Present Over Perfect
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Present Over Perfect

Zondervan / 2016 / Hardcover

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Product Description

Busyness drains our souls and harms our bodies. When you don't have a moment to be still, how can the still, small voice of God's wisdom and love speak into your life?

Shauna Niequist was in a season of extreme busyness that finally broke her enough to become desperate for change. In Present Over Perfect, Shauna shares what she's learned in her journey toward slower living, which has become more abundant, fruitful living. Come alongside to rest, play, and recreate. What you'll find there satisfies more than you can imagine.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 240
Vendor: Zondervan
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 9.03 X 6.60 X 1.40 (inches)
ISBN: 0310342996
ISBN-13: 9780310342991

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Publisher's Description

LIVE A LIFE OF MEANING AND CONNECTION

Instead of pushing for perfection

A few years ago, I found myself exhausted and isolated, my soul and body sick. I was tired of being tired, burned out on busy. And, it seemed almost everyone I talked with was in the same boat: longing for connection, meaning, depth, but settling for busy.

I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, writer, and I know all too well that settling feeling. But over the course of the last few years, I’ve learned a way to live, marked by grace, love, rest, and play. And it’s changing everything.

Present Over Perfect is an invitation to this journey that changed my life. I’ll walk this path with you, a path away from frantic pushing and proving, and toward your essential self, the one you were created to be before you began proving and earning for your worth.

Written in Shauna’s warm and vulnerable style, this collection of essays focuses on the most important transformation in her life, and maybe yours too: leaving behind busyness and frantic living and rediscovering the person you were made to be. Present Over Perfect is a hand reaching out, pulling you free from the constant pressure to perform faster, push harder, and produce more, all while maintaining an exhausting image of perfection.

Shauna offers an honest account of what led her to begin this journey, and a compelling vision for an entirely new way to live: soaked in grace, rest, silence, simplicity, prayer, and connection with the people that matter most to us.

In these pages, you’ll be invited to consider the landscape of your own life, and what it might look like to leave behind the pressure to be perfect and begin the life-changing practice of simply being present, in the middle of the mess and the ordinariness of life.

Author Bio

 

Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet, Bread & Wine and Savor. She is married to Aaron, and they have two wild and silly and darling boys, Henry and Mac. They live outside Chicago, where Aaron leads The Practice and is recording a project called A New Liturgy. Shauna also writes for the Storyline Blog, and for IF:Table, she is a member of the Relevant podcast, and a guest teacher at her church. Shauna’s three great loves are her family, dinner parties, and books, and she believes that vulnerable storytelling, hard laughter, and cold pizza for breakfast can cure almost anything.

 

Editorial Reviews

Returning to the theme of decluttering everyday life and concentrating on what is truly important, Niequist (Savor) weaves together a series of essays concerning her personal experiences overcoming a life overwrought with busyness, stress, and feelings of inadequacy. After years of frantic living, Niequist has come to the realization that she’s missing out on the beauty of everyday life with her husband and children---that it will all speed past her if she doesn’t slow down and simplify, learn how to say no to demands on her time, and stop worrying about others’ opinions of her. “Present over perfect living is real over image, connecting over comparing, meaning over mania, depth over artifice,” she writes, explaining along the way that she’s found a new “strength” in embracing quiet surroundings and in spending time alone. To emphasize her points, she quotes Scripture, but does so sparingly and intentionally---more often than not, her included references to her faith are intended only to bolster her own experiences of mindful living. Her style is conversational, friendly, inviting, and never heavy-handed, making the book accessible to people of all faiths. Women will find the advice hits closest to home. Niequist’s latest book is her most satisfying blend of mindfulness, scripture, and self-help to date, offering readers the blueprint for a life lived in the real instead of the ideal.
I begged Shauna for this manuscript a year ago while it was half-baked. When I finally received it, I read it from cover to cover in one sitting, then sat down at my laptop and wrote four emails bowing out of engagements that no longer fit my life, made two hard phone calls, and gave an end date to two other commitments. Present Over Perfect loaned me the courage, integrity, and permission I’d been waiting for. I will go to the grave thankful for this message. It has changed my life.
Most of the teachers I’ve had didn’t think they were teaching me anything; they just thought we were friends. Shauna is that kind of friend, and this is that kind of book. As you turn these pages, you’ll be reminded about what you have loved, where you’ve found your joy, and perhaps what you’ve misplaced along the way. Most of all, you’ll be guided into an honest conversation about your faith and where you want to go with it.
I cried tears of relief while inhaling Present Over Perfect. I cried because I’d completely forgotten that I don’t have to earn worthiness, hustle for love, or fight to belong. Shauna’s words---equal parts elegant and urgent---invited me to remember that my worthiness, belonging, and beloved-ness are birthrights. I can’t think of a more important, more desperately needed invitation.
I’ve watched Shauna walk this journey away from proving and pushing toward connection and grace, and as a friend, I’m proud of her. As a reader, I’m thankful to have these pages as an inspiration and guide. For all of us who yearn for meaningful, connected lives but find ourselves sometimes settling for busy, her words are the push we’ve been waiting for.
Shauna awakens our desire to not miss our lives. Because that pursuit costs us our distracting habits, we need motivation beyond disciplines and rules. We have to want to really live and be with our people and enjoy this gift of a life that God has given us. Shauna’s life makes me not want to miss mine, and her words here will make you not want to miss yours.
We live in a society that can easily have us running in circles if we aren’t careful. And this can result in having a life full of things we actually never intended to sign up for. Shauna helps us take a step back and reset our minds and souls. In these pages you will find wisdom and encouragement to see past temporal success and accolades to experience the deeper, more connected and truly enjoyable life. After all, it is the power of connection with others that helps us thrive in every sense of the word.
I have already read this book seven times. It’s about pursuing the present over the perfect---but it is nonetheless a nearly perfect thing, a nearly perfect book. Shauna speaks exactly to my condition.
With graceful confession, Shauna has created a memoir of her heart---a racing, fragmented heart that is becoming a contented, loved, and present heart. Reading this book heartened me for her, for her family, for her church, and for her generation. Shauna summons each of us to resist being sucked into the fast-paced draft of saying Yes and offers us a better way: the way of presence, the way of saying No. But this No is a Yes to something far better.

Product Reviews

4.7 Stars Out Of 5
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  1. Anngladys Gichuhi
    Kenya
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Living Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living
    March 9, 2017
    Anngladys Gichuhi
    Kenya
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Present over PerfectPresent over Perfect: Living Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living

    By Shauna Niequist

    "What kills a soul? Exhaustion, secret keeping, image management.

    And what brings a soul back from the dead? Honesty, connection, grace."

    This is just but one of the many wonderful phrases in this book. The author talks about the things that drag people down and back, leading to a busy, frenzied life with lots of motion and activity on the outside, but a grueling emptiness on the inside.

    She encourages us to lay down our burdens in exchange for a life of simplicity, both physically and spiritually.

    I especially liked the part where she talks about the brave things seeming rather boring. Like choosing to work on the family things a marriage, parenting, daily chores and routines and that being braver than sailing around the world. Because sailing around the world takes you away from real life for a while, while being in the real world means that you have to brave the daily pressures of life, continuously.

    I like the part where she quotes Thomas Merton: You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level. That way, you can be your true self, and you dont have to rearrange your life, feelings and thoughts around other people.

    This was a good, timely read.

  2. bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Invitation to a peaceful soul
    August 18, 2016
    bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This book is an invitation to remake our life. Maybe we feel disconnected from our soul and the people we care about. Maybe our life is full, too full. Niequist dares us to be present over pretending to be perfect, to allow others to love us in all our imperfection.

    Niequist has given us a collection of stories to illustrate her journey from exhaustion to peace, from multitasking to presence. She invites us to take the same journey, to remake our life from the inside out, to know God and His love for us in a way that reorders everything.

    This book is full of insight. I loved her chapter on disappointing people. When we start saying no, it will happen. People will be disappointed in us. She reminds us of the importance of knowing God's deep unconditional love for us and our having a deep sense of purpose. That's something I needed to hear.

    I loved her encouragement to face the temptation to accomplish some great achievement or performance, striving for perfection. Instead, we are to dwell deeply in life as it presents itself each moment. What makes life meaningful, she reminds us, is not what we accomplish but how honestly and deeply we connect with the people in our lives.

    I highly recommend this book to those who are ready to reconnect with yourself, the self God created you to be, the self you were meant to be. I recommend it to those who long for a well-tended spirit and a peaceful soul. It is a journey, she says, and there is no finish line. You will find here a great deal of encouragement and insight to help you along the way.

    Food for thought: You can get this right. It's not too late. You can start again, right now.

    I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
  3. unknown907
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Author
    August 11, 2016
    unknown907
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I love this author! Everytime I've read something that she has written I have been encouraged. I recommend any of her books!:D I am looking forward to reading "Present over Perfect."

    Keep on doing your thing Shauna!

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