If it sounds like Julianna has a lot on her plate as a wife, mother and spiritual co-leader of her family, she does—but she also owns another identity as a Christian music artist. Don’t mistake her for a singer who does mostly covers and hymns, though. She writes all her own songs, which are deeply personal.
The title track on “Shatterproof,” for example, was written for her best friend’s daughter. The little girl was being bullied at school by a boy, who one day told her she was pretty and the next day that she was ugly. “It really ticked me off,” says Julianna.
That moment of getting mad turned out to be the spark that ignited a larger message she’s since taken on as her mission: Teaching women to be confident and content, embracing themselves how God made them. “It’s ultimately about finding security in the person and work of Christ, and resting in your identity in that way—and not being defined by your fears.”
With a unique dance-pop style that makes listeners jump out of their seats but also gets them thinking, Julianna says her ultimate goal is to illuminate issues through her music. Her first appearances at events and conferences came through performing her songs.
“A lot of women who come to my shows have kids and have gotten their husbands or babysitters to watch them [so they can attend],” she says. “I don’t take that stuff for granted. I know how difficult it is just to get out of the house sometimes, so it’s very important to me to make the events lively and upbeat.”
Being onstage as a speaker is not something she ever anticipated. Yet last year, when she was asked to speak for the first time, she says it was something she knew she was destined to do.
“I’ve never been OK with just a 3.5-minute song,” says Julianna of her need to elaborate further on the messages she brings to the masses through her tunes. “Music can be so powerful, but only to an extent. I take the message of what I’m writing so seriously and want that to be communicated clearly.”
In 2017, Julianna has spoken at conferences like the Arise Women’s Conference in Kansas City, a women’s ministry retreat in Omaha, Nebraska, and the SheKC Experience in Overland Park, Kansas. She also keynoted at the Sisterhood Conference in Morton, Illinois, in June.
Though all her personal and professional commitments limit the amount of travel and speaking engagements she can take on, Julianna’s positive influence is revealed daily through her Instagram account, @juliannazobrist, where she has nearly 100,000 followers.
From the very beginning, she says, she’s loved interacting with people there and hearing how they respond to certain posts, for the same reason she loves being accessible at baseball games—talking with fans and chatting up people inside the stadium as she waits in line for a hot dog. Julianna’s posts reveal an intimate look at what it’s like to be a Zobrist, from date-night selfies with Ben to #OOTD (outfit of the day) shots and videos of her baby eating hummus on the kitchen counter. It’s through social media that she cultivates a genuine persona of normal, making it easy to forget that Ben has a multiyear, multimillion-dollar contract with the Chicago Cubs.
It’s refreshing to see a woman of her stature using her influence in an inspiring way.
“Instagram is such a powerful tool for encouragement, but it seems to be a place where people can be flippant in what they say,” says Julianna. “I see what I do as an opportunity to share positivity, enlighten people and encourage them to get out of their shells.”
She isn’t immune to critical comments, though. Known for her eclectic and unusual fashion choices, Julianna says part of her message is to take away the pressure people feel to please everyone. “Most Christians feel freedom, but a lot of girls don’t know how that actually translates to real-life living,” she says. “It’s freeing to stop caring so much about other opinions people place on your life.”
Part of that is thinking about the degree to which you absorb hatred, she says, and reversing it to the degree to which you absorb love and praise. Finding joy in encouraging others: Now that’s pitch perfect.