with their life, because they wanted her life. It’s not that they were looking at their own life going, “I don’t like what I’m doing.” They would look at her and go, “If I was her, I’d be happy,” “…content,”—fill in the blank.
I was hearing this, going, “But wait; you’re you! God made you to be you. God gave you gifts, and He gave you talents, and He gave you voice, and He gave you passions,”—all the things. The book started from that—because I wanted women to quit trying to be something they weren’t supposed to be—I wanted them to be the person God created them to be. Then, honestly, everything in here is because: “Yes, I’ve walked through this.” I still find myself waking up some days, going, “Man, if I was just like her, I would be better.” I have to remind myself, “No! I have my own thing that I’m doing.”
Right now, we live in a world—I feel like I talk about this all the time in this book—with Instagram, social media, we can automatically see what we think everyone’s life is. I say, “think,” because it’s just whatever’s there. That’s hard for women. I don’t know if it’s hard for men—you guys can help me—but I know it’s hard for women; because they’re looking around, wondering what they’re missing out on.
Ann: You start the book, talking about going through a mid-life crisis.
Jamie: Yes; trying to figure out: “What are we doing?” A lot of it’s like: “What is our calling? What are we supposed to be doing with our life?” I think people are asking that in high school, in their 20s, in their 30s, in their 40s. It’s a difficult question to answer, because there’s so many layers to it. People will say, “You’re/we’re called to adoption”; we have three kids through adoption. I’m like, “Yes; God’s called us to that.”
But I think we have this greater calling in life. Anyone who’s listening—all of us here—we love Jesus; we follow Him—that’s our goal in life. I would say that our main calling in life is to love God and to make Him known. Then, everything kind of falls into place, whether you change jobs, or you get married, or you have kids, or whatever it looks like. Everything kind of falls into place after that.
I want that to be an encouragement to women. I want it to be like: “You get to be you. At the end of the day, you’re still doing what God asked you to do. You’re going to make Him known and bring Him glory; that’s going to look different your whole life.” I’ve had different jobs my whole life that have been so different.
Dave: Yet, you turned 40. You said in the book/you’re like, “I feel like I wasted a lot of years.” In some ways, the questions you start asking at 40, some ask in high school: “Who am I? Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing?” How did that hit you at, like you said, age 40?
Jamie: A little backstory: I grew up in church and knew a lot about God/knew a lot about Jesus; would’ve even said I was a Christian. But then turned 16 and started living for myself and did what I thought was a “regular” teenage life; I was kind of running from God. Got married to a pastor; and then my 20’s, we were having kids. My husband, Aaron, was traveling; so I felt stuck a little bit. I wasn’t really sure of what I was doing.
Thirties, I’m trying to get my feet under me. Then, I got to 35, 36, 37, and started going, “I have so much ahead of me, so what is God asking me to do?” That’s when my professional career started changing and taking off. It was the same question people were asking in their 20s. We’re on this journey, all the time, of figuring out: “What is God asking me to do today, and then tomorrow, and then the next day?”
Bob: As I’m hearing you describe this, I’m thinking, “Was being a wife and a mom not fulfilling?—not what you were supposed to be doing? Was there still angst in that?” Aren’t some people—that’s who they are and who they’re made to be?
Jamie: Yes; so much angst in that, honestly. I mentioned that my husband travelled. He travelled a lot; I was at home. I was a teacher and a coach before we had kids. I kind of had this idea, like: “I’ll be home with the kids, and then I’ll go back to working.” I had this feeling of: “I think there has to be more for me.” I always want to say that, if you’re able to stay home with your kids, it is a privilege; I know that, and I’m thankful for it.
But something started stirring in me, where I was like: “I think God is moving in me and asking me to do something else,” which is what led me to audition for a radio show. That was the first time that I ever did something out of the box. I thought, “I think I’m going to something other than teaching and coaching, and I think I’m going to do something different than I ever thought I would do.”
This is a fun story, because I—I’ll tell you what happened—I’m driving in Austin, Texas. I’ve got four kids; they’re young at the time. I hear on the radio—I listen to country radio—and I hear them advertise that they have an open casting call for anyone to send in an audition tape to join the morning show. I’m like, “Oh, that sounds fun.” My husband, Aaron, is an artist; so we had a studio in our backyard/a house in the back. I said, “Babe, please help me.” I created a demo. It was voting; it was by votes, so I rallied all my friends. I made it to the top ten in votes; and then from there, the executives pick. I made it to the top five.
I remember Aaron and I went on a date. I hadn’t worked outside the home since we had kids—seven/eight years—we went on a date. He’s like, “I think we should talk about this.” [Laughter] I was like, “What?!”—still thinking—“There’s absolutely no way: “What are the chances?” I’m in the top five now. He goes, “We should talk about this; because if you get a job, we’ll have to figure this out.”
Ann: He was worried a little bit.
Jamie: I think he was worried; I think I should’ve been worried. [Laughter]
Bob: “Who’s making breakfast?” is what he’s thinking. [Laughter]
Ann: “Who’s getting the kids to school?”
Jamie: He’s like, “Who’s dealing with these children?”
I went in on a Thursday, and I got to go on air—everybody did—and I left there, that morning, thinking, “If nothing else, this was so much fun.” You guys, I ended up winning. [Laughter] So here I am now; I had never spoken into a microphone before then. The guys that I worked with were so kind to me and so nice. It ended up being my favorite job I had ever had up until then; I was on cloud nine.
But here’s what you need to know. I won this job, so I go from stay-at-home mom to now on air, live, at 6:00 am; so I have to be there at 5 in the morning.
Ann: That’s not easy.
Jamie: It’s not easy, and my husband still travels a lot.
Dave and Bob: Oh!
Jamie: It’s a hard season. Also, this was in 2011. Three of our kids have joined our family through adoption. One of them had been home maybe 14 months; he was 4 1/2. If anyone has ever been around adoption, it’s hard at the beginning.
I start working; and I am having the best time of my life, while everyone at my house is dying—my kids were struggling; Aaron and I were struggling. I’m tired; but I thought, “God, I have found what I am supposed to do for the rest of my life.” About three months in, I came to Aaron; I was like, “Have you noticed it’s difficult around here?” He’s like, “You think?!” [Laughter]
Looking back now, I am so grateful that he let me feel that tension; and he didn’t come to me and say, “You have to quit.” I would’ve listened to him, but I think that would’ve been hard for me.
Ann: Even the fact that he didn’t put his foot down and say, “We can’t do this! I’m on the road all the time.”
Jamie: I know. I look back; and I’m like, “He’s such a cheerleader for me, and me for him. That was a season where it cost him a lot.” Four months—I quit. It was the hardest, best decision I’ve ever made; I didn’t want to. I was a little angry with God; I didn’t understand: “Why would I try out, and why would I win? You knew I was going to have to give this up. You still let me do this.”
I felt a little embarrassed; I felt a little humiliated. I felt like, “I can’t do it”; I felt like a failure. The biggest thing I felt was, when I was on the radio, it was the first time in my life—and I don’t know how to explain this; maybe you guys will understand, because you do this—I felt like I had a voice. I felt, for the first time in my life, that I had found my groove: “I speak, and I get to make a difference in thousands of people’s lives.” I loved that, and I was good at it—so they said. I thought, “I love this”; and I thought I found my voice.
When I quit, I went through a lot of months of feeling like, “I don’t have a voice anymore; I don’t make a difference. I don’t have anything to say; no one’s listening to me.” I learned maybe one of my biggest lessons in life; I talk about it in this book. The voice that I thought I “found” on that radio show—I always had it. You said earlier, “Are you the same person you were in high school?—just looks different?” I don’t think God gave me a voice in March when I got that job. I don’t think He took my voice away when I quit. I just think I used it differently. I had been using that voice when I was teaching fifth grade Sunday school or when I was coaching a volleyball team; I’ve been using that voice with my four kids in my home for the past seven years. That was such a good lesson for me.
That’s something I see with women—is they think: “If I can get bigger and better, then I’ll be important,” “If I can get more followers, then I’ll have something to say.” I want to say, “You already have something to say; say it to the people in front of you.”
Was it hard to quit?—yes. Did God teach me a lot?—I’m so grateful for that lesson; because it forced me to realize, “Okay; you can use that voice in your home; you can use it everywhere you go.”
Ann: I have such a similar story. I was a stay-at-home mom.
Dave: She did not win a radio show/—
Jamie: Did you win a radio show? [Laughter]
Dave: —DJ contest.
Ann: Nothing close to that.
Bob: Well, hang on. Let’s talk about what you’re doing today; you’re the co-host for FamilyLife Today.
Ann: That’s true.
Ann: But it is true—Dave and I were doing ministry together, before we had kids, for six years—and I was loving it; I was thriving in it. I felt God calling us to have kids, and He graciously gave us three sons. But then, that was hard; I almost felt like I felt jealous of what Dave was doing—how he was bringing people to Christ/how he was impacting the world—I felt like, “I’m doing nothing.” What I would say in my head was, “I have no life anymore.” I hear so many women saying the same thing: “I have no life.”
Then, I decided to start our women’s ministry at our church. Our kids were 12, 10, and 7; and man, it filled me up. It started growing and thriving.
Dave: She was good.
Ann: I thought, “This is it! I’m leading; I’m impacting. I am doing this thing that I had this vision for.” I found that I couldn’t release all of that in my head when I was home, so I was distracted; I was constantly on the phone. Our youngest, who was seven, was really troubled by the whole thing—like: “Why aren’t you home anymore?” “Why aren’t you playing with me anymore?” “Why aren’t you playing football with me anymore?”
Then, the guilt is creeping in; but I felt like, “But God put this…”—and He’s growing this, and the ministry’s thriving. An older mentor came into town to speak at an event we had. I said, “I feel like I need to be home. I feel like our family is struggling with me out here; yet, I have this call that I can’t get rid of. I don’t know what to do. I feel like the ministry will fall apart if I quit.” She said, “If God can’t replace you, you must really be something.” [Laughter]
Ouch! That was so convicting, so I quit. I had a new vision for my family and the importance of pouring into our kids—that I did have a life—this was an incredible life. It sparked that feeling of: “Oh, I can be used by God in other ways; but for now, I need to focus on this ministry.”
Jamie: Look where you are now!
Dave: That’s what I want to ask both you women—look where you are now—you have a pretty substantial influence outside your home. “What if you weren’t doing this? What if it never was different than when you were moms in your homes?” There are a lot of moms listening/they’re like, “I’m never going to be on the radio; I’m not going to have a podcast; I’m not going to write a book. I’m going to raise sons and daughters, and that’s it.” Is that okay? Is that enough?
Jamie: I think that’s—we’re not thinking about it the right way—because I think everyone has different gifts, and talents, and passions, and voices, and influence. And for some reason, that we don’t understand, this is where God has us. It’s not better; it’s just different. I think that mom, who’s at home—and she’s like, “Man, that would be fun to be on the radio. I’m just making another batch of macaroni and cheese for the
17th time.” That is where God has you, in that moment; I have been in that moment.
Ann: And He’s shaping you in the moment.
Jamie: Yes; for me, when I look back at it—like a professional standpoint in my life—I mean, yes, I quit. Then, six years later—or I don’t know how many years later—I started my own show, and that changed my entire career and my life. Now my kids are bigger; and they understand that Mom leaves because she goes to tell people about Jesus. When I travel, that’s what it is: “I’m going to go tell people about Jesus; I’m not just leaving you guys here—that’s what I’m doing.”
That’s what I want women to know. I don’t want them to look at me or you and think, “Well, God’s really using them”; because God was really using me in my home, and He still is. God was using me when, like I said, I was a Sunday school teacher for years. That influence mattered; The influence that you have matters.
Bob: The young woman, who’s listening and going, “Now, wait; why did you guys have to give up what you loved and what you were good at to make things work at home? Why didn’t your husbands give up what they love and what they’re good at, and let you be who God made you to be out in the marketplace?”
Jamie: Yes, that’s a good question; yes, yes. I have a really good friend who, at the same time, was starting a company. She’s asked me that; she’s like, “Did you and Aaron ever talk about why you had to quit and he didn’t?”
We didn’t talk about that, for our family, particularly. I had been a stay-at-home mom when we started our family. We decided: “You know what? We have the opportunity,”—we had the income—“We’re going to decide for you to stay home with the kids.” It was my choice; it was what we wanted. It just made sense in our family for me to do what I had done previously.
Like I said, Aaron was so kind; because he knew how much that meant to me. Neither one of us are God, so we couldn’t have seen what God had in store for me. Looking back, I’m like, “God, I’m going to trust You next time. I’m not going to be so mad at You when You make me do things I don’t want to do.” Because you never know what’s on the other side. That’s how it was for me; that’s how our family had started.
Ann: I think I looked at it, like, “This great ministry is out here, and I’m doing this little ministry in my home.” I think I realized, “No; the great ministry is in my home. I’m raising warriors. I’m raising people that could impact the next generation for Christ.” I had this whole new vision of: “This is the greatest calling I could ever have. I get to stay home; not everybody can do that.” It was this honor and privilege.
Some of the days felt like a million years.
Jamie: Oh, yes.
Ann: You’re just in it sometimes; and you feel like, “I’m not doing anything but changing diapers and making macaroni and cheese.” Now that I’m on the other side, I think, “Man; those were the most precious moments that I could have.”
Dave: I tell you what—it’s hard for the husband; because I would come home, and she would be voicing that struggle: “I’m not doing anything. My life is just hidden.” Most husbands were probably like me; you’re like, “Oh, no, honey. You’re making a difference in what you do.” It didn’t matter what I said; it didn’t seem like it could convince you that your ministry mattered.
I’m thinking, right now, speak to that mom. You just sort of did; and it’s in your book, You Be You. But what would you say to the mom that’s right now chasing a kid around the house?—and they’re feeling like, “My life doesn’t really matter,”—what would you say to her?
Jamie: The one thing I want to say for sure is that the quality of your influence matters over the quantity. I mean that by—the people that you’re influencing; it could be three kids—but that matters so much to what you’re doing/is that quantity that you’re pouring into them.
I also want to say this—I don’t get on a soapbox or anything—I also want to really encourage her to watch what she’s inputting into her brain. It’s really hard to fight that and believe that when you’re constantly scrolling, looking at what you think is a better life. It’s hard to be like: “No, God; I trust You with this life”; and then, you’re scrolling Instagram and Facebook®, and you see this woman; she’s on another trip with her work. You’re like, “Man, I wish I could wear a power suit and go to work in San Francisco for the weekend.” You start to think, “Man, my life doesn’t matter, and hers does.”
We can say all day: “You need to fight to believe this; you need to stay in God’s Word. You need to surround yourself with good community.” But practically, you might need to get off your phone! You might need to stop the scrolling to think, “Her life looks better.” I still have to deal with that all the time, of believing that what I’m doing matters. Sometimes that becomes difficult when you’re looking at other people’s Instagram perfect reels. Listen—I love Instagram, guys; it’s my favorite social media—but I take breaks all the time from it—I mean, all the time.
Ann: Even last week, I can find myself—we’re busy—and I can find myself, at the end of the day, wanting to sit down and find something on Netflix: “Oh, I want to find something that’s going to be great.” I’ve been talking to God a lot and praying/I was saying, “God, I want to walk with You; I want to know You; I want to be closer to You than I ever have been in my life.” I felt this tug of the Holy Spirit saying, “Then spend more time with Me. Spend more time with Me.”
Bob: “I’m not on Netflix”; right?
Ann: Yes; so I thought, “Alright; I’m going to read. I’m not going to turn on TV at night. I’m going to go up and read.” I don’t know why sometimes that can feel like a chore. I started doing that, and I was amazed. My heart felt like it was on fire for Jesus. What happens, too, is the social media—you start to see it in a new way—like, “Oh, this isn’t benefitting me.” I think, especially with young kids, all we want is a break: “I just want a break. I just want to veg out.”
But even talking to God throughout the day: talking to Him about what you’re doing, listening to His voice, being in the Word, and having a community of women telling you: “This is what matters; what you’re doing matters. You do have a voice; you are influencing.” That really makes a difference.
Dave: And I’ll add this, because you two just talk to the women. I’ll talk to the guys—the husbands/the dads—I thought, back in those days, my words didn’t really impact her; yet they did. I would just say, “Husbands, today I’m looking you in the eye/I’m staring you in the eye. You tell your woman she matters; you tell her what she’s doing is valuable.” Write her!—write something down.
Ann: Thank her; yes.
Dave: Text her. Pick up Jamie’s book, You Be You. Encourage her; say, “Be you! You are literally changing the world. Don’t you believe the lie that you aren’t.” She needs to hear that from her man. I’m telling you—from man to man—do it today.
Bob: Let me just say—you could go to your wife tonight—and say, “I ordered a book for you today. I heard it on the radio today, and I went to FamilyLifeToday.com. I ordered Jamie Ivey’s book, You Be You; and I want you to read this. Maybe we can read it together.”
Jamie: Or/and you can say, “I’m going to take the kids for a couple hours, and you can go read the book!”
All: Ohhh! There you go! That’s perfect!
Bob: Go to FamilyLifeToday.com and get a copy of Jamie’s book. In fact, we’re making Jamie’s book available this week to any listener who can help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today with a donation of any amount. The book is called You Be You: Why Satisfaction and Success Are Closer Than You Think.
Go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com to make an online donation; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to donate over the phone. Request your copy of the book, You Be You, by Jamie Ivey. If you’re not yet listening to Jamie’s podcast, which is called The Happy Hour, there’s a link on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com. You can get subscribed and start listening to Jamie every week. Again, our website is FamilyLifeToday.com.
Let me say, “Thank you for your support of this ministry.” It means so much to us every time you make a donation, which you’re actually investing in is the marriages and families of people in your community/people all around the world, who are depending on FamilyLife Today for practical biblical help and hope for their marriage and their family. You make that possible through your donations. We’re always glad to hear from you. We hope you enjoy Jamie’s book, You Be You.
We hope you can join us, again, tomorrow when we’re going to talk about how the culture of comparison that we live in affects how we see ourselves/our ability to embrace being the people God has made us to be. Jamie Ivey’s going to join us, again, tomorrow. I hope you can be here as well.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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