Finding Quiet: My Journey To Peace In An Anxious World, by Jamie Grace
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Bethany House books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
In some ways, it might be expected that I would be at a bit of a disadvantage in reading and reviewing a book like this one. I have, after all, no prior knowledge of the author or her modestly successful career in Christian music. Admittedly, though, it was not as big a deal as one might think. After all, she is not a big enough artist for her musical career, which included seven songs that hit the top 40 of the Christian charts between 2011 and 2014 when she was signed to Gotee Records, which the author refers to as a “major label,” which it might be considered in the Christian ranks. At any rate, while the author does engage in at least some efforts at self-justification, as when she says that it was her decision to release her third album independently because it was not well-suited to popular radio, rather than likely having that decision made for her by being dropped from the label because of a deliberately non-commercial direction. Even so, this is a really touching book and a deeply personal one in the author’s discussion of her struggles with mental health as well as the difficulties of being a public person in the contemporary world.
This book is a bit more than 200 pages and it contains 11 chapters and various other usual materials. The book begins with a prologue and an introduction. This is followed by the author reflecting on the toll of daily anxious thoughts (1), the noise of one’s feelings (2), and the desire, often unsuccessful, at fixing things (3). This is followed by a recognition that we are not enough on our own (4), and that we have to learn to let go (5) and overcome the desire to control that so many of us struggle with (6). After that the author talks about hopes and dreams (7), her desire to avoid competition as a musician and to celebrate community and encourage others (8), even those who might be in the same line of business that she is in, as well as her dealing with friends, enemies, and forced quiet (9). The book closes with a discussion of how we are often tempted to compare ourselves among ourselves (10) as well as a pondering of the purpose of the author’s life (11), as well as a conclusion and acknowledgements.
Although I did not know anything about the author upon starting to read the book, it was easy to empathize with the author and with her struggles. One does not need to know or care about the author’s blend of singing and rapping and of various genres to have a sense of compassion and understanding for the struggles of godly people in a wicked world. The author’s frank discussion of her struggles with discouragement, with Tourette’s syndrome and OCD, with her longings for a family and her cooperative efforts with her sister to record an album of material (2011’s Christmas Together) demonstrates what she is about as a person, and that is something that is easy to appreciate and respect, not least for the struggle faced by the author in light of her various issues. One can likely think that the desire of the author for normalcy is what drove her recording this year of an EP of songs called “Normal,” which, although they did not chart, represent again the author’s longing for stability in the face of the world’s craziness. And there are many people who can relate to that longing and appreciate encouragement from someone who obviously struggles with it too.