Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Reason For Your Life Story

"I’ll pray a hedge of protection around you because I’m pretty sure you’re on a slippery slope. I might go as far as loving on you through this season. Just sayin’." - Jon Acuff

So many times, especially as songwriters that write for church or other religious reasons, we tend to write Christiany things. Yes, it’s a word. Ok, no it’s not, but you know what I mean.

Christianese. Words that sounds good to Christians because they know them and are comfy with them with our church friends or driving in the car praise-driving. But are these the only things to write about? Does writing more Christianish songs really get the true job out of reaching people for Christ?

Is this why God made you? To write more of what is already written? Another nice ditty that sounds like every other hymn, worship tune, or Christian song you’ve ever heard before?

"Why do we turn to empty, tired out phrases instead? Why do we have to have an answer or a formula? As followers of Christ, if we truly want to connect with people, we must be genuine and express ourselves with authenticity." - Mary Fairchild

Speak from Experience

I think the thing writers miss most at first, is writing from the powerful pages of their personal life story.

I tell all the beginning songwriters I meet (and artists too) that there is a reason for the life they have had. God has a Plan that cannot be seen by our puny minds. We can’t know why we endured all the heartache, pain, humiliation, anger, sadness, and yes, also love and happiness in our lives.

But as songwriters, we have a unique chance to mine that sometimes painful, sometimes thorny past, and turn it into some great songs.

Dealt with major awful things like abuse, divorce, or death? Use it. Write about it. Tell your story and let others know you have been there.

"The most effective way to let other people know about the great things that God can do in their lives is to tell them the story of what God has done in your life. That is what makes a difference." - Rick Warren

Is it hard? Well yes, of course! Deciding to turn your private life into a ministry is not easy for everyone.

Even if you have had it fairly easy compared to most, there are still situations you’ve been through where you’ve seen God work. Or more importantly, there are things that you have learned the somewhat hard way (probably because of stupidity) in life. These are the things that you can speak about in your lyrics. The reason God designed you, because He knew that you would have to go through them and come out the other side with unique insight.

We’re all unique. He made us that way so we would have unique things to say, and a unique way to say them.

So look into your life. Think about the things you struggle with. Think about the painful or watershed moments of your life. You know, those things you can’t believe happened to you, and wonder why God allowed them to happen?

Ahem. Here’s why. You have to share that experience and that is what separates you, your music, and your ministry from everyone else.

There’s a reason for your life story. Write from it!

“Come and listen … and I will tell you what [God] has done for me” (Psalm 66:16 TEV).

Have a great week!

Eric Copeland is a songwriter and producer for Creative Soul, a consulting, music production, and development company for Christian songwriters and artists. For more info, check out

More on this...

20 Christianese Phrases We Really Need to Stop Saying

Clich├ęs Christians Say

What Empty Christian Phrases Really Say

Tell Others Your Great God Story


DMELivwell said...

For a minute, after reading this, I thought, "OK, OK, I will..." But, I asked the Lord why I haven't done that before. Here's the revelation: I think sometimes we are so "done" with the pain and the experience, we don't want to go back there and drag it all up. It takes time to process and to get to the point where it doesn't hurt anymore...where, we can look in the mirror and see that we are still standing and the wounds are healed. But, then we can bring the whole process to the desk and make it sing...

Thanks for the inspiration!

Eric Copeland said...

To be honest, I think this is when artists and writers start to get into that mythical "next level". When they can begin to write about the pain and the lessons of their life, THAT'S when real heartfelt songs happen, and not just copies of other songs we've heard.


Anonymous said...

Excellent! Yes! This has been my goal. I am also a mental health counselor on top of it all, so I know that it is pivotal to share the hope of Christ in real-life stories. I have a store house of stories waiting to be told. I am weaving a lot of the pain from the past into my songwriting that also paints a picture of hope. Also have a new book that I am working on to tell my husband's and my marriage testimony through divorce and back.

Alice4God said...

I love this. You're so right, Eric! This is what I strive to do. I don't always hit the mark - "Christianese" comes so naturally - but yeah, there's a lost and hurting world out there that isn't going to hear that.

Some people are called to minister to the church, so build people up and send them out. That shouldn't be the majority! The majority should be the ones going OUT!

Becki B. said...

Could it be we've become uncomfortable with 'too much' honesty and vulnerability...or is it just pride? I've written my way through many difficult times although I must admit, I rarely set out to write a song. I just thought it was some weird coping mechanism ; )

Becky W. said...

Great article! The songs that resonate most with me are the stories of what people go through and how they come out of their situations in the end. Yes, God does want us to tell our stories in order to share with others how faithful He is in leading us through whatever situation, to give hope to others. I agree with Alice's comments.

mark Francis said...

hey guys, i have been working on this very thing for about two years now. God gave me the inspiration, He knows the good it will do, but so does the enemy of all that is good. Are there any musicians out there that would like to join me in a good cause?

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Eric Copeland is an author, producer, keyboardist, songwriter, and president of Creative Soul Companies. What is Creative Soul? Our main goals are to inform, encourage, and assist Christian creative folks in ministry, no matter where they are in their journey. Thanks for reading! Find out more about us at