May 28, 2015

It started when a friend emailed asking for a guest post and mentioned my photography as part of the post. And then within that same week, another friend sends me a bold message telling me in essence to own what I do, when I play with my camera–to remove that word–“wannabe“.


These nudges out of nowhere stretch me in a way I felt unprepared for. This encouragement, completely off my radar.

It’s safe to say I’m not alone in finding it difficult to wear some labels honestly.

I feel so much like an impostor most of the time.

Yet, some titles sit somewhat naturally. I teach–I’m a teacher. I raise children–I’m a mom.

We don’t seem to wrestle with the obvious ones, the ones that people can’t wager an opinion on. I drive–I’m a driver. I read–I’m a reader…


It’s different with art. How many of us are willing to call ourselves artists?

 We’re waiting for that mystical qualifier. Sometimes, we’re waiting for a particular person to crown us with the title, too timid to claim it ourselves. Afraid of seeming prideful. Afraid of being discounted, busy outlining our numerous disqualifying factors.

In a very real sense, none of us is qualified, but it seems that God continually chooses the most unqualified to do His work, to bear His glory. ~Madeline L’Engle

But what if there’s no grand coronation? What if you wait half a lifetime or more to be who you really are?–What then? Without outside confirmation, are we liars in calling ourselves writer, painter, photographer, poet?

I hope not.

If we are forced to accept our evident lack of qualification, then there’s no danger that we will confuse God’s work with our own, or God’s glory with our own. ~Madeline L’Engle

What if God calls us to an art purely for His pleasure, and not for the stamp of approval of the world–will we own it? Will we hold the pen in our hands, and smear paint on the page purely for His own pleasure and worship?

Some titles hang awkward around our shoulders, it feels like a stretch to remain upright, to get comfortable in what feels uncomfortable.


I’ve said that calling myself a writer, or a photographer, (even though I do both of those things), feels a bit like wearing a dress I can’t afford while pretending I can. I love the way it looks, I want to wear it well, but I’m afraid to cut the tags.

But today, here’s what I propose:

If you get this– if you feel awkward, or silly or uncomfortable wearing that title that feels too big for you, wear it any way.

Your gifts and talents are hand-crafted in you, for the ultimate glory of God. He picked them out specifically for you and while you wrestle with your worth, and the clanging symbols of the world, who shout you down with their faithless pessimism and  bitter cynicism, you cling to the cross. Remember, you are made for THIS.

You have the capacity to perform the human act of making art, of doing what comes from deep within you and touched something deep within me. ~Emily P. Freeman

So own it. Be who God has made you to be.

Your gifts and talents are hand-crafted

Glorify God every time you write or paint or dance or sing or bake or skate or swim–and when someone asks you about how you do what you do, point them in the direction of the Kingdom.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive and inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

Spread the love

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Lori Harris May 28, 2015 at 11:25 am

    For today, I’ll try wearing the titles writer and photographer.

    And each time I feel less than each, I’ll force myself to recall a word of encouragement that others have spoken.
    Such a good word, Kris, and one I needed this morning.

    • Reply Kris Camealy May 28, 2015 at 11:53 am

      Grateful for YOUR encouragement, Lori. Wear them in the knowledge that God has called and equipped you for His purposes. You glorify him in the way you live, my friend. XO

  • Reply Emma May 28, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Tears brimming here Kris; I obviously needed reminding of this more than I knew. Thank you.

    • Reply Kris Camealy May 28, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      Emma, me too my friend. I needed the reminder desperately. ((hugs)) Love to you, sweet friend.

  • Reply Rachel Molder May 28, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    To call oneself an artist is to call attention to our work, which means we will be compared to other “artists” and that can be shriveling to say the least. I’m with you Kris, even as one who’s been to art school I’ve struggled to call myself an artist in the past. I actually work as a manager of a team of artists and once had my boss say to me, “you’re not the creative one, you’re just a really good manager” and I got really good and mad about that because it was not true but he didn’t see what I did every day that made his business run so smoothly because he liked to label people.
    Knowing one’s value and contribution, really really knowing it and claiming it is good and healthy. I will make my own labels for myself, others may label me but I can’t control that.
    Thank you for this thought provoking and beautiful post. You are, as always, so honest and open with your heart.

    • Reply Kris Camealy May 28, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      Rachel, you are an artist. It stings what your boss said, because it couldn’t be further from the truth. Keep doing your thing, my friend. Walk in the gifts God has given you–they are many. Love to you!! XO

  • Reply Jamie S. Harper May 28, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Thank you for this. So lovely.

    • Reply Kris Camealy May 28, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      Thanks for encouraging me, Jamie. So grateful for you!

  • Reply Layla Solms May 28, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    Kris, I am grateful to have you in my life as a mentor, encourager, and friend. Your words are true and helpful. Thank you.

  • Reply Sandra Heska King May 28, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    I get this. Yep. Thanks, friend. I’ll be sitting with this today.

    • Reply Kris Camealy May 29, 2015 at 12:37 am

      So grateful for you, Sandy. You KNOW I am praying for you, lady. LOVE YOU BIG!!

  • Reply Karrilee Aggett May 28, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    So, honestly – it’s like you were in on a Voxer Prayer time I had yesterday with a girlfriend… some of the exact thoughts/hopes/fears! I ‘get’ this too… but I am learning to stand up tall in who I am!

    • Reply Kris Camealy May 29, 2015 at 12:38 am

      Huh. That;s so funny. I love how God works. I am so glad you are standing up, Karrilee. You bless many!! XXOO

  • Reply smoothstones May 28, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    I really appreciated this, today, as at any given time, there’s a positive title I’m struggling to claim. Or two. And also, I have people in my intimate life who love me but struggle with my wearing so many titles all at once. I’m not really an eggs-in-one-basket kind of person. I’m a better artist when I have many baskets, and eggs everywhere. And it’s okay to claim all my baskets.

    I regret that I wasn’t able to meet you at Jumping Tandem. I heard your name spoken over and over, and only with love and admiration.

    • Reply Kris Camealy May 29, 2015 at 12:40 am

      I am glad you can accept who and how God has made you. My baskets and eggs are also a bit scattered 😉 I understand. Keep following Him, and doing what he asks of you. It may not always be popular or understood, but you’ll always be where you should be when you’re beside Jesus.

      I wish I could have been at Jumping Tandem too. I have heard nothing but GREAT things…

  • Reply Katie Reid May 28, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Thank you- I needed to hear this Kris.

    • Reply Kris Camealy May 29, 2015 at 12:40 am

      Grateful for you, Katie. Glad you were encouraged–that is grace, right there.

  • Reply KimberlyCoyle May 28, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Just the encouragement I needed today, Kris. Thank you for your honesty.

    • Reply Kris Camealy May 29, 2015 at 12:41 am

      Thank YOU for encouraging me, Kimberly. These words were as much for me as for anyone today. ((hugs))

  • Reply Katie Andraski May 28, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Love these questions. They speak to my heart and offer great comfort because we’re not always called to be successful, so we can do our art, write a blog for five followers and maybe trust that in God’s economy that is enough. “What if God calls us to an art purely for His pleasure, and not for the stamp of approval of the world–will we own it? Will we hold the pen in our hands, and smear pain on the page purely for His own pleasure and worship?” Love the Madeleine L’Engle quotes too. Thank you so much for this. Your photographs are beautiful.

    • Reply Kris Camealy May 29, 2015 at 12:42 am

      Thanks for visiting today, Katie. It is such a delight to see you here, and I am grateful that this encouraged you.

  • Reply Dawn May 28, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    A much needed word of grace today. Thank you for speaking life words…building words of hope.

  • Reply Ashley Tolins Larkin May 28, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    Kris, this is so timely for my own journey of embracing the gifts (in the packaging) that God has given me. As for you 🙂 — you write and photograph so beautifully, friend…I love how Jesus’ art makes its way through you. And I’m so glad you share your view of the world with us. Bless you, sister. xo

    • Reply Kris Camealy May 29, 2015 at 12:43 am

      Ashley–so grateful for you. Thank you for stopping by to encourage me. You are such a gift, my friend. XOO

  • Reply JoAnn May 29, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Your words speak to my heart, Kris. Thank you for your insights and encouragement.

  • Reply Kristin Funston May 29, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    This. This. This. Thank you!!! I needed this in my season of being a “wanna-be” writer…. I mean, writer! 🙂 I’m wearing it! Thank you!

  • Reply Carmen Horne May 29, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Oh my. What can I say. I so needed these words to day. Blessings friend.

  • Reply Winter May 29, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    Wow! I needed to read this! I ran a photography business for 5 years and never felt that I could wear the title, that I was playing dress up. Now that I have laid that down (in a business capacity at least), I have felt called to speaking and writing and I don’t feel like I can wear that either. These words made things fit a little more comfortable! “Your gifts and talents are hand-crafted in you, for the ultimate glory of God. He picked them out specifically for you and while you wrestle with your worth, and the clanging symbols of the world, who shout you down with their faithless pessimism and bitter cynicism, you cling to the cross. Remember, you are made for THIS.” I’m printing these words out and sticking on my mirror! Thanks for the reminder that it is ALL about Him, which I know, but I needed the reminder today!!

  • Reply Jody Ohlsen Collins May 30, 2015 at 12:36 am

    “Point them in the direction of the kingdom.” Yes and amen.
    Your beauty shines through all you do, Kris.
    (I wrote a little poem over at my poetry blog today on The Exact Same Thing.) The Holy Spirit is awesome like that….

  • Leave a Reply