Behind The Song “Carry Me” by Josh Wilson

Josh Wilson is a critically acclaimed singer, songwriter and storyteller with chart-topping hits and numerous industry awards. Now with Carry Me, his fourth project with Sparrow Records releasing April 9, Wilson opens up his heart more than ever. Sharing about a very personal health issue dealing with anxiety and panic attacks, his new songs ultimately spread the message that through life’s difficult trials, only God can carry us through it all.

Bringing all his musical influences to bear–pop, folk, rock, classical, hymns, and more–Carry Me paints a refreshingly relevant musical palate that frames its message beautifully. With a probing spiritual curiosity and imaginative, self-examining lyrics, the album solidifies Wilson’s place among the finest song crafters of his day.

In the midst of writing songs for a new record, Wilson began experiencing severe chest and shoulder pain as well as difficulty breathing, believing he was actually having a heart attack. Yet after numerous negative tests, he tried to get back to his normal life but soon began waking up frantic in the middle of the night, even canceling scheduled performances out of fear. Reconciling these unexpected emotions with his long-held beliefs defines Wilson’s intentionally joyful and honestly raw new record.

I had the great opportunity to interview Josh about his song “Carry Me,” the title track and current hit single from Carry Me.

Please tell me the personal story behind writing this song.

I had written and recorded 11 songs for this new album and it was finished–or so I thought. I was completely done recording, and had a talk with a good friend at the label about maybe recording one more song. That’s always a good idea, to see what comes out. I had a conversation about my exhaustion from the songwriting process and that I had low expectations because I felt spent in the creative process, but was willing to give it a shot.

I decided if I was going to write one more song, it would just be exactly what was on my heart. I didn’t have a whole lot of creative energy left to write a story that I wasn’t living at that moment. In the case of this song, it was quite literally on my heart.

I started writing with Ben Glover, and after 10 hours, we didn’t have anything. As we were about to call it a day, I came up with the guitar riff for “Carry Me.” I started singing the words, “I try to catch my breath / It hasn’t happened yet / I’m wide awake in the middle of the night, scared to death.” The first verse came quickly, and so did the chorus. We worked on the song for another few hours, and at first I didn’t like the song. I always have to sleep on a song, and when I woke up I really liked it.

Next thing I knew we recorded it, and the whole writing and recording of the song is the message of this song. I felt like I couldn’t do it on my own, and God was telling me He can. The prayer of the song is how it was created.

Please tell me about any Bible verses that you used to write the song.

Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

…Exodus 14:14: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

…and Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

What is the takeaway message for listeners about the song and the album?

Philippians 4 says, “Do not be anxious about anything…the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” I prayed for that and each day would say, “God, I can’t make it without You. I need You to carry me.” And He did, and He still does. He carried me through each day even before I experienced the anxiety, but I just didn’t realize it. It took these difficult moments for me to realize how much I need Jesus.

“Carry Me” is a simple, honest prayer for God to hold on to my fragile heart. All I can do in those moments is pray. Ultimately, this difficult season has caused me to rely on God’s strength to carry me through each day. I’ve been praying more often and more earnestly, and I’m thankful that coming to the end of myself has brought me so close to a Father and Savior who loves me and will never leave me. The theme of this song carries through the rest of the album.
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We need to rely on God’s strength in every situation. No matter what the circumstances, we need God to carry us, even when things are seemingly going well. We have this illusion of control over our lives when in fact God is Sovereign and in control. We constantly need Christ to carry us. I hope people take away the fact that God is bigger than our circumstances and He will carry us through for His glory.

Lyrics:
I try to catch my breath
It hasn’t happened yet
I’m wide awake in the middle of the night scared to death
So I prayed God, would You make this stop
Father please hold on to me, You’re all I’ve got

Carry me, carry me, carry me now
From my sinking sand to Your solid ground
The only way I’m ever gonna make it out
Is if You carry me, carry me, carry me now
God carry me, carry me, carry me now

Jesus calm my heart
Come near me please
Lord don’t let these worries get the best of me
Oh I believe, that You’re still here with me
Cause You meant what You said when You said You’d never leave

Carry me, carry me, carry me now
From my sinking sand to Your solid ground
The only way I’m ever gonna make it out
Is if You carry me, carry me, carry me now
God carry me, carry me, carry me now

Carry me
God carry me
Carry me
God carry me

I’m at the end of myself
I know I’ve got nothing left
Feels like I’m stuck in the valley of the shadow of death
And I’ve been down here so long
I just can’t find my way out
Oh God I don’t stand a chance
Unless You carry me now
God carry me now

Carry me, carry me, carry me now
From my sinking sand to Your solid ground
The only way I’m ever gonna make it out
Is if You carry me, carry me, carry me now
God carry me, carry me, carry me now

Carry me now
Carry me now
Carry me now
Carry me now

Having previously enjoyed Josh Wilson’s hit songs “Savior, Please,” “3 Minute Song,””Before The Morning” and “I Refuse,” I have eagerly anticipated Carry Me. This album firmly establishes Josh as the premier folk-style singer-songwriter in Christian music.

Josh’s poignant songwriting is coupled with musical excellence as each song urges me to better see God. This album is sure to connect with all listeners who like catchy songs filled with truth and yearning for God. Josh invites you into his life in such an authentic and relatable way, you’ll feel like you are a lifelong friend after you hear this album.

Josh writes about themes that cause me to hang on every word he sings, especially “Carry Me,” which is a prayerful song that moves me with these lyrics: “I’m wide awake in the middle of the night scared to death, So I prayed God, would You make this stop, Father please hold on to me, You’re all I’ve got.” Finding God in my moments of weakness and relying on Him completely for my strength is what this song is all about.

We can all have confidence when we approach anything holding us back due to our fear. God tells us to not live in fear or shame or regret because we will find mercy and grace in the presence of God. Jesus is our High Priest and He will help us in our time of need. What an amazing truth that we can approach God with confidence and He’ll overcome our fears.

I love how Josh took a moment of personal anxiety and panic that he wasn’t being all that he is called to be as a follower of Jesus, and turned it into a prayer of surrender to God. We raise our hands to celebrate and in surrender. We can lift up our hands in confidence to God and know that His mercy is unfailing. His love is never-ending. He is our refuge and our strength. God’s ultimate will is not to bring affliction upon people, but to restore us so that we may experience His unfailing love.

This is a wonderful song of encouragement and prayer to ask God to break your pride, live redemption’s story, and move closer to who we’re meant to be in Christ. Allow God and His Holy Spirit to change you to be more like Jesus, and move closer to His glory.

The chorus of the song says it all, “Carry me, carry me, carry me now / From my sinking sand to Your solid ground / God carry me, carry me, carry me now.” God wants us to know that He’s faithful to complete what’s He’s started in all of us who’ve put all of our hope and trust in Jesus for our salvation. Amen.

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