Christian Living


Julianna Zobrist on Music, Motherhood and the 'Shatterproof' Life

Chris Carpenter - Director of Internet Programming

Rising contemporary Christian musical artist Julianna Zobrist has led an insanely hectic life over the last couple of years.  Wife of Chicago Cubs All-Star second basemen Ben Zobrist, Julianna has certainly been living the baseball life as the couple and their three children have worked and lived in four different cities during that short period of time.

Despite all the upheaval, Julianna somehow managed to record her first full-length album Shatterproof (available now), a collection of confident, energetic, and joyful pop music that digs deeply into life-changing spiritual truths.

I recently sat down with Julianna to discuss the new album and how she balances baseball, babies, and blessing others through her music.  For her part, she says it all begins with the backbeat of God’s heart.

Since 2014 you have moved from Tampa to Oakland to Kansas City to Chicago. Your husband has won a World Series championship. You have recorded a new album.  You have two active kids, and oh by the way, you had a baby during all of that.  How do you balance every thing and maintain some sort stability in your lives?

That’s a great question.  If you can figure that out can you just let me know?  That would be great. (Laughs) Oh man, it has been a wild, wild ride.  It is a story that you cannot write on your own.  You can’t make it up.  It has just sort of happened.  We really felt like we have been standing under the water hose of God’s blessing. It’s really not an issue of balancing to me. When you so highly prioritize your family there really isn’t much of a balancing act to happen because they are going to be your first priority regardless. We do have to be very detailed oriented, very scheduled.  We have a weekly family meeting about our schedule for the next week. I know without the shadow of a doubt that when we look back in 20 years I will say that in no way did we sacrifice our family on the altar of careers.  That’s not something that we are willing to do.  So, we are eyes wide open to that temptation and we do everything that we can to keep priorities where they should be.

You have been quoted as saying, “I want the Gospel to saturate what I do. If our lives end with loving ourselves, then we miss the point.”  What do you mean by that?

So often I think in Christian culture we are told to be who you are, to love yourself, that you’re beautiful and you need to believe that. At least that’s the message that I received growing up and still hear oftentimes in church.  And I do believe that while that is good it can’t end there.  It can’t end with simply loving who we are and being comfortable in our own skin. It’s not really about becoming comfortable enough to just love ourselves and be ok with who we are as much as it is about journeying into the depths of who we are. We all need a savior.  We all need rescuing.  There’s not one of us that is exempt from that.  Once we see that part then we understand the Scripture that says, “While you were yet still a sinner, He died for you.”  I want that message, a message that is soaked in truth.  I want there to be truth to what I’m saying, to the words that are coming out of my mouth to be the words that are coming out in song for my listeners.

If we boil that right down what you are really talking about is Image vs. Identity.  Obviously, identity should win every single time. 

Absolutely.  There is a very big mix-up.  I’m a girl so I get the way we think.  And we mix it up often.  We begin to point the finger at another person in regard to their image instead of resting in your own identity of who Christ called you to be because of what He has done for you.

Your new album is called Shatterproof.  Many years ago, Christian artist Bebo Norman shared with me that his albums were really just a reflection of his life over the last couple of years.  Would this be an accurate assessment for you?

Absolutely.  Every single song was written because of an experience of mine.  The message behind Shatterproof is one that God has been teaching me.  That is opening my eyes to the sort of spiritual bullying that we do, especially amongst women.  We are always trying to quantify our morality or our relationships with God through various opinions or preferences that we may hold.  It’s kind of leveraging relationships based upon those preferences instead of just being confident in who you are because of the work of Jesus. So, that’s where the song title Shatterproof comes from.  It is finding your security, your identity, and your authority in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

A song that is getting a fair amount of airplay on Christian radio already is “Alive”.  What’s the story behind that song?

People come from all different walks of life and one of my favorite parts of living this life is the relationships that you get to form and the trust that forms between two people.  Just living life with friends.  Ben and I have some friends who were not believers and were sort of this stereotypical baseball couple if you will.  Ben and I just loved them and would talk to them all of the time.  We prayed for them for years.  Then in an instant, in a moment, in a flash, he accepted Christ and is God’s child.  The story goes on that his wife also became a believer.  Now, their whole family believes. The song “Alive” is a gift that I wrote for them. And after writing the song it just kept ministering to my own heart … that if I can be a dead man and God can make me alive, then this is more deserving than the occasional head nod.  We need to dance. We need to feel alive. We need to love.  We need to be some of the most joyful and obnoxious people because of what Christ has done for us. 

Is there any one song on the album that you would say is the “definitive” song?

I would say the message of “Over and Over” kind of meets that criteria simply because it’s the story of myself – striving and failing, getting discouraged, striving again, and then doing something great.  Then I am getting prideful and then I fall again.  It’s just like I’m on a hamster wheel that we all live on.  It seems like we are all trying to perform for God.  But at the same time He is just as relentless.  He is over and over proclaiming His love for us.  He has done it; He has accomplished it.  This is why He sent His son.  Let Jesus be your savior over and over again.  He is enough.  He is what I want.  So, every song kind of holds a different story, a different part of my life, and what I am learning.  “Over and Over” holds a special place for me because at the end of the day His love is just as relentless as my striving and feeling in search of success.

After people have listened to Shatterproof, as an artist what is the one thing you would like them to take away from that experience?

We all come from different walks of life.  I have my life.  It looks very different from your life.  Your life looks very different from her life, which looks very different from his.  But it’s easy to find the differences.  It’s easy to see where we all have something different.  It’s easy to find where we are not the same.  But what I think is awesome is when we can really dig deep and find a common ground with one another.  If anything, I would hope that people would take the time to listen to and read the lyrics and to think about their own heart.  I would love that they really begin to try to see the common ground between all of us instead of us all trying to be the same.  

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