New! Jesus Calling: Stories of Faith TV Show on Circle TV
Join us on Tuesdays this fall for the Jesus Calling: Stories of Faith television show on Circle TV, hosted by country music superstar Lauren Alaina! Each week, we’ll talk with people from all walks of life about their heartaches, their victories, their joy and their pain—and how their faith kept them going through it all. You don’t want to miss it—Tuesdays at 8:30 PM Eastern Time, and re-airing Sundays at 2 PM Eastern this fall on Circle TV.
Visit jesuscalling.com/TV to find out how to watch in your area.
Ally Brooke: The road to finding my harmony and being my truest self—God has led me through this my whole entire way.
Tuning Out the Chaos, Listening to God: Ally Brooke & Jamie Ivey – Episode #219
Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling Podcast. In a world constantly telling us who we should be, this week’s guests—international pop music sensation Ally Brooke, and podcaster and author Jamie Ivey—have found that there’s so much freedom to be had when we put aside all the voices vying for our attention and instead listen to the only One who matters: God.
Pop singer Ally Brooke has always had a big voice and the dreams to match it. In 2012, nineteen-year-old Ally auditioned as a solo contestant on the reality singing competition The X Factor, where she was placed in a performing group with four other young women and who became the pop group Fifth Harmony. After a meteoric rise to fame that held a few bumps along the way, Ally is finding harmony between the star the world sees onstage and the strong woman of integrity she’s always tried to be, which she shares in her new book, Finding Your Harmony.
Ally: Hi, everyone. My name is Ally Brooke. I am a singer/songwriter/entertainer, and I’m from the girl group Fifth Harmony, but now I’m a solo artist on my own.
Growing up in a tight-knit Mexican-American family that is so passionate and has so many different values has been such a gift for me. My childhood was filled with, you know, my brother and I going to church, going to school, having quality time with my parents, my parents always leading us in prayer, and then faith. And I grew up with so many memories of us being so close, valuing family time like nothing else. And of course, number one in our house is God and Jesus. And having that type of foundation in my life has completely changed everything for me.
“Number one in our house is God and Jesus. And having that type of foundation in my life has completely changed everything for me.” – Ally Brooke
Riding the Highs and Lows of Pop Icon Fame
So being in Fifth Harmony was a whirlwind, and [it is] mind-boggling that I was actually a part of one of the most successful girl groups of all time. Being in it had so many amazing highs. I was able to see the world, be at all of the big awards shows, have the platinum records. We broke records, and we were able to collaborate with so many amazing artists. One of the highs of being in fifth Harmony was being able to travel the world to perform on so many stages, the biggest stages all over the world. That was incredible. And being able to meet so many amazing, kind-hearted, passionate, loving fans who really cared about us. They would support us through thick and thin on every single thing we did. And to have that type of fan base was incredible.
But being in the group also had its challenges for sure, everything from feeling like my identity was lost to navigating the challenges that I faced in the group was very hard. It was one of the hardest things that I had to go through. So it was a balance of being super grateful and happy to be in this group, but also dealing with my own personal insecurities and obstacles.
One of the lows of Fifth Harmony was that I saw the reality of how the music industry really works. And it’s not always kind. You know, because I was a woman and I was young and I was more of a people pleaser, I had a really hard time standing up for myself. But I will always be thankful for Fifth Harmony because it changed my life.
Ally Begins to Find Her Harmony
So since the group disbanded and since we have all gone or solo journeys, it’s been quite the ride. I started from scratch and fresh through my music, and through my art, I’ve tried to be as authentic and as much of myself as possible and stay true to myself. I feel like the Ally in Fifth Harmony is so different from the Ally that you see now.
I struggled to feel like I could be myself in the group. So now being on my own, I’m able to show people exactly who I am. Through everything that I’ve done, everything from music to TV to my collaborations to my social media, everything—I’m a completely different person. I’ve grown tremendously. And I finally have come into my own and I am the woman now that I’ve always wanted to be.
God Loves the True You
When I took a beating from the music industry, being in Fifth Harmony and the real challenges that came my way afterwards too, God was right there to say, “Trust me. I have a plan for you and I’m here with you. You’re not alone. We’re going to get through this together.” That was the most wonderful thing to be reminded, even in this really crazy industry, that there is a God who loves me just the way I am.
“When I took a beating from the music industry, being in Fifth Harmony and the real challenges that came my way afterwards too, God was right there to say, ‘Trust me. I have a plan for you and I’m here with you. You’re not alone. We’re going to get through this together.’” – Ally Brooke
I am such a big fan of Jesus Calling, and I use it just about every day. And it really does help to inspire me and to inspire my faith and to keep me grounded. I love the way that it is written. I can hear God’s voice through the page and hear what He’s trying to tell me.
And sometimes I’ll have days where I’m feeling great and confident in the Lord and I’m feeling happy and that peace. And just being reminded of the Lord’s words through Jesus Calling is so comforting to me. But also, I’ll have my days where maybe I’m going through something or I’m sad or I have a ton of anxiety or I have a ton of worry or doubt. And Jesus Calling, through that devotion, I’m able to silence those thoughts and those worries and to help put them at ease. It gives me so much hope and joy in my heart. And I’m just reminded, like, Okay yes, I’m on the right track, or, Yes, God, I’m so sorry that I was worrying. I needed to hear this word today.
“I’ll have my days where maybe I’m going through something or I’m sad or I have a ton of anxiety or I have a ton of worry or doubt. And Jesus Calling, through that devotion, I’m able to silence those thoughts and those worries and to help put them at ease.” – Ally Brooke
Jesus Calling, September 16th.
I DESIGNED YOU to live in union with Me. This union does not negate who you are; it actually makes you more fully yourself. When you try to live independently of Me, you experience emptiness and dissatisfaction. You may gain the whole world and yet lose everything that really counts. Find fulfillment through living close to Me, yielding to My purposes for you. Though I may lead you along paths that feel alien to you, trust that I know what I am doing. If you follow Me wholeheartedly, you will discover facets of yourself that were previously hidden. I know you intimately—far better than you know yourself. In union with Me, you are complete. In closeness to Me, you are transformed more and more into the one I designed you to be.
Sharing what God’s Done in Our Lives
I am so excited beyond words for the release of my book, Finding Your Harmony. This is something that has been such a beautiful labor of love.
I share a lot of my obstacles and trials and heartaches. And it wasn’t easy going through them. But I’m hoping that through me speaking about my own experiences, that I’ll be able to help someone else know that you can overcome. My readers and my audience, they will get to know who I am and why I am who I am. And most importantly, they will get to see how God, how my faith, has shaped me and has carried me throughout my entire life.
The number one thing that I can’t wait for people to see is what God has done in my life, how He’s changed me, how He’s changed my heart, how He’s changed my family’s heart. I can’t wait for them to see His work in my life.
“I can’t wait for people to see is what God has done in my life, how He’s changed me, how He’s changed my heart, how He’s changed my family’s heart.” – Ally Brooke
Narrator: Ally’s new book, Finding Your Harmony, is available at your favorite book retailer on October 13th.
Stay tuned for Jamie Ivey’s story after a brief message about a brand-new edition of Jesus Calling that’s perfect for people who love jotting notes inside their books.
Many Jesus Calling readers have expressed that they have written notes in the margins of their own Jesus Calling, remembering important life moments and prayer requests. Now, there’s a new note-taking edition of Jesus Calling! It has the same great 365 devotions with full written-out scripture verses, and a new layout that leaves space for journaling and recording those inspirational thoughts and memories.
Narrator: There’s so much freedom to be found when we let go of this idea of who we should be and what our lives should be like, and instead lean into the gifts God gave us and how we can use those gifts in our lives right now. That’s what podcaster and author Jamie Ivey has realized. She also discovered that in a world that constantly tells us our influence grows when we have more ears that listen to us, there’s so much satisfaction when we embrace the people God has put right in front of us, and that satisfaction and success are so much closer than we think, which she talks about in her brand-new book called You Be You.
Jamie Ivey: My name is Jamie Ivey and I live in Austin, Texas, with my husband Aaron and our four kids. I’m an author and a speaker and a podcaster.
The Power of Being Who God Made Us to Be
So when I was in sixth grade, my parents and our whole family moved, and we moved into a much larger school than I had gone to. And I remember very vividly walking to lunch in middle school, and I would sit down with the friends that I had. And this is embarrassing to share, but I think we can all relate. I would sit down with the friends that I had and I would look across the room at the table where the popular girls were sitting. And I would wish that I didn’t have the friends I had, but I had those friends.
Everyone is doing the same thing. Everyone is doing the same. There’s not one table that is not looking around, looking at somebody else. We’re constantly going to be battling that forever, this idea of, Do I belong? Who do I want to be more like? And I think that it takes a lot of practice. It takes a lot of spiritual maturity to be able to say, “You know what? I am very thankful for the people—to keep using my middle school lunchroom metaphor—I’m very thankful for the people that I’m having lunch with. They matter, and they’re important.” And I’m going to spend my life serving and doing whatever God wants for me right where I am and not constantly looking at the other table, wondering what they’re doing.
“It takes a lot of spiritual maturity to say, ‘I’m very thankful for the people I’m having lunch with. And I’m going to spend my life doing whatever God wants for me right where I am, and not constantly look at the other table wondering what they’re doing.'” – Jamie Ivey
And man, when I figured that out, when I have walked in freedom from that, it makes you appreciate more of the spaces that you’re in, because you realize, God put me here for a reason. I don’t need to keep looking around, wondering what they’re doing or if I could be more like her. I want to really, really dive in and invest in the community where God has placed me.
So my new book is titled You Be You: Why Satisfaction and Success are Closer Than You Think. And this book is such an overflow of a journey that I have been on with God. And I have a small suspicion I will be on it with Him for a long time, because it’s just in our nature. We want to wish for what someone else has. [We are] discontent where we are, and compare ourselves, or think that tragedy and trials kick us out of the game of life.
And so this book came from an overflow of me hearing the majority of women that I would talk to, at one point in our conversation or a journey together, I would hear them express some sort of dissatisfaction with their life. And oftentimes they weren’t dissatisfied because of the life that they had. They were dissatisfied because they didn’t have the life that she had.
And so I started recognizing so many moments of people wishing that they had a different life, a “better” life, her life. And I noticed that they were missing the moments that God had created for them to use the gifts and talents and passions and influence and voice that He’d given them.
“I started recognizing so many moments of people wishing that they had a different life, a “better” life, her life. And I noticed that they were missing the moments that God had created for them.” – Jamie Ivey
Everyone Can Influence Someone
So I write this in my book, I write that my ability to succeed in life is not determined by the number of people I influence. It’s only determined by how well I steward the influence I’ve been given. And we live in a world right now that is telling us the exact opposite. The world and culture, society, is telling us that your influence is better if you have more people that you’re influencing. And we see that through social media. We see that through every part of our life. It’s like, Okay, you are now doing great things if you’ve a lot of people following you.
And the tragedy I see in this, I mean, we see this all the time when we see someone who is super, super famous and living a very miserable life. And we would think, Oh, but you have so many people that are impressed by you and so many people that are following you. But yet that’s not how we live a successful life. It’s not determined by the amount of people that we’re influencing, it is determined by how well you steward that influence you’ve been given.
Before I was a podcaster, you know, I was a teacher and I was a coach. And that influence to those seventh grade girls on that volleyball team, it mattered as much as what I do today matters. And so I think there’s this idea that you begin to matter and what you have to say begins to matter when a lot of people are listening. And I just want to encourage people that believing that lie keeps people paralyzed and not doing the things God’s asked them to do.
“There’s this idea that you begin to matter and what you have to say begins to matter when a lot of people are listening. And I just want to encourage people that believing that lie keeps people paralyzed and not doing the things God’s asked them to do.” – Jamie Ivey
If I were to look at those girls in seventh grade that were on my volleyball team, you know, my first year of teaching and coaching out of college, and if I would have looked at them and said, “All right, guys, I have to be here, I have to hang out with you. But I really, really don’t think I’ll be worth anything as a coach or a teacher until I’m teaching at the high school, and then the next step at college, and then professional.” How would that have made them feel? I would have been a very, very unsatisfied coach if all I could think about was not the team in front of me, but yet the team I was going to have in five years.
And so I want to encourage people to look around. Who is in your sphere of influence? For some people listening, that might be your children that you spend all day long with. For some people, it could be your classroom. For some people, it could be your coworkers, your spouse, your roommate, your parents, whoever that might be. There are people that God has put around you. Everyone that God’s put in front of you matters. And we don’t need to put our eyes on what we hope to happen five, ten years down the road, because we will waste a lot of time wishing for something we don’t have.
“Everyone that God’s put in front of you matters. And we don’t need to put our eyes on what we hope to happen five, ten years down the road, because we will waste a lot of time wishing for something we don’t have.” – Jamie Ivey
Raising Kids Who Don’t Play the Comparison Game
One of the things as a mom that I constantly think through is, How do I help prepare my kids for the world that we live in? And so what I want to do, honestly, is I want to take our whole family into a bunker and just live there until everyone’s about thirty-five, and then we can all come out and they could find maybe a nice spouse that also lived in a bunker until they were thirty-five. And that’s what I want to do. I want to protect my kids from what the world has to offer them. But I know that’s not an option. I know that’s not healthy.
But I do want to be a mom who helps prepare my kids for what the world has for them. And a lot of that means, with social media right now, my boys are all in high school and my two youngest boys are both freshmen. And they are by far, hands down, the last people that they know on the planet to get Instagram.
And that’s been hard for them. And they’ve had to really learn to trust my husband and Aaron and I in this journey of saying, “Hey, we want you to experience social media because we think there’s a lot of great things. But we also know there’s a lot of difficult things on social media.”
But I think having those conversations about, “Hey, when you feel that in this moment when you’re looking at the screen, here’s why. Because you’re believing a lie that their life is better than yours. You believe in a lie that they have more than you have. You believe in a lie that their life is more fulfilled or happier than yours.” And I tell my kids the same thing I tell myself, is what you see on a screen, it’s a snapshot. It’s a moment of what the reality of someone’s life is actually going on in the world.
Your Voice Matters. Use It!
I think if you’re listening and you’re struggling with thinking, How do I use my voice? Is it enough? Did God make me enough for what I am right here right now? A couple things I would encourage you with is, number one, what are you inputting? And by that I mean, what are you taking in on a daily basis? If you’re finding yourself just taking in social media posts and other people’s lives, then I’ll be honest with you, I would struggle all the time if that’s all I was looking at. If the only thing I was looking at and noticing was other people’s lives, then I would struggle to think that my life mattered and my voice was enough.
“If the only thing I was looking at and noticing was other people’s lives, then I would struggle to think that my life mattered and my voice was enough.” – Jamie Ivey
I think it cannot be talked about enough how important it is to input the gift of God’s Word into our lives. I mean, it is active. It is living and breathing, and it matters for where we are today. And that idea of thinking, Did God make me to be enough? I want to encourage you to be aware of what you’re taking in, because one thing is going to encourage you and show you the truth that you are enough. And the other thing is going to constantly make you feel as though you don’t measure up to what you’ve been looking at.
This is a passage from Jesus Always, June 7th.
IF YOU HAVE ME—your Savior, Lord, and Friend—you have everything that really matters. You may not have riches, fame, or success, but don’t let that discourage you. As I said to My disciples, “What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?” Nothing can be compared with the priceless treasure of eternal Life! Consider a jewel merchant on the hunt for excellent pearls. When he found one that was flawless, he sold everything and bought it. My kingdom is like that: of inestimable worth! So learn to be content with having Me, beloved, regardless of what you may lack in this world. The source of much discontentment is comparing oneself with others. I want you to make every effort to avoid this deadly trap. Remember that you are My unique creation—redeemed by My blood and exquisitely precious to Me. Stay in joyful communication with Me, the Savior who loves you immeasurably more than you can imagine. I will transform you more and more into the masterpiece I designed you to be.
The world is actually screaming at us that you need riches, that you need fame, that you need success. And when you have those things, then you matter. And this passage is saying what God said to us in His Word forever: What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? And that phrase from scripture, it is sobering to me because I don’t want to lose my soul just to gain what culture and the world says matters.
And so for me, I don’t want to constantly be wondering, If I was only more like her, how would that be? And I don’t want to live in that state of discontentment. I want to—like the passage said—avoid that trap with everything that I have and remember that God created me with a purpose, and I want to walk in that.
Finding What God Has For Us Right Now
You know, it’s hard to believe that the right now matters. And we often want to think so much about the future. And we’ve all been living through 2020 and all of the weirdness, craziness, stressful, very difficult time that it has brought for so many people, not only in our country and in the world with a global pandemic, with COVID-19.
I don’t want to paint the picture of 2020 and COVID as like, Oh, everyone just look for the silver lining, because some people have lost family members, and some people have lost jobs, and homelessness is on the rise. There are a lot of really, really difficult things right now that I would not wish on anyone. And so asking them to live in the right here and right now is hard, because they’re like, “Well, this is the worst right here right now I could ever imagine.”
And I hear you, because there are also people listening where 2020 has not been their hardest year. They’ve walked through cancer. They’ve walked through death, they’ve walked through divorce, they’ve walked through losing a child. People have walked through hard things, and life is hard. And so if 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that this is not surprising to us because life is constantly handing out very difficult things.
But what I have found as a follower of Jesus is that in the midst of those difficult things, whether that be covered in 2020 racial injustice, political division, or a diagnosis that you never saw coming, walking in the midst of those things. Jesus has constantly met me there, and He’s constantly met His followers for 2000 years in the midst of those moments.
And so the encouragement to live in the right here right now doesn’t mean that we don’t yearn for the day when we don’t have to wear a mask and we can go back to what is “normal.” We can yearn for that, but we can also be in the moment and go, What do You have for me right here where I am? What are You bringing to the surface? What are You bringing out of a difficult year? I’m going to lean into that and try my hardest to trust You with that.
“We can yearn for the day we don’t have to wear a mask and we can go back to ‘normal.’ But we can also be in the moment and go, ‘What do You have for me right here where I am?'” – Jamie Ivey
Narrator: Jamie’s book, You Be You, is available wherever books are sold.
If you’d like to hear more stories about finding who God called you to be, check out our interview with artist and writer Morgan Harper Nichols and actor/producer Kel Mitchell.
Narrator: Next time on the Jesus Calling Podcast, we speak with award-winning country music songwriter Casey Beathard, and his sons—49ers quarterback CJ Beathard and country music artist Tucker Beathard. Last December, the Beathards lost their son and brother, nineteen-year-old Clay, after he was fatally stabbed. And in their grief, the Beathards began to cling tighter to their faith than they ever had before.
Casey Beathard: When you start realizing this is not all there is, even as Christians, then you have to go reaching and digging deeper. And we hunkered down, and our house turned into a church.
Tucker Beathard: I’ve never been put in such a position to where it’s like, man, like, That’s all you got. We never had faith tested to that degree, you know?
Narrator: Want to hear more inspirational stories of people who have been changed by a closer walk with God? Then subscribe today to the Jesus Calling Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. And please be sure to leave a review, which helps us reach and inspire others with these stories. Plus, if you like seeing our guests as well as hearing them, you can find video interviews available on our Youtube channel at youtube.com/jesuscallingbook, on Facebook, and on the Jesus Calling Instagram page.