The Stories You Tell – Stories that Matter

Photo by Matias North on Unsplash

On my home page, you’ve probably seen the button that says ‘join my email list!’ Maybe you’ve signed up, or maybe you’re wondering what it is.

My email list is where I send updates on my blog, writing, songwriting, and where I can tell a few stories I don’t have songs for. But, even better than that, it’s an opportunity for you to reply and tell me stories.

In an email, I asked the question, “what makes a story matter?” I had my own answer to that question, but one of my special readers replied to say this:

What makes a story matter? I don’t know for sure, but I think a story “matters” when it changes the world a little bit, or changes someone’s life or worldview. For example, I read a book when I was a teenager called No Stone Unturned [by Helen Watts], and […] the book opened my eyes to the folly and unfairness of complaining about other people when you really don’t know what’s happening in their lives, and now I hate it when I catch myself or others doing it. So that book mattered because it changed my life.

“But does your book matter? Does my book matter? I don’t know. Only God knows. I have no idea whether our books will change someone’s life, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from writing the story they want to write. There’s seven-and-a-half billion people on this planet, I’m sure it can reach someone somewhere for a little time.

Isn’t it amazing that stories can change lives? Many of us can probably name books or films that have changed our lives. What’s yours?

For me, the book This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp changed my perspective not only on victims involved in school shootings, but victims of many kinds of trauma about which I hadn’t before given much thought. It changed the way I interact with hurting friends and even watch the news. It was a hard book to read for its themes, but I don’t regret it.

What about my own book? What about my songs? Will my work change someone’s life? I never expected it, but who am I to say if it will or won’t?

Sometimes we can get caught up in trying to justify why we’ve made our creations. It’s good to have a reason why we do what we do, because that’s what gives us motivation to correct, refine and perfect it. But if we set out to create something profound, we often end up with something too abstract.

So how do you write something that has meaning, without trying to create something with meaning?

“I take comfort in the [Biblical] story of the king who gave out his talents. The lazy servant says something I find encouraging, ‘You (the king) gather where you did not sow.’ And elsewhere God promises, ‘My Word will not return to me void, but will accomplish the work I set for it.’ I take these to mean He can use things for His purposes that I would consider inconsequential or ‘unChristian’…”

We have very little control over who sees what we do, and the impact it has on them. But God does. Our job is to create things that matter to us, and leave what happens to it to God. 🙂

“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

By the way… if you’d like to sign up to my email list, click the link below and put in your details. It’s completely free, and I try to keep things fun 😉 (You won’t be quoted without your permission, either!)

So, amazing creators – What’s a story that changed your perspective? What makes your work matter to you?

Published by Debbie Coll

I'm a storyteller, songwriter and author who loves God, fairy tales and music. I write about tales, creative tips and process on my blog,

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