When You Dare to be Who You Are

art is

“Knowing God and knowing self are both necessary for wholeness and holiness . . . Christian maturity demands that we know God and ourselves, recognizing that deep knowing of each supports deeper knowing of the other.”

-David G. Benner, Sacred Companions

Are you willing to suspend all your pre-conceived impressions of art? Enter with me, just for a moment, into a broader space.

We can hold and see a published book, a finished song, a canvas hanging in a museum. But what if art was bigger than simply the work of our hands? What if the true artistic work is being fully ourselves in the presence of others?

What if the book, the painting, the meal, the presentation were all simply evidence of a deeper art happening within the soul of an artist?

Art is what happens when you dare to be who you really are.

Whatever comes out as a result of that – whether you teach, sing, build, write, love, help, or calculate; if you cook, parent, lead, clean, organize, or listen – these are evidence of a person who is fully alive.

It might look like all of these or it might look like none of these and that is my sweet point.

Do all of these things as yourself, not a try-hard version of someone else.

Bring what you hold in your hands. Bring what you carry on your back. Stand in the place where you are today and consider: What might Christ look like coming out of me, through the filter of my unique personality?

This is day of 7 of 31 days of Living Art. Visit this page to see a list of all the posts, updated daily. If you would like to have this series delivered directly into your inbox, click here to sign up.


  1. says

    What a beautiful way of seeing the sacred in everyday actions. I agree – our intentions are what differentiates the extraordinary from the ordinary.

  2. says

    Oh, I love this. That last sentence especially. “Christ shining through the unique filter of my personality.” I want to be an artist/writer who writes–not to say, “Look what I have done”–but “Look what Jesus did!” There is nothing more beautiful than his work of redemption and transformation. Thank you, Emily.

  3. says

    I love this post! I love the quote too – and I LOVE “What might Christ look like coming out of me, through the filter of my unique personality?” That is just SO freeing!

    You perspective is so fresh and anointed. I am really enjoying your book – thankful I purchased it instead of borrowed – I’m underlining and earmarking like a crazy woman! Your words are speaking straight to my soul – right where I’m at – exactly into what the Father is doing right now in my life.

    • says

      It’s a great comment, Madeline – I do plan to post more on that this month for sure. I also wrote a lot more about the details of that in my book A Million Little Ways so you could maybe check that out – on Amazon you can read a good portion of it for free if you want to sample it.

  4. says

    Thanks for sharing the link to Emily’s tutorial on making watercolor letters.
    I paint in oil or acrylic, but now I’m curious about watercolor. I had an art teacher who said they were the hardest medium to control or correct and I let that remark keep me from something I’ve always found softly beautiful.

    Now I see they’re a way to let go and embrace the little accidents and unintended blotches.
    Perhaps there’s a larger lesson in watercolor.

  5. says

    I got THE book over the weekend and cannot put it down. Thank you for beautifully feeding my very dry and very thirsty artful self. I have joined the Compel writing group and plan to re-launch by blog this coming week….a very scary thing for me to do. Thanks for being you! Anna

  6. donna says

    Thank you Emily, I’m hoping between you and A Million Little Ways and Max Lucado’s, A cure for the common life, I will find my art and my sweet spot!

  7. says

    This makes me want to jump up and down! We had Communion at church yesterday, and my pastor talked about how the common things can become sacred through the work of Christ. And now I read this. Whatever we do, it can be beautiful, soaring, amazing, redeeming. All because of Christ.

  8. says

    Such a beautiful and thoughtful post. In our society, we’re set up to try to be everyone we’re not instead of who we truly are. Love your inspiration to be not only satisfied with being ourselves, but rejoiceful in being self.

  9. Melissa McIntyre says

    LOVE this Emily! And every time I hear (or read) the phrase “stand in the place where you are” I just can’t help but think of a certain R.E.M. song! 😉

  10. says

    i feel like a broken record whenever i comment. :))
    once again – beautifully shared!

    wondering about the artwork you’ve been posting with this series.. is there any type of prints of these available anywhere for purchase? loving the coloring and words and wanting to have something like this for my girls rooms!

  11. says

    Emily- I am in awe of what God is doing here…I have been offering collage workshops for women to discover their created self, my mission is to help women discover and live out their God given identities…what a timely message from you and I feel affirmed by God in my recent jump of faith to focus on helping others discover their created self through the experience of art and journaling. my website is http://www.souldare.com

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