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 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.