Testimony Tuesday: Just Be / by Donna Olivia Owusu-Ansah

It is the ninth of January, and I am nine days into my social media sabbatical. These nine days have been quite full, and also quite telling. My aha moment came on Sunday. We were at our second birthday party for the weekend (because my children's social calendars are poppin') and I recognized that I hadn't taken a single picture at either party. I was just standing there watching, witnessing, my children play with reckless abandon. And it was wonderful. No documentation, simply delighting in the moment. And because practicing mindfulness and presence is not yet my strong suit, I started to replay all of the moments I had missed because I was documenting and captioning and posting. 

So this Testimony Tuesday is less testimony and more confession.

I am both grateful for this sabbatical and wildly uncomfortable with it. Grateful because of the fulness of life that it will open up to me. In the words of Auntie Representative Maxine Waters, "I am reclaiming my time." Uncomfortable because it is showing me parts of myself that I'd rather not deal with right now. For one, I see in Instagram photos and think in Facebook status updates. But life is for living, not for curating. Secondly, these short nine days have shown me how lonely I am without my constant online connections. I miss the posts from friends about the joys of life, humorous moments, and running. I miss my running inspiration. But this has also caused me to be more intentional about connecting with family and friends. I crave real connection over the illusion of connection. 

Be still, and know that I am God
— Psalm 46:10a (NIV)

Besides being in the moments, another beautiful outcome is that I am less attached to my phone. I use it for--wait for it--making telephone calls and sending text messages and the occasional web search. This sabbatical is inviting/forcing me to just be. And the be-ing is drawing me nearer to God. My phone had become and idol. My phone was a distraction from the most important relationship I have. My phone kept me moving, when God was inviting me to stillness in God's presence. In times like these, I am drawn back to Psalm 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God." Stillness in an economy where busyness is lauded is a gift. Stillness looks like doing nothing and we're always supposed to be doing something. Stillness looks like laziness and that is a trigger word for me. God forbid I am lazy. So I do, do, do and go, go, go but God wants me to be still. And it is in the stillness, the quietness, that our minds quiet enough to hear from God, to experience God, to know God. 

Be still, and know that I am God...

Be still, and know that I am...

Be still, and know...

Be still...


So while today is confession, my prayer is that by the end of 2018 I will have a testimony of how I have learned how to just be, without the trappings of performance or feigned connection.