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


  1. 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.

  2. Rachel Molder

    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.

    1. 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

  3. Karrilee Aggett

    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!

  4. smoothstones

    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.

    1. 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…

  5. 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.

  6. Ashley Tolins Larkin

    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

  7. Winter

    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!!

  8. Jody Ohlsen Collins

    “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….


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