Watching Maher try to discuss his father is almost as emotional as his new song, "The Stories I Tell Myself."
Just one verse each day.
Never faced a battle that he couldn’t win
All you ever wanted was to be like him
But he drank his way through your teenage years
Now you’re stuck with the bill for your father’s sins
These are the stories I tell myself
We’ve previously discussed the excellent songs that Matt Maher has been releasing in 2022, but after hearing his explanation of “The Stories I Tell Myself,” we fear that our brief mention of this powerful tune was not enough to do it justice. “The Stories I Tell Myself” is a deeply personal song to Maher, and it may just be his magnum opus.
The first two verses of Maher’s new tune are practically autobiographical. Maher sings of a son’s admiration for his father, who consistently lets him down. The second verse speaks of the consequences of this parental distance, which has left him feeling alone in crowded places and not able to fit in. Maher accentuates this depressed feeling by singing down the register, hitting notes much lower than we ever expected from his tenor voice.
In a recently released explanation video, which accompanies the live session of “The Stories I Tell Myself” featured below, Maher opened up about his own story. The Catholic artist noted that the pandemic was particularly hard on him, as it brought back anxieties that he has wrestled with for years.
“I think everyone in some ways had their reckoning. For me a lot of it was the fact that I didn’t come from a normal home. My dad struggled with massive anxiety and developed an addiction to alcohol and anti-anxiety medication.”
Maher said that his father’s struggles with addiction caused a rift between the pair. He noted that having grown up without a firmly established father figure led him to identify such aspects in God:
“It leaves a mark on you. One of the first things that happens when you become a Christian is the starting point of your relationship with your earthly father becomes the starting point of your relationship with your heavenly father. You end up projecting your idea of God based on your relationship with your dad onto God. If your earthly father was distant, all of a sudden God is distant. Maybe he loves you, maybe he tolerates you, but if you mess up, he’s going to put it to you.”
These are impressions of God we have made up in our minds, Maher says, and he calls it a “hijacking of your imagination,” which can lead towards self-destruction. He believes that it is important to remember that these constructed feelings will follow us until we contend with them and overcome them as obstacles.
The pandemic was a time in which Maher recognized these insecurities in his own relationship with God and he began to work through them. To this end, he wrote “The Stories I Tell Myself,” which is meant to remind him that it’s hard to find meaning or context to his life without God.
“The story of God that I found in the Bible is a story of grace. It’s a story of redemption. It’s a story of reconciliation. Not working around pain, but working through it, and those are the stories I tell myself.”
Visit Matt Maher’s official website to hear more.