What I am not.

From Dale Bruner’s The Gospel of John: A Commentary, on John chapter 1, verse 2 (65 and 70)

Now here is the witness of John when the Jewish people of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ Well, John spoke right up, he did not deny it, he spoke right up and said, ‘I am not the messiah.’ So they asked him, ‘Who then? Are you Elijah?’ And he said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you The Prophet? And he replied, ‘No.’”

John the Baptist knows and confesses who he is not: (a) I am not the Messiah; (b) I am not Elijah; and (c) I am not The Prophet … all of us who believe and read this text—are invited to assess and affirm our own “I am not’s” and “I am’s” so that with a more healthy and clearly defined understanding of our limits and gifts, we too can move out into the world in faithful vocation and witness.


Today, I affirm my I am not’s…

from Pinterest, via the always honest Tamara Murphy

I am not crafty. (If I’ve pinned a crafty project, it’s out of shame, not hope.)

I am not a natural blonde. (I was! Once! A long time ago!)

I am not graceful. (Lots of tripping/spilling of food and drink/hitting of funny bones, which leads to fainting.)

I am not naturally opinionated. (I work hard to form those.)

I am not that good at practicing contemplative prayer and/or parenting my children with patience and generosity. (Even though I may appear to do so on this here blog.)

I am not a theologian.

I am not quiet and I’m rarely gentle.

I am not a preacher.

I am not a person who bakes beautiful desserts from scratch.

I am not a natural encourager.

I am not musical, even though I so want to be.

I am not a runner, though I jog slowly and wheeze a few times a week.


What about you? What are you not? And what does that say about who you are?

PS I’ll be back tomorrow with a “What I am” list.


  • Angela (Ueckert) Guilloud

    Love it!

  • julie

    i love the commentabout the jogging :) i am ot a jogger either….iwas consistently the slowest persn in highschool to complete the mile run for gym class.

  • Drey

    Lol. So many things all of us are not!

    I am not a man.
    I am not patient.
    I am not a complainer.

  • http://www.throughaglass.net Kari

    This is so interesting, because on one hand, I think it is SO important to know what you are and what you are not. To know what you like and what you don’t.

    On the other hand, I get a little bit nervous with the idea of defining myself with what I am not because it’s a lot like how I grew up in church. We are AGAINST abortion. We are AGAINST marriage equality. We are AGAINST public schools. Etc. Maybe I’m still hung over from the election and that’s why I get squeamish about this stuff.

    But I am definitely not crafty or musical. I am not a fashion plate. I am not athletic. I am not quick to forgive.

    • michaboyett

      Kari, I hear you. That’s why I’m coming back later with a “What I am” post. What Dale Bruner says in his commentary is so good. (I love Dale Bruner.):

      “I believe that our passage intends primarily to teach Christian witnesses of all times how, in ministering the gospel, Jesus’ representatives should think and speak of themselves. It is very important that Jesus’ disciples know who they are and who they are not, and how to say so. (If we are sure only of who we are not, we can suffer from an inferiority complex; if we are sure of who we are, a sense of superiority lurks.) But if we can know rather clearly both who we believe we are and who we are not — happy knowledge indeed. John the Baptist seems to have known both exactly…” (62)

  • http://www.inthetangles.blogspot.com Janice

    “I am not that good at practicing contemplative prayer and/or parenting my children with patience and generosity.” Ditto. And may I say it is so freeing to hear that from someone who always has such contemplative things to say on her blog? I think we’re all guilty of thinking that people with good things to say live in a perpetual state of that goodness.

    I am not an administrator, thus the huge pile of household paperwork to get through today.
    I am not confrontational, even though I wish I could address conflict with wisdom and love.

    I am not the redeemer nor the sanctifier of my children. Which is freeing when I can remember it.

    • michaboyett

      Janice, same. I am also NOT an administrator.
      And I love this—> “I am not the redeemer nor the sanctifier of my children.” YES.

  • http://www.jesstock.blogspot.com Jess

    I find posts like these so refreshing. I am not a jogger!! I am not outgoing or self-confidant. I am not perfect.

    • michaboyett

      non-joggers unite!

  • Mark Allman

    I am not a good speller
    I am not musical at all
    I am not one who can dance at all
    I am not a nutritious eater
    I am not patient
    I am not good at hiding my feelings
    I am not good at letting go
    I am not one who throws stuff away
    I am not good at being early
    I am not a lot of things I wish I were. I realize that is up to me to change those things.

    • michaboyett

      Mark, I’m not good at hiding my feelings either. Today I cried at the Walgreens pharmacy because they wouldn’t give me a flu shot while I have a cold. :)

  • http://yahoo.com pat

    Great Post!
    I am not crafty
    I am not outgoing
    I am not musical, though I would love to be

  • http://drgtjustwondering.blogspot.com Diana Trautwein

    Lordy, what a great idea.

    I am not graceful, I am SO not graceful.
    I am not patient with myself or those I love the most – but can be with others. Go figure.
    I am not good at contemplative stuff, either, though I’m slowly making progress because I believe it changes me.
    I am not one who like s to move, but I have been walking regularly for two years – better late than never, right?
    I am not careful about money or things.
    I am not one to offer proof texts or pat answers.
    I am not brave physically, but I can be brave emotionally and intellectually.

    Enough. Hey you – I hear you may have met a friend of mine – Cindy Bunch? She is good people and I love who she works for. Maybe I’ll message you…if I EVER get caught up on blogs and email. Sigh.

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  • jared

    micha- love the “what i am not/what i am” thoughts. and i love frederick dale bruner like any middle class, caucuasian white 14 yr old loves “call me maybe.” have you read his “christ book/church book” commentaries on matthew??

    • michaboyett

      Yes Jared! The 14 year old’s giddiness over “Call Me Maybe.” I might actually love that song as much as a 14 year old. So I understand.

      Chris has read both the Matthew commentaries and he’s still impatiently waiting for me to read them. In our house, we love Dale Bruner so much we just call him Dale. I took a course through my Young Life training with him on the book of John. One week with Dale Bruner and the the Life of Christ and I was in love with that man. He is the dearest thing and I get that giddy feeling in my chest when I think about him attempting to interpretive dance to Kelly Clarkson. Yes, it happened.