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.
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